We have all been sleep deprived at one point or another. It’s part of motherhood. We secretly roll our eyes at the mum who walks around telling anyone who will listen that her child has slept through the night since he/she was a day old. Yeah, whatever lady!
After 3 years of chatting to other sleep deprived mums, I have pulled together some tips that work for me.
1. Download A White Noise App
I change apps like I change my socks but one app that is always on my phone is a white noise app. The background noise helps to settle an upset child struggling to sleep and soon has them snoozing. I have the SleepySounds app on my iPhone which allows me to set a timer and gives a choice of white noise sounds (rain, vacuum, hairdryer , tumble dryer). You can also select lullabies, nature sounds or use your own music.
2. Read “Go Set A Watchman” To Your Kids
I discovered on our summer holiday that reading Harper Lee’s new book (which is really bad) sends my eldest daughter to sleep in 5 minutes flat. She protests for a minute or so as I read out loud in a monotone voice but is asleep soon after. Any adult book will do because kids usually need pictures to stay attention during story time.
3. Get A Night Light and Black Out Blind
Kids need different forms of comfort at different ages. My eldest, who is nearly three, is afraid of the dark. Our youngest, who is nearly one, prefers a dark room.
My 3-year-old has developed an active imagination and I am often chasing a shark/wolf/dinosaur out of our front door. To provide comfort at night, she has three lights, no, four lights in close reach. A little IKEA night light that changes colour, a dim lamp that is left on all night on her bedside table, a GroClock to tell her when to get up and a torch to look for any imaginary creatures that may be lurking under her bed.
My 1-year-old is a light sleeper and sensitive to daylight which makes the early sunrise in the summer months a real pain. So we have stuck up the GroAnywhere Blind which we actually bought to take on holiday. It is easily stuck to the window with suction pads and covers up every last sliver of sunlight.
4. Agree Night Shifts With Your Partner
Two sleep deprived parents is far worse than one sleep deprived parent. If one of us isn’t going to get enough sleep then the other needs to get some decent sleep in order to keep the family going the next day.
My husband and I agree before we go to sleep at night who is on “duty”. Usually I am on duty during the work week and he will cover the weekends. We also agree who will have a lie-in the next morning and the other parent will whisk the kids off and sort out breakfast.
5. Catch Up On iPhone Admin
With nothing to do but stare into the darkness, I now sort out admin on my iPhone. My youngest is teething at the moment and is up at all hours writhing in discomfort. She sleeps soundly on my chest but will start moaning as soon as I put her down again. I have the white noise app playing softly to sooth her and simultaneously answer emails/messages, browse through tabs I left open in Google, or plan a blog post.
6. Don’t Warm Milk Bottles
From day one I have never used warm water to make up formula bottles for either of my girls. A friend at work actually told me about this trick and it has made my life much easier. Both girls have their bottles at room temperature which means that in the middle of the night I am not fumbling around with a thermos or bottle warmer if I need to make a bottle. It also means it is much easier to make a bottle on the go (think airplane, car trip, the park) because I don’t need warm their bottles.
7. Grab A Good Coffee
After a long night as a nocturnal mum, I wouldn’t be able to operate without a good cup of coffee. I don’t waste time with instant coffee. I will make a pot of real coffee or pop to a coffee shop around the corner for my morning caffeine kick.
8. Invest In A Decent Mattress
Everyone in our family has a good quality mattress. Life is honestly too short for bad sleep (when you manage to get some). Each of my girls have mattresses that contain natural fibres so that they are breathable as well as comfortable. My husband and I have a really big (super king) mattress that can accommodate the whole family without one of us parents falling off the edge.
I recently heard about a Devon-based company that sells natural, handmade mattresses. Naturalmat has a range of mattresses for babies, children and adults.
They say that “every moment spent in bed is precious and a good mattress can make all the difference to having a good nights sleep. Naturalmat take care to ensure that all of their lovely organic and natural fillings are encased in a pure, unbleached natural cotton cover, treated with natural geranoil to banish bed bugs; keeping the mattress 100% chemical free, so both you and baby can sleep easy at night.”
Do you have any tips for sleep deprived mums?