Top tips for enduring long term sleep deprivation?

(31 Posts)
WearyWalker Mon 28-Jan-13 16:11:21

This is my first post, so sorry if get things wrong/go on too long. Just wondered what ways MNers have come up with for getting through those days when you're so tired the ground seems to be going up and down...

I have two DSs who were terrible sleepers, though now much better (aged 7 and 9), and a 16 week old DD, who is following in her brothers' up-all-night footsteps. I had PND with DSs (hence the big age gap), and although I'm feeling OK, I'm sooo tired. I'm not trying to 'fix' her sleeping - with my DSs I found that it made me feel even more desperate when nothing I did made any difference - and I know things will get better as she gets older.

So... I just need to get through a few more months (years?!) of sleep deprivation, and would be really grateful for any ideas. I try to get outside for a bit every day, but other than that my main coping strategy is eating whole packets of biscuits and letting DSs go on the PS3 for way too long, neither of which make me feel very good about myself! Any thoughts? Thank you.

BollyGood Mon 28-Jan-13 16:37:30

Oh I feel for you, am absolutely shattered too!!! Dd3 is 9.5 months and showing no sign of wanting to sleep through the night or even anywhere close to it. Our first two were fantastic sleepers. I don't really have any great advice apart from walking but you seem to go out anyway. As I do not drive I have to haul myself out for the school run, a 20 minute walk each way, twice a day and I think it's this ironically which has kept me going. I have got fitter than ever before, obviously not through choice! And have been drinking a fair but of water too. Lets hope we get some sleep soon OP!

Tea, coffee, fresh air, exercise, company, and stuff to do!

WearyWalker Mon 28-Jan-13 16:54:53

Thank you BollyGood! I agree that having to do the school run helps - otherwise I would spend whole days staggering round house in dressing gown I think. I just read an older thread on sleep deprivation tips and someone suggested having really nice breakfast cereal to give yourself a treat in the morning - I like that! Although I should probably share it with my poor DSs, who are having to put up with a permanently wild-eyed shouty mother... Good luck for tonight!

cupcake78 Mon 28-Jan-13 16:56:04

You have my absolute sympathy! Ds was a nightmare. Up 4 times a night and then for good from 5am. It was murder. It gets easier as the weather gets warmer and lighter.

Get fresh air, nap when you can, early nights and make life as easy as possible with every shortcut there is!

This too shall pass wink.

I may need to be reminded of all this when my next dc comes in June. I'm praying it sleeps.

WearyWalker Mon 28-Jan-13 17:02:41

Yes, yes to all of those too, Blue Champagne. We ran out of tea bags the other morning and I genuinely nearly cried. I just remembered my mum told me she used to look out of the window in the middle of the night when she was up with me or my brother, and feel better just seeing other people's lights on and cars going past - made her feel a bit less alone. Unfortunately this only works if you live in a city/town, I suppose - and I live in the middle of nowhere!

WearyWalker Mon 28-Jan-13 17:20:36

Congratulations, Cupcake - fingers crossed you'll have a sleeper! You're so right that it's better in the spring and summer, I'd forgotten that. Off to cook (well, microwave) tea for play date horde - I'm finding that inviting DSs' friends over helps, as then they are happily occupied and I feel less guilty about being grumpy zombie.

kickassmomma Mon 28-Jan-13 17:33:53

i have different circumstances but have had sleep deprivation for the last 2 years so can completely sympthaise with you. i only have one dc. but while the other two are at school have you tried catching a few hours? and possibly going to bed once all the kiddies are in bed, just so you catch a few extra hours? as to them being poor sleepers do they get up and wonder the house in the night? or just there bedroom? if its just there room maybe just leave them? one coping mechanism i have (although not very good) is taking those pro plus caffiene tablets? give me an extra boost x

Iggly Mon 28-Jan-13 19:39:05

I coslept with my youngest until 9-10 months. It really helped me. I stopped as she kept looking for me and crawling about hmm so it was a hard few weeks of getting up and down out of bed until she settled down again one she started walking.

Can you cosleep?

What about napping in the day when kids are at school and your dd naps?

WearyWalker Mon 28-Jan-13 20:09:00

DSs in bed, DD on my lap, so checking in again! Kickassmomma, I'm sorry to hear you have the same problem, two years is a very long time. Pro-plus sounds a good idea for those times when you just have to keep going, thank you. Nothing wrong with doing what you have to do to get by!! Older kids are ok sleep-wise really, they wake up very early but are big enough to keep themselves occupied in their rooms. I do try and rest a bit when they are at school, but DD only sleeps for short stretches, so not always possible. I usually end up doing laundry etc. to try and keep the show on the road.

Totally agree re co-sleeping, Iggly, that has been lifesaver, but recently DD is getting really tricksy, not wanting to feed lying down (I'm BFing) and not going back to sleep without a lot of being walked around. I think that's why I'm suddenly panicking about how to get through the next few months, as she's getting worse and worse. I honestly thought I would crack this sleeping business third time round, but I clearly don't have the knack!

Now, where's my triple espresso? smile

Iggly Mon 28-Jan-13 21:10:28

Also I will add my two have/food intolerance, my dd has lip and tongue which contribute to her poor sleeping as she is windy and unsettled!

Do rest in the day. One short like down will make the world of difference.

Nevercan Mon 28-Jan-13 21:25:40

Full fat coke for a caffeine pick up during the day

kickassmomma Mon 28-Jan-13 22:19:29

Wearywalker don't be sorry lol! My daughter has a medical condition huh means she requires my attention through the night and I havetinstay semi - alert just in case. I have come to accept sleep deprivation and get along quite well with it up until last week were I've really struggled so I've been going to bed earlier and that's kinda helped a bit. smile do you not har anyone you could 'offload' one or two of your dc one or twice a month? Maybe a fun night at grandparents or autie/uncles? X

WearyWalker Wed 30-Jan-13 10:57:26

Kickass, I have so much respect for you, I nearly put in my first post that I know that many other parents are dealing with more than just standard new-baby-tiredness if their children have SN or a medical condition. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job, I hope you get some breaks too!!

Emsmaman Wed 30-Jan-13 11:10:53

Ah I was on the thread which mentioned the nice breakfast cereal, it's a bit depressing to realise I am still on these threads! DD is a nearly 2 yo non sleeper. She sleeps in her cot for the first part of the night then joins us at first waking. I used to keep putting her back in the cot but I got far less sleep, now I have given in and once she's in our bed she stays put.

Not a good solution as now I'm having trouble getting her to sleep in her cot at the beginning of the night, she wants to fall asleep on our bed.

I would go insane if I didn't have a job to go to and get away from toddlerdom. I genuinely don't understand how anyone ever has a second DC!

So no real tips I'm afraid, just offering solidarity and brew

BollyGood Wed 30-Jan-13 11:56:57

Hi weary how are you holding up? I had a 20 minute power nap yesterday and I can't believe how much better I felt for the rest of the day. I usually really struggle to nap,in the daytime, not sure why. I do tend to panic a bit about setting an alarm in case I miss the school run perhaps that's it! Anyway back to today, pooped as usual!!! I have run out of milk aaahhhh was about to have a coffee. Too tired to go and buy some grin

BollyGood Wed 30-Jan-13 11:57:56

Just a silly thing, does anyone find they eat lots more when tired? I can seriously scoff anything all day, it's ridiculous.

Seriouslysleepdeprived Wed 30-Jan-13 13:34:55

Chocolate is the only thing that helps i find. It's the first thing I have in the morning & last thing at night. It's costing a small fortune. grin

I also use DH as my night nurse at weekend when I'm about to crack.

DS also has allergies which is responsible for a lot of the unsettledness.

kickassmomma Wed 30-Jan-13 16:47:56

Bollygood yes!!!! I eat like its going out of fashion!! Mainly at night time when dd is in bed and it's too early for me to settle -_- I have put on two stone since having her!

If it's any consolation, after 2.5 years of broken nights, DS2 began sleeping through as soon as he got all his teeth!

RosemaryandThyme Thu 31-Jan-13 13:04:16

NHS provides sleep courses, support workers and advice for parents who have a baby 6months plus who is not regularly sleeping through.
NHS healthcare service definition of sleeping through is six hours of continuious sleep between 8pm and 6am.

So, pop to your GP, HV etc, get your name on a list and if cherub isn't getting to sleep by 6mths you'll have team support heading your way - you do not have to suffer on and on.

Kveta Thu 31-Jan-13 13:49:38

I found just cuddling up with baby in bed sometimes was a great pick-me-up, even if I didn't sleep. my 3.4 yo DS started sleeping through earlier this month, although is still up for the day at 5 - much more tolerable when he has slept until then though! I try and do as little as possible when he is at pre-school or the CM, and just relax with 7.5 month old DD (who slept like a dream for the first few months, but now likes to sleep in close physical contact with me for 2 hours at a time. sigh)

caffiene helped a lot - I don't drink tea or coffee, but 1 can of diet coke every morning has become my ritual.

Exercise - just a walk around the block helped me not to scream after a bad night.

overeating - I have just started cutting down, as have got repulsively fat after 3 years of mainlining chocolate.

we found the 'teach your child to sleep' millpond book was useful for getting DS to self settle (at 2 years old...), and will probably get it out the library again soon - has some nice gentle methods for very relaxed sleep training - I am not a fan of CC/CIO (although tried both with DS).

and keep posting here, helps you feel sane when you realise you are not alone!!

helsbels03 Thu 31-Jan-13 21:25:41

My dd1 finally started sleeping through when she went to school. Dd2 great sleeper,des just started sleeping through this week - 2 yrs. didn't do anything different with them, will just do it when they are ready. Found having a bath with really nice bubbles as soon as they were all asleep in the evening helped me relax so I could get off to sleep quickly and not waste pressious sleeping time. And, bought myself a teasmaid so could have a cup of tea without getting up in the morning when dd wakes me at 5am!,

WearyWalker Wed 06-Feb-13 20:35:43

Haven't had internet for few days, so lovely to come back and find more posts (am new to MN and still can't quite believe people are talking to me grin, it's like magic!). Although it's not lovely that you're all tired too...

Don't suppose anyone will see this now, as it's a while since anyone posted, but think Teasmaid is awesome idea for early mornings - until I have had cup of tea I can barely move. Agree re frantic eating - although I like to think we offset it by being awake for so many hours more than normal...

Had no idea about support available, Rosemary - will def be following that up. Got to go - baby's woken up, aaaargh!

bluechik Thu 07-Feb-13 20:15:47

Remember too that everything is a phase. If she is lively at night at the moment then that could easily change in a few weeks and she might be more inclined to sleep for longer periods..

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Thu 07-Feb-13 20:20:28

You may not have anyone, but if you do, ask them if they would come over for a hour while you go upstairs to nap or just doze on the sofa.

I have a fair few friends locally and everyone struggles on, when actually those of us past baby phase would happily do an hour or so. But I offer and everyone says 'oh couldn't ask you to do that!' I am steadfastedly ignoring possibility tis just they dn't want me looking after their children

So my tip is ask for help!

WearyWalker Fri 08-Feb-13 16:04:28

Actually, now you mention it, one of my neighbours did offer that and I said oh no, don't worry - out of habit really, and now it occurs to me that I really should take her up on it. It's so easy to just 'manage', when you could just shout 'heeeeeelp!!'...

I've also found out a lot of our problems are because dd has reflux - hadn't really put it all together before, but she basically has every symptom of it, poor girl. Not sure that it changes anything, but good to have something to say when my mil asks why she's still not sleeping through hmm

targaryen24 Fri 08-Feb-13 16:21:45

My DS is 2 and still wakes at night (though I've trained him to at least stay in bed).

It's partly because he has clubfoot (so wears what looks like a metal skateboard with boots attached at night). Having one of those weeks right now where we've both been ill for ages (just a winter cold) so he's not worn his bar in a while and is now being doubly re-trained.

He'll wear it til he's 4 so think I'll just be tired til then but you never know :P

You should definitely take your neighbour up on that offer btw wink

brew

jann2013 Mon 11-Feb-13 07:37:37

bump! feel like this is never going to end & don't know how to keep up with my life while im so exhausted its affecting everything

monkeymamma Mon 11-Feb-13 08:25:02

Reading with interest as ds 12m has never slept through and I'm back at work pt from today so things should be interesting.
Very interested to hear about support available through the nhs and will definitely ask about that. I'm a bit annoyed that it hasn't been suggested by our GP given that I've been in about various minor health problems of my own mainly due to being run down (persistent tonsilitis etc) and always tell them that we're not getting any sleep. But GP does have a toddler of his own so perhaps he was too sleep deprived himself to think of it, lol.

jann2013 Mon 11-Feb-13 08:31:59

I never heard about this either even though i have mentioned loads of times to the hv that im not getting sleep... she has been out twice because of it, and is coming out this friday, so i might mention it to her. has anyone had this before, and what do they offer?

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