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How do you maintain a decent level of happiness in your life when sleep deprived & other coping strategies?

(78 Posts)
Bobsmyaunty Tue 15-Oct-13 20:35:33

My DD is 8 months old and has always been a crappy sleeper, and anything (cold, teething, cough etc) makes her even worse for a bit. I'm trying all sorts to improve the situation and I am soooo tired - as I know many of you are too!

I find some days it can really really get me down and I am desperate to not let it. So whilst I work on improving her sleeping does any one want to share what they do to keep their own mental/wellness state up?

So far I've been trying to
- eat really nutritious (easy to make) food
- do some mini bursts of exercise, like a 10 minute run when I can - any more woud kill me
- remind myself that you're all out there too struggling with sleep, I'm not the only one
- tune out to those lucky blighters who's babies have 'slept through from 5 weeks'. It just makes me feel violent.

Would love to hear anyone else's coping strategies to maintain sanity through sleep deprivation...!

MrsDavies Tue 15-Oct-13 21:50:52

whenever someone tells me their DC have "slept through since birth" or whenever, I just smile but secretly think - you fucking liar shock
I know some babies actually do sleep through but I like to pretend they don't for my own sanity brew

Bobsmyaunty Wed 16-Oct-13 07:54:04

I like it. That's much better than insane murderous jealousy!

yeghoulsandlittledevils Wed 16-Oct-13 08:04:14

Take naps.
Find things that with exercise your baby. Exciting music to wriggle to. Baby yoga. Swimming (although that used to floor me). Meet up with other mums and babies, every day if you can. If any dare to say theirs is sleeping through, feel free to take a nap right there on the comfy sofa while the non-sleep deprived mums look out for your baby. (Ok, you should perhaps first say you are so tired you might fall asleep, if so please look out for DC) No one will mind. Meet up with older relatives who will look after your DC while you nap.

PoppyAmex Wed 16-Oct-13 08:13:57

DD woke up pretty much hourly until she was 15 months.

In addition to the strategies mentioned up thread what really worked for me was pure, sheer acceptance.

Sounds odd but once I accepted that she wasn't going to sleep through the night anytime soon, it got a lot easier. I went into this US Marine Special Forces mindset and saw it as a phase I had to endure, so started developing strategies to make my life easier and entered a temporary survival mode. I was still shattered but it stopped me from going insane.

Bobsmyaunty Wed 16-Oct-13 09:13:13

Acceptance is such a good point. Sometimes I'm really unbelievably angry about the situation. Thus just makes it worse and is basically denial isn't it!

Acceptance - and I love love love the survival mode. In fact I think I might google about how the Marine's actually do survive it to get tips.

Baby exercise classes a brilliant one too - so easy to loll about at home feeling sorry for myself but this back fires as DD is just impossible then!

This is cheering me up already!

Bobsmyaunty Wed 16-Oct-13 09:14:00

poppy, hourly - god. Well done for surviving that.

Fivemoreminutesmummy Wed 16-Oct-13 19:16:35

Hi, I totally understand what you're saying. I get the frustration and feeling it's not fair and that everyone else has a child that sleeps.
For me I try to catch up whenever I can and go to sleep ridiculously early. I basically prioritise sleep above everything; reading, tv, seeing friends. My mood is so linked with sleep that I have to.
Also, having been through it with DS1, remembering 'this too will pass'
And it does (eventually!) I promise you will get regular, 8 hours a night sleep at some point in the future. You will even forget the horrors of sleep deprivation. Don't fight it, it will pass. It will be a tiny proportion of your life overall.
And hope- good sleep may just be around the corner and it's getting closer (because she's getting older so it will be better sooner IYSWIM)

Gab3478 Wed 16-Oct-13 19:33:25

I'm am so googling the marines survival tips grin
I buy the most expensive coffee there is. DH wld have a mega freak out if he knew how much I spend on coffee (so wld I have pre-baby) but I carefully decant it into a trusty supermarkets own jar and dispose of the evidence wink

CatAmongThePigeons Wed 16-Oct-13 22:11:21

I try to pamper myself- little and often. I catnapped for 10 minutes today and I felt so refreshed. I didn't feel that I'd had 5 hours sleep in 48.

Being calm when they wake is so helpful, even if you want to spit with rage and desperation. They can feel your emotions and it makes it worse.

Anyone who says their child slept through from birth will get a 'wow, you are so lucky!' and then I imagine punching them cathartic wink

BlingLoving Wed 16-Oct-13 22:56:42

Survival and acceptance. I totally agree. Ds was a nightmare. But I had to accept it and do nights out ended early and involved no more than one glass of wine. Mostly, they didn't exist because I tried to be in bed before 10 as often as possible.

If possible, make deals with dh/dp to give some respite. When you haven't had more than 2 hours consecutive sleep in a year, 3 hours feels like a miracle - sometimes dh would get up with ds at 5 am and let me sleep until 8:45 when he absolutely had to leave for work or be fired! grin

On other side, get dh or a babysitter to do early evening and go see a movie. An early one so you can still be in bed at a decent time but the respite from listening out for the crying, even while you're awake is a relief.

BlingLoving Wed 16-Oct-13 22:57:52

Oh, and totally absolutely and always laugh inside at those women talking about babies sleeping through constantly. They lie and/or delude themselves.they may be getting more sleep than you but believe me, they are not having a perfect sleep either.

Bobsmyaunty Sat 19-Oct-13 13:25:01

I think I'm finally starting to accept that this is life for the minute - but not forever. This is pretty cheesy but I've got together some positive marine-style-pep-talk-mantras and am going to put them up on the route between my bedroom & hers to gear me up into a this-will-not-take-me-down mode of thinking!

gab love the coffee plan, that really made me laugh. I am totally following suit!

bling agree! I had a good chat last night (a night out ooo get me) with some mum friends who are also not getting that much sleep and it was wonderful to - for a change - get to moan about it together rather than have to hear about all the wonderful nights sleep everyone's getting. Sooooo good for my mental state.

I'm starting to feel that I CAN do this now. Thank you. smile.

Bobsmyaunty Sat 19-Oct-13 13:31:43

This doesn't give many survival tips but the description of the marine bootcamp is so much like new motherhood, I just had to share. E.g. They are awoken at 05.30 with someone shouting in their face. Err, yeah, daily.

42notTrendy Sat 19-Oct-13 13:35:37

Ditto acceptance!!
I remember the exact moment I thought I need to accept he won't sleep/go to sleep. It was a weight lifting moment.
It will improve.
Don't dwell on it.
Also accept it's ok to feel absolutely worn out and that means you can sit on the sofa in a daze and get bugger all done.
And of course, if you can, ask someone to have her one afternoon and get your head down!

WetGrass Sat 19-Oct-13 13:40:02

Yy - I got a top-of-the range coffee machine - and mail-ordered Has Bean coffee (I was actually trying to decaf at the time - best decaf blend - and excellent coffee all round)

But actually - I have no clue. I'm back there myself. I was telling DH (poor bloke) that 'I feel really depressed, but not actually sad about anything ' confused .

PoppyAmex Sat 19-Oct-13 14:48:04

Hey Bobs - good job on keeping that chin up!

42notTrendy is so right:
"It will improve. Don't dwell on it." Sums it up perfectly.

The US Marines was totally tongue in cheek, but anything that serves as inspiration works in my book! Although after reading their bootcamp link I still think we have it harder. 5h30am... tsk wusses! grin

Clarella Sun 20-Oct-13 18:57:48

greedily thrive on hearing the once 7-7 sleepers are now, after 6 months, not, and parents are at their 'wits end'.


excellent drs.


70% chocolate. buckets of it.

la leche league.

Clarella Sun 20-Oct-13 18:59:05

and buying a very nice pair of boots from my hard earned but dwindling savings stashed from a previous, baby free, independent life.

Andcake Sun 20-Oct-13 19:55:01

Laugh with p about smug mums with 7-7 babies
Thank my lucky stars I have a healthy baby
Nap when ds naps. In fact one of my favourite parts of the week s our Sunday family nap all snuggled together

42notTrendy Sun 20-Oct-13 21:18:54

Oh yes, co-sleep. Don't listen to your mother! Or maybe that's just mine grin

Quangle Sun 20-Oct-13 21:28:45

I think this is an awful phase for parents to have to endure! I had a shocker of a DS and it almost killed me. Your approach is really good. I too found it really helped me to think of all the other women around the world awake at 3am and trying to pacify a screamer. it made me feel less alone in the small hours. It would be much nicer if we could all come together at 3am and keep each other company at that horrible hour.

My other coping strategies were basically to do a reverse lie-in. I used to go to bed at 8pm and even if I was lying in bed awake, it was a peaceful time for rest, like a lie-in but at the other end of the night. I still go to bed really early just to give myself energy.

Also, to be honest, I shut down doing anything else. I just focussed on getting through my domestic situation. No hobbies, no nights out, no getting committed to the new hit TV series that starts at 10pm...It sounds a bit severe but it was what I had to do to get through.

And that's my last tip really - don't spend too much time thinking about how awful you feel and how depressing it is (although you do and it is). It is actually just a phase (although a long one) and one day you will get your life back but for the time being, just put your head down and get through it, one day at a time. Next time you look up, DD will have passed some sort of milestone and life will have shifted slightly.

Suchanamateur Mon 21-Oct-13 13:02:51

Oh I need this. DD, 20 months, is a horrible sleeper, and DS (3.5) still often wakes in the night and up early. I really need to work on the acceptance thing (and perhaps go back on the sertraline..), as I spend so long obsessing about it, fighting it and feeling shit about it. And that makes bugger all difference to the amount she sleeps, but consumes huge amounts of mental energy.

I really needed the reassurance from some btdt that it does pass in the end, and you just have to get through. Thank you. And sympathies to others out there at 3am. It sucks.

Clarella Mon 21-Oct-13 20:48:09

have to say sertraline just stopped my constant worrying, sleep training planning, doubting and the fear of something being wrong with ds (I had been shaken to find out he'd had a uti and also bladder reflux. we had normal reflux too) - it enabled me to go with my gut instincts of keeping ds with me at night as he's simply one of those crap sleepers and appears to have lots of separation anxiety when sleeping/ waking. day and night. he sleeps much better and so do I now I know I'm not a failure!

marines attitude definitely helps!!

LuubyLuu Tue 22-Oct-13 12:28:02

Lower your standards in all unnecessary areas. For me that meant no ironing, minimal cleaning, and lots of M&S Pre-prepared food.

Do get out if the house, make an effort to dress nicely and put some make-up on, chat to others about what you're going through.

You are not alone. (If its any consolation, I had a non-sleeper for about three years, he is now an angelic child who loves his bed. My one child who was a great sleeper is now a small monster in several ways...)

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