4

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Sleep deprived. How to fix its effects (If can't sleep...)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 27, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Hi,

I know my question title is not very elegant, so here's a summary of my situation:

I haven't been sleeping enough for (more or less) 3 years (when my son was born). He woke up at least once every night for 2 years, now once every 2 or 3 nights/week. I have tons of work and I'm finishing up something for a deadline (End of January), since I work during the day, I can only do this at night, after dinner. So I can't sleep early. Plus, I can't lie in in the morning because I have to go to work. So when my son sleeps through the night, I can get about 6 or 7 hours sleep, but when he doesn't, those hours are interrupted. Hence my situation: I'm sleep deprived, I know how bad that is, I'm also trying to lose weight, and I've read several posts about how sleep is essential to weight loss.

My question is this, is there anything I can do (other than sleep more, which at the moment is not an option) to combat the effects of sleep deprivation?

Any suggestions welcome.

Thanks!

27a29804a79e90f5b8193ea33f392852

(227)

on December 27, 2011
at 06:56 PM

You're right AnnaA, always look on the bright side! :) thanks

27a29804a79e90f5b8193ea33f392852

(227)

on December 27, 2011
at 06:55 PM

I guess from everyone's answer that the best solution is to sleep, so I guess I'll just have to wait until after I meet my deadline end of Jan and then get some extra sleep. Thank u for your advice

27a29804a79e90f5b8193ea33f392852

(227)

on December 27, 2011
at 06:52 PM

thanks for the advice Nance, I'm working at night to meet a deadline end of January, so it's temporary, I guess I just have to wait until I'm done and then I can try to catch up on my sleep. And I totally agree about kids needing laughter and play, the reason why I work at night, after my son goes to sleep, is to allow me to be with him 100% of the time when he's awake

27a29804a79e90f5b8193ea33f392852

(227)

on December 27, 2011
at 06:49 PM

unfortunately there's no one to take over at the moment, so I guess I'll just have to wait it out. 7 years! wow! :)

27a29804a79e90f5b8193ea33f392852

(227)

on December 27, 2011
at 06:48 PM

thanks for the advice Kevin, and I agree, time flies so fast so I am enjoying every minute I spend with my son, even when it's the middle of the night:)

324bf94d3d6f9322d6e4dba4becfaab1

on December 27, 2011
at 06:16 PM

Three years is old enough for kids to keep themselves occupied, isn't it? If he wakes you up without a good reason then ignore him. Don't reward bad behavior or you'll get more of it. Explain to him that you need sleep and that he's not to bother you unless it's an emergency.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on December 27, 2011
at 11:29 AM

I have no idea how healthy it is, but there is a hack in the ever controversial 4 Hour Body about how to survive on very little sleep by taking a timed 20 minute nap every few hours. Sometimes just 5 minutes of meditation can make me feel more rested. I'm not even working outside of the home and am still a sleep deprived mom (haven't slept through the night since 2 months before my son was born), so my hat is off to for the amazing juggling act you are performing. I usually spend Saturday napping until mid-afternoon while hubby watches the kiddo, and it helps me survive the week.

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5 Answers

2
9beda76f4e91faedc8fa70ecdc01251e

(298)

on December 27, 2011
at 03:55 PM

I'd say, hang in there and get a nap whenever you can. Also, avoid the caffeine and sugar. I have 3 kids, so I had about 7 years of NOT ENOUGH SLEEP and I really don't even remember a lot of that time. It was pretty hard. I have to say though, once the youngest kid is 4, you really do get your life back. And maybe earlier, so you may be right there on the verge.

One idea is, flip your work and sleep-- go to sleep early, when your kid does, and when you can't sleep in the night, then start your work. Maybe you'll get more done after sleeping then before. And if you are up in the night anyway, might as well get it done then.

But I remember how hard it is to think when sleep deprived.

Another idea: is there anyone who can be the caretaker at night, so you are not responsible for kid care, and can wear earplugs and eyemask? The earplugs really help. Even if it's every other night...spouse? grandparent? really nice friend who is pregnant and you can pay back later?

I hope this helps a little! Hang in there! Joni

27a29804a79e90f5b8193ea33f392852

(227)

on December 27, 2011
at 06:49 PM

unfortunately there's no one to take over at the moment, so I guess I'll just have to wait it out. 7 years! wow! :)

2
5ccf534e342f9d6de7ca807e5a017b36

on December 27, 2011
at 01:41 PM

I am in a similar boat - I have a 3-year old and a 10-month old, and I have to smirk when I hear tales of 9-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep. For what it's worth, I've lost 30 pounds in the past six months on paleo, even with interrupted sleep, so I don't really buy the "if you aren't sleeping you won't lose weight" argument.

I've just used it as a reason to stay super disciplined in all other aspects of my lifestyle. I supplement with vitamin D and fish oil, and try not to cheat on the diet too much. It's not the end of the world.

Kids are kids. The human race has survived this long nurturing kids through inconsistent sleep patterns. And in a few years, they'll be sleeping fine. So I would say just roll with it. We'll miss these years when they're older. And go hug your little boy :)

27a29804a79e90f5b8193ea33f392852

(227)

on December 27, 2011
at 06:48 PM

thanks for the advice Kevin, and I agree, time flies so fast so I am enjoying every minute I spend with my son, even when it's the middle of the night:)

2
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on December 27, 2011
at 01:23 PM

It's very bad. Missing sleep for two nights in a row is enough to get your insulin resistance as far as a diabetic.

Try to mediate where you can, hopefully you're not driving to work (if you are, it's as bad a driving drunk and carries similar penalties), and can get a seat on the train/bus and sleep there for a little while. Maybe there's somewhere you can sneak off to and have a short nap, or meditate, or just close your eyes for a bit. It won't solve the problem but it can help.

If you have a hard time falling asleep, melatonin can help with that, but it won't help you if you're being woken up constantly.

There's always polyphasic sleep, but who knows how good or bad that is for us.

In the end, the only cure is sleep. Forget about the weight loss, without sleep, it won't happen. If you're sleep deprived, you'll need more calories to stay awake. Trying to make it up with caffeine is going to backfire and cause adrenal exhaustion. Eat as you feel hungry and eat nutrient and calorie dense foods as you are in stress. Stick to mostly good fats and protein as you'll become insulin resistant and carbs are going to make the problem much worse.

(This is not saying give up on trying to lose weight, but rather pointing out that whatever you do will be less effective until you do get sleep.)

27a29804a79e90f5b8193ea33f392852

(227)

on December 27, 2011
at 06:55 PM

I guess from everyone's answer that the best solution is to sleep, so I guess I'll just have to wait until after I meet my deadline end of Jan and then get some extra sleep. Thank u for your advice

1
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 27, 2011
at 04:21 PM

I typed an answer, then I re-read your post and realized I was just giving you the advice you didn't want--sleep more.

Frankly, that's still my advice but if you can't sleep more then you can't. Plan your way to a workload that will allow you to sleep more because if you keep on as you are now you'll soon not be able to work as much and you may be too ill to take good care of your son.

Kids need more than custodial care; they need nurturing and laughter and play.

So if you really have to work plus work on your evening project, you have my best wishes but please find a way not to have that double workload because the long term costs won't be worth what you'll lose.

27a29804a79e90f5b8193ea33f392852

(227)

on December 27, 2011
at 06:52 PM

thanks for the advice Nance, I'm working at night to meet a deadline end of January, so it's temporary, I guess I just have to wait until I'm done and then I can try to catch up on my sleep. And I totally agree about kids needing laughter and play, the reason why I work at night, after my son goes to sleep, is to allow me to be with him 100% of the time when he's awake

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on December 27, 2011
at 03:23 PM

The good part is that your short sleeps will be over at some point once your deadline is over and your kids grow up more. Most people go through phases of too little sleep at some point in their lives.

But sleep deprivation is very bad over the long term- check out Sleep Thieves by Stanley Coren. http://www.stanleycoren.com/e_thieves.htm

or http://www.amazon.com/Sleep-Thieves-Stanley-Coren/dp/0684831848

27a29804a79e90f5b8193ea33f392852

(227)

on December 27, 2011
at 06:56 PM

You're right AnnaA, always look on the bright side! :) thanks

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