Go get some sleep

There are plenty of scientific articles and studies that discuss and herald the importance of sleep to stave the aging process, to boost metabolism and so forth.  For me I operate in the short term.  I need sleep for sanity.  Without sleep I am cranky, my head hurts, and function at a sub-optimal level.

Right after the baby is born there is a sort of false euphoria as the adrenaline pumps through your blood stream and temporarily you can survive being up all night long and busy all day.  This is not sustainable.  No matter the drive to fold the laundry, catch up on email, touch base with work, or whatever the pressing matter may be, you must sleep when your baby does.  With the first child it is a luxury that your body both needs and deserves, so take it.

I remember being so stressed about my newborn child’s well being that I physically could not sleep.  I was exhausted.  Finally, I think three or four weeks in, my husband took our daughter downstairs for one segment of the night and I slept for 4 hours straight.  I awoke feeling like a new woman.  It was amazing what sleep had done for my mental well being.

With the first child I still could not relax enough to nap with my child.  I thought that time would be better spent scrubbing, calling, or pumping.  I was wrong.  Subsequent pregnancies, when the time to sleep is not as apparent with toddlers running a-muck, have taught me that sleep is imperative to emotional survival.  Motherhood can be a battleground and sometimes the only way to equip yourself for the fight is to sleep.  It hones the necessary skills and sharpens the senses.  It keeps me sane!

I say if there is too much to do, just take a short nap.  Know that on your list of pressing things that must be done, sleep should be at the top.  Take a short nap, check it off, and have renewed patience, love, and insight.  If still wracked with guilt or bombarded by tasks left undone, take an inventory of the last time you had a full and consecutive night’s rest.  Getting up every three hours does not count.  Remember this, and rest.  It is good for your mind and good for your soul.

Here are some great articles on sleep:

Sleep Helps New Moms Fit into Their Old Jeans (NPR)

The Sleep-Deprived New Mom (MomTalk)

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