If you’ve got a baby (or toddlers / multiple children!) who don’t sleep much, the bone aching tiredness is terrible. Emma and I are both mothers of children who didn’t sleep much, and we know how effing hard it is!
You can’t concentrate, little decisions about whether to go out now or after your child’s nap seem too much, and you cry when you knock over that cup of cold tea which you didn’t even get to drink.
We wanted to put together tips for energy boosting during this tough time (how to get your child to sleep longer is another topic). But how do you help yourself to be more resilient in the face of no sleep……? Well, there are a few things we can all do.
Eat well to sleep better
- Balance your blood sugars – Focus on eating complex carbohydrates (brown rice, whole grains and starchy veg like sweet potato / butternut squash) and reducing simple carbs like bread, cake and biscuits. Sugars will make your blood sugars crash, leaving you drained, which doesn’t help when you’re already sleep deprived.
- Eat protein for breakfast and throughout the day, especially lunch time will help you get through the long afternoon. Think about how to add protein at every meal or snack time (eggs, meat, nuts, seeds, tofu).
- Snack on vegetable sticks with hummus, sardines on toast, a handful of seeds and a piece of fruit. Try our chocolate orange energy bars or Banana Flapjacks
- We need B vitamins to help our cells make energy – these are found in brown rice, eggs, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, peas, mushrooms, salmon, broccoli, oats, peppers, black beans, spinach, avocado, sweet potato, almonds, lentils, tuna, turkey, cod and sesame seeds.
- Drink lots of water – tiredness is made worse by dehydration and caffeinated drinks are dehydrating.
- Magnesium – It may help you get a better quality of sleep when you are asleep, so you feel more refreshed when you wake. Magnesium can also support the anxious feeling some people get when they are really tired during the day. Magnesium rich foods are leafy green vegetables such as spinach, chard, coriander, seeds like pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, quinoa, cashew nuts, and black beans.
Energy tips for long tired days
- Keep your coffee, tea or green tea during the morning and stop around mid afternoon (2pm) as it can take a long time to leave your body which will affect the quality of whatever sleep you do catch. Caffeine can also affect your baby’s sleep if you breastfeed – see this article for more details http://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/lifestyle/caffeine/
- Avoid alcohol – a glass of wine might help you drop off but you might wake up in the early hours even if your little one doesn’t due to a fall in blood sugars.
- Try a walk outside if you can during the morning time, to help reset your circadian rhythm. When we’re waking up all through the night things start to feel a bit strange, so sometimes a bit of daylight can help to reset your brain!
- Darken your room to help your brain make the sleep hormone melatonin. Try to keep the light as low as possible if you have to prepare a bottle for baby, or if you need to move around the house.
It’s so tough when you’re very tired, we both have been there. Hope you get a little bit of energy from these tips to keep you going, it will get better, promise!