Parent Zombia: Parenting Struggles with Insomnia

Parent Zombia: Parenting Struggles with Insomnia

Suffer From A Case Of Parent Zombia?

Tips To Reclaiming Your Sleep 

Roxana Guy
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We’ve heard the terms Dadsomnia, Mom Zombie, and the clinical classic, insomnia.  But it seems as baby gets closer to sleeping more in the night, our parenting woes are just beginning.  Enter the parent’s dreaded enemy, Insomnia.  Insomnia is a medical condition where we can’t sleep at night for whatever reason.  What we don’t want is chronic insomnia.  Chronic means the condition is permanent and difficult (if impossible) to remove.  That’s why we’re writing our parenting tips of curbing our term Parent Zombia so you can find your good night’s sleep.  
Ah, the joys of parenting.  There are the good times like sweet little coos, first laughs, and the soft touch of little hands and feet.  And then there are the not so fabulous times like late night crying with seemingly no reason, first tooth pains and dirty diapers smelling up your life.  It’s a fine line between awesome and awful every single day with parenting.  
And to top it all off, having little to no sleep along with the stresses of everyday life just makes it all the more miserable.  You think you’ll never get your life back, and suddenly, you find yourself slipping between anxiety and exhaustion every waking moment.  Depression becomes an understatement along with neglected doubt, frustrations and fears.  You begin to question your own self value and parenting skills and many factors contribute to this but nothing like insomnia.  
So here you are reading this article hoping for some kind of hope and peace of mind.  And I am here to tell you that I feel exactly the same way you do right now and everyday.  My boys aren’t babies anymore, but I still have the same worries and fears that I did when they first came into the world. And while there’s times I may have difficulty sleeping, my sleep has improved drastically over the years with these techniques I am going to share with you.  

Sleep Problem 1:  Baby seemingly crying for no reason.  How to find sleep in a seemingly sleepless night.

Realize that when a baby cries, there’s always a reason.  They could be simple things like hungry or thirsty or just need you to hold them.  However, they could be in pain like gas, a new tooth coming in or even becoming sick.  The reality is, babies don’t understand any other way to communicate with you other than crying at this point in time.  Always take a cry as something serious because the baby may be suffering with colic, upset stomach or possibly another condition.  
We suggest for a better night’s sleep buying a travel bassinet to keep in your bedroom.  We understand and realize that sleeping with mom and dad is a bad idea, but this bassinet is portable and can pop up in an instant when it’s necessary for baby to stay closer to you.  We recommend using a blanket rolled around the sides as a buffer for a hard sleeping mom or dad so they don’t accidentally roll on top of the bassinet and baby.  Use this to comfort your baby, and once they’re asleep, lay them in the bassinet and grab a wink or two.  
Also, don’t stay up on the computer or the t.v.  The light from these devices tells your brain to stay awake, so be sure that you’re in your bedroom or place of sleep and prepare yourself and baby for bed even if they are awake.  
If you pace, pace slowly and gently verses rapidly and frantic even though it may be your first instinct.  Pacing slowly and gently relaxes you and the baby allowing you both to calm down.  It’s natural to be anxious about your child when they cry.  But they sense your anxiety, and it may in turn, keep them as much awake as you because they feel safe with you.  If they feel your anxiety, they’re going to feel unsafe as well furthering your long night.  

Sleep Problem 2:  Addicted to Caffeine.  

Ah, the taste of morning coffee or Red Bull  especially on a cold night or a sleepless one.  It’s almost like the perfect good morning kiss or a pat on the back of a great job.  But you can actually consume too much caffeine.  Some soaps and shampoos are caffeinated to give you energy and stimulate your skin to make you feel more revitalized.  Some foods have caffeine additives to make them more appealing to consumers like this caffeinated gum or candy.  While you might think drinking that extra coffee or energy drink is okay, you may already be full of caffeine and not even know it which could be keeping you up late at night.  
This is why it’s so important to drink water in the afternoon.  We get it, you’re exhausted and have zero energy by 2 pm or maybe all day.  But getting enough water to drink to flush out this excess of caffeine is exactly what you need.  By the end of your day, start sipping some calming tea like non caffeinated herbal teas.  This relaxes you enough to try to get some sleep, and if baby is near by smelling the calming scents of lavender, for example, this soothes you and baby for a great night of sleep.  

Sleep Problem 3:  Baby isn’t crying but is awake all night, laughing, giggling or knocking stuff off.

My youngest son was notorious for this scenario.  It seemed the idea of being away in the night was some thrill or adventure.  He’d get on his knees and creek the bed like he was going to take off crawling or he’d coo and gurgle like he was having a grand conversation or squeal joyfully.  As a mom, you’re happy that your baby is happy but not at 2 am, and it becomes annoying very quickly. My mom and I did some research, and we realized it was his bath time.  I gave him a bath whenever I had an opportunity or he was messy verses giving him a bath before bedtime.  I thought I was being preventative so I could go to sleep when in reality I was being counter productive.  
But calming baths like Aveeno Baby Calming Comfort Bath made a world of a difference.  I realize it’s on the pricier end of baby baths, but for a good night’s sleep, it’s worth every cent!  The second best and most budget friendly has to be Johnson’s Lavender Baby Wash, but sometimes it’s just as expensive as the Aveeno when it’s not on sale.  Bathing baby every evening about 6-7 pm in this stuff is fantastic.  The water soothes the baby and the scent puts them into a gentle sleep.  And if they’re sleeping fantastic, you can sleep a little easier.

Sleep Problem 4: The never ending list or worries.

We get it.  You’re worried about baby, finances, relationships and everything under the sun.  But if you’re like us, you’re also pondering the ways of the world and universe along side all these things. Worrying is exhausting!   It steals your sleep, your joy and never solves a single problem!  For this problem, we first recommend reading your Bible, specifically Isaiah 40:31 and Matthew 6:25-34. Relying on the Lord for comfort and strength is always better than taking on yourself.  Pray after reading these verses and give your worries and concerns over to God.
The next thing we suggest is listening to relaxing music to calm yourself down.  Sometimes, it can revitalize you rather than relax you, but allow yourself no more than 10-15 minutes of relaxing music to calm and lull you to sleep.

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So when should you call a doctor or know when it’s bad enough to ask for outside help?  Here’s a quick list.  You should call your doctor:
  • If you’re going months long after your baby has learned to sleep through the night on a few hours or less of sleep, it’s time to talk to your doctor.  6 months or longer sleeping like this is a sign of other problems going on. 
  • If you feel depressed or suicidal like you want to hurt yourself or your children, it’s time to talk to a doctor and possibly a therapist to help you regain power and control over your life.  There is no shame in a man or woman asking for help when they’re overwhelmed.  It actually means you’re stronger than you realized.
  • If you find yourself yelling, screaming and hitting your child or yourself.  This could be a sign of a more serious mental health issue and needs to be addressed quickly to ensure you and your baby’s health.  
  • If your baby has cried for a whole day non stop.  Something is seriously wrong with your baby if they are crying for long periods of time, and actually you should call sooner if it’s bad enough to cry an entire day.  There could be serious health issues or other underlying factors causing your baby distress, and they need a doctor asap.  An example might be a fever at 103 or higher, and this is very dangerous for your baby meaning they need the ER as soon as possible. 
  • If you are concerned.  There’s nothing wrong with calling your doctor or pediatrician just because you have a parenting feeling that something is wrong.  Most of the time, you’re right, and a doctor is needed.  But don’t call so much that your doctor ignores you.  Try your insurance company.  Many now have 24 hour nursing hotlines to call with questions.  

There are lots of reasons why we can’t sleep as parents.  Parent Zombia is definitely a problem relate-able to both moms and dads alike.  There are different problems that can cause Parent Zombia making you feel exhausted, tired, overwhelmed and draggy like a zombie.  However, understand one key component of all of this.  You are not alone!  There are other parents out there just like you that are struggling with sleep deprivation.  And because you are not alone, you should feel empowered to know that your fight is worth it.  You’re a good mom or dad.  Just remember that.  Imagine for a moment what your kids would be like without you.  You’ll quickly realize it isn’t about you anymore.  It’s about protecting your kids and being a shelter from the storms of life that they’ll never know or understand.  And when you realize that, it’s all the more worth being a parent.

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