Sleepless in Luxembourg
It was my birthday last week and my baby-daddy took me out for a dinner and a movie. First night away from my dear baby! As I was getting ready, I was walking around, stopping… I forgot what I was about to do. I explained the babysitters about the feeding and sleeping etc. and I stop mid sentence… I forgot what I was talking about. I call it that “my brain has stopped” and I just start doing something else. It will surely come back if it’s important enough.
Why is my brain stopping? First of all, getting ready to go out is not routine at the moment, so it takes some time for my brain to gather information about getting dressed, putting on make up and so on. Second and more importantly, lack of sleep! Our brains need sleep to function.
6 weeks have past. It seems so long and yet it went by so fast. 6 weeks of sleepless nights or at least interrupted sleep. On a good night I get 3-3,5 hours uninterrupted sleep. On a bad night I may only get 1,5-2 hours or I do get 3 hours, but I don’t really sleep. I try to get 8 hours of sleep, if you add up all the hours.
It is quite easy to tell if I had 8 “added up” hours of sleep. I am a much nicer person when I have slept. I am a better mother, friend and girlfriend! When I don’t sleep enough I find it very hard to find my happy place. To shield myself from the world and spare my entourage of my bad mood, I spend most of the day watching TV while stuffing my body with all the sugar and other unhealthy things I can find in the house. I eat without thinking. I eat everything I am not supposed to eat and lots of it! It’s called comfort eating. I feel sorry for myself for not having slept enough, so I eat away my sorrows.
Does it work? In the moment yes, but then comes the food hangover! What is the best way to cure a food hangover? To eat more, of course! It’s a vicious circle. And how do we get out of it?
I recently watched a documentary called “Sleepless in America” made for the National Geographic Channel (http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/sleepless-in-america/episodes/sleepless-in-america/), about the danger of sleep deprivation. It started by telling the story of a father of four, who lost two of his children and his wife in a car accident caused by someone who fell asleep behind the wheel. Very dangerous indeed! Then it went on about how sleep can affect your performance at work and decrease your sexual appetite. Furthermore, how not getting enough or a good night of sleep can lead to obesity.
Think about it! How you feel on the days you have not slept well. Do you find it easy to eat healthy and be active?
I believe that for optimal health we need routine. I think we need the same amount of hours every night. The hours may differ depending on what you are used to, your fitness level and your age.
Obviously this is not possible for me at the moment and it’s ok. I get to take care of a very cute little baby. It is hard though to eat healthy on the days where sleep is scarce. It is frustrating because I want to get rid of the baby fat and every time I finish another chocolate bar I think “oh dear, it was not meant to be today”. But how many days can I continue like that?
So how do we get out of this vicious circle? I think, it’s getting up in the morning every day and decide that today I will be kind to myself. It sounds so easy and it really can be.
I believe it is about being conscious and try to create a balance. Be conscious about the reason or reasons you eat junk and then try to not eat junk every day! The day after a bad food day, try to go for a walk and to eat more greens and maybe hide away the chocolate.
It is also important to not be too hard on yourself. It is hard to take care of a newborn and if we pressure ourselves to also eat perfectly healthy and to be active all the time, I think we will crash. We have to remember to enjoy this baby-bubble. It is a time that only comes around once and it must be cherished. Your baby doesn’t care about your muffin tops; he loves you anyway 😉
On the days when baby drives you crazy and you cry all day, have some chocolate – ENJOY the chocolate without guilt and wake up to a new day with hopefully a bit more sleep!