It’s a twitchy feeling.
A gnawing, large, suffocating thing going on inside your chest and brain that threatens to overpower you.
You are no longer yourself. You are not the warm, nurturing, peaceful mother of Daytime. No.
Now… in the middle of the night… for the 4th time since midnight…
You are Psychotic Mom from the Kingdom of the Sleep Deprived and, for all intents and purposes, it’s Apocalypse Now.
You are so freaking tired you can’t think straight. You want to cry and sob and throw your head against the wall to make the crying stop, but that doesn’t make the crying stop. You are the only one who can make the crying stop.
Deep down in the recesses of your psyche you know this is because you are a loving mother with a job to do. You love your baby so much you’d knife anyone who threatened their safety, and yet, in the middle of the night… you wonder why your child is trying to make you lose your ever loving mind.
You spent 9 months incubating this baby and if you go even another 9 weeks waking up so many times a night you may actually have a psychotic break.
That’s the bad news…
The good news is this: you are not crazy… you’re just going insane.
You are going insane because waking up multiple times a night for days, weeks, or even (God Help Us All) years is not good for you. Here are some reasons why you feel angry and insane and how you can start to reverse this cycle and go back to being you.
You are angry because your brain is flagging
Sleep helps your brain work right. The human body is not a mechanical machine, it needs down time. It is during sleep that your brain stores away the previous days’ information and prepares the neural pathways for tomorrow. A lack of sleep (particularly over a longer period of time) will cause trouble with decision making, problem solving, the ability to control your emotions, and increase your chances of feeling depressed (source).
Your baby is worth every miserable minute you’re awake at night while you want to be sleeping and you’d do it again and again and again and again in lieu of the alternative. But still… your brain Without Sleep is getting jacked up.
It’s making you irrational, impulsive, and ornery.
You are crazy because your brain is startled and deep sleep is interrupted
Throughout the night we cycle through both active and passive sleep cycles. Or between deep sleep and lighter sleep. When you roll over and wake up a little bit? Yep. That’s most likely a sleep transition. When you wake up multiple times throughout the night because of a cry, scream, or alarm… it’s bad for you. There’s just no other way to say it.
One study found that just one night of interrupted sleep or startled wake-ups is enough to cause confusion and irritation throughout the next day (source). That same research showed that 8 hours of broken sleep in bed is not much better than just being in bed for 4 hours total.
If your body can’t properly go through its stages to arrive at the deep restorative sleep it’s never getting what it needs. Of course, mothers just do what they must do while babies are young and tiny and their tummies can only hold so much.
It’s when this goes on and on for weeks and months and even years that you start becoming Zombie Apocalypse Mom.
You are being tortured, plain and simple
The CIA actually released a report detailing one “enhanced interrogation technique” called sleep deprivation. Detainee were kept awake for 180 hours usually in a standing position. For some people this caused hallucination.
“The first signs of sleep deprivation are unpleasant feelings of fatigue, irritability, and difficulties concentrating. Then come problems with reading and speaking clearly, poor judgment, lower body temperature, and a considerable increase in appetite. If the deprivation continues, the worsening effects include disorientation, visual misperceptions, apathy, severe lethargy, and social withdrawal.” (source)
Basically, your lovely precious amazing bundle of joy that is worth every minute of this insanity… is the cause of your personal torture. Sure a few months of night feedings won’t do much harm, but multiple wakings night after night after week after month will slowly break down your body’s ability to function.
But don’t lose hope, you can fix this.
You are not crazy, you ARE going insane
You love your baby so much that going crazy makes you feel guilty. Even though you can barely think straight and need 5 cups of coffee a day and your house looks like the aftermath of a bombing and you now have permanent bags under your eyes that only those super expensive gel things from Sephora stand any chance of reversing.
You don’t have to feel guilty. You aren’t angry at your baby. You aren’t angry at being a mom. You aren’t a failure. You aren’t hopeless and crazy and on the verge of a mental breakdown. Or, even if you are on the verge, it’s okay. It’s not your fault.
You are not a bad mom for feeling crazy due to lack of sleep.
It just doesn’t have to be this way…
Unless your baby has a medical condition that causes them pain or prevents them from sleeping well… they do not need to wake up multiple times a night for months. It seems like a mystery now and – honestly – you probably don’t have the spare brainpower to work out a plan.
But that’s okay because you don’t have to.
You can teach your baby to sleep well at night. You can start sleeping well at night. You can get back your sanity, your temper, and your relationship with your family. I will show you how in this free 3 part series. Sign up below and get it.
Lack of sleep makes you angry, anxious, irritable, frustrated, and slow. This doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom it means you’re a tired one. Babies need to sleep, mamas need to comfort. Part of this is the way of life.
But you don’t have to suffer for years.
You don’t have to kill your actual brain cells.
Your baby can learn to sleep and so can you.
Don’t be a martyr, get some help.
Immediate Help for You
- Got a newborn? Here’s a newborn sleep schedule: week by week.
- Baby won’t sleep at all? 28 things to do when baby won’t sleep
- Do you wear your baby or toddler out? Here’s the biggest baby sleep myth and why it backfires
- Day and night confusion? This will sort it out.
I’ve created a free email series just for you! There are truly only a few reasons why babies and toddlers have struggles sleeping… really, I mean it. I am going to teach you the main 3 reasons and how to start making small changes to help your baby go from:
- fighting sleep to embracing it
- night wakings to sleeping through
- needing you to jump through hoops to going to sleep on their own
Click here to sign up for my free email series or simply click on the image below.
New to this community? Start here, friend.