How to Deal with Sleep Deprivation as a Working Mom

Here’s a fun topic for today, ladies: What are your best tips for dealing with sleep deprivation as a working mom? Do you nap at work? Do you have a system worked out with your partner for sharing this parenting duty (such as where one of you “falls on the sword” to deal with the sleepless kiddo, letting the other one get sweet sweet sleep?) Whether you’ve got a newborn, a teething toddler, or a kiddo who’s afraid of monsters, this comes up from time to time for all of us… so let’s discuss.

For my $.02, my youngest, H, is dropping his last nap. Yaaaaay… not. On the nights that we don’t get him to bed super early to make up for the lost nap we often get nighttime wakings — like last night when he came into our room at 4:00 AM and was pretty much up for the day, despite my best efforts to convince him that it was still time for sleep. My husband happened to be out of town — so right now I feel like the walking dead. In general, though, my husband and I thankfully tend to complement each other here — he is an early bird by nature, so by 5:00 or 6:00 he’s up and playing with the kiddos — but he loves a good nap later in the day if and when he can. On the flip side, I’m not much of a napper unless it’s truly desperate times — but if I’m still in bed I can go back to sleep, and my husband will often let me catch another 60–90 minutes of shuteye. While our default move is to pull the kiddo into bed with us, once it becomes clear the kiddo is going to be wiggling more than sleeping, one of us (usually my husband) will go find another place to sleep, such as the kiddo’s vacant bed or the couch — and then if the next night is also a bad one, whoever didn’t deal with the sleepless kiddo the first night takes their “turn” if at all possible.

How about you, readers — is sleep deprivation a problem you face? What are your best tips for how to deal with sleep deprivation as a working mom?

Psst: we’ve talked a LOT about pulling all-nighters for work-related reasons over at Corporette, including tips for looking great the day after the all-nighter, how to nap at work, and our best tips for surviving the day after an all-nighter. You can also check out some of our top sleep tips for working mothers!

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Get Better Sleep as a Working Mom by Using These 6 Baby Sleep Tips

Sleep Tips for Working Mothers: Get Some Zzzzs Tonight!2017 Update: We still stand by these sleep tips for working mothers — you may also want to check out our most recent discussion of how to deal with sleep deprivation as a working mom.

If you search on Amazon for “baby sleep advice” books, you’ll find more than 200 books. Google “baby sleep advice” and you’ll get almost 35,000,000 results. As a mom, did you ever think you could use some of those tips to get better sleep yourself? OK, maybe you won’t be swaddling yourself, using a pacifier, or gazing at one of those pretend aquariums anytime soon, but many other baby sleep tips can help you get better sleep. Some great sleep tips for working mothers include:

  1. Stick to a regular bedtime routine. For babies, a bedtime routine might look like bath-book-feed. You can create your own routine to signal to yourself that it’s time for sleep. Try something like this: 1) Put away your work and stop checking work email. 2) Write a list of things to do the next day so they won’t be swirling around your brain when you want to relax. 3) Change into your pajamas. 4) Do something relaxing and screen-free, like reading a book, journaling, or coloring. 5) Go to bed at roughly the same time every night (even on weekends). 6) Listen to something relaxing and/or boring, like “the most relaxing song ever,” a relaxing or purposely-boring podcast such as Sleep With Me, a white noise app, or an ocean-sounds Spotify playlist.

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Weighted Blankets, Overactive Four-Year-Olds, and Sleep (Sweet, Elusive Sleep)

weighted blanket review

2018 Update: We still stand by this weighted blanket review (we’ve even raved about weighted blankets for adults)– but you may want to check out some of our more recent stories about bedtime, including our recent post on how to get your kids to sleep

I’ve seen this article about weighted blankets floating around social media lately, and since we just got one for my eldest, I thought I’d do a little weighted blanket review today.  I forget how exactly I found this Forbes article saying that weighted blankets are amazing for all sorts of kids (although they’re most often used for kids with sensory disorders) — probably somewhere in my sleep research.  Bedtime was crazy crazy crazy for us for months (maybe years! taking the fourth side off the crib in January 2014 was what I generally view as the start of his sleep troubles), complete with meltdowns, screaming, and more.  We moved his bedtime up, we moved his bedtime back… we set strict routines and stuck to them as best we could with him fighting every step.  Finally I found this article about weighted blankets and decided to give it a try.  (It didn’t help that he had a major itchy rash from May 2015 until recently (more thoughts on eczema to come in the future), and would itch like mad at bedtime unless we gave him Benadryl, which only seemed to help enough to help him fall asleep.

Finally, I found this article and decided to give it a try, even though it sounded crazy — putting an 8 pound weight on my son while he slept?  But you know what: dang if it hasn’t solved a lot of our sleep problems.  The first few nights he refused to use it, and I had to put it on his legs after he fell asleep in hopes that it would help him sleep.  Now, after having it for almost three months, he happily snuggles under it at bedtime and knows it helps him fall asleep. Even if he was crazy just a minute before, if we can get him under the blanket for just 20-30 seconds it seems to really help calm him down.  (Note that it isn’t a bed-sized blanket; it’s more the size of our Dream Blanket.) The one downside is that he seems to sleep so well with it that he has more nighttime accidents than he ever did before, so we’ve started taking the blanket off him after he falls asleep. (But then again, he is 4.5, so that’s probably par for the course.)  The blankets come in a range of sizes, colors, and weights; we paid around $114 for ours with tax and shipping.  The Magic Blanket

2018 Update: The Magic Blanket is now available through Amazon — as are other weighted blankets!

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Everyone Thursday: Black-Out Pleated Shades

Redi Shade Black-Out Pleated Shades | CorporetteMoms

2018 Update: We still stand by this rave review of temporary black-out pleated shades for kids’ rooms, hotels, and grandparents’ houses– but you may want to check out some of our more recent stories about bedtime, including our recent post on how to get your kids to sleep.

Yes, these temporary blackout shades may be an odd choice for an “everyone” Thursday, but stick with me. I only recently realized these things are available — we just bought some for Harry (he sleeps in our bedroom at night), and they’ve made all the difference. I can see them being great if you’re pregnant and exhausted (or, heck, just not getting any sleep at night) and have the opportunity to take a catnap at work — and the great thing about them being super affordable is that you can use them for a few rooms, while on vacation (they’re super lightweight and disposable), and more. For a pack of 6, they’re $27.62 (36″ x 72″ size) and $33.30 (48″ by 72″ size) at Amazon. Redi Shade Black-Out Pleated Shades