Sleep Deprivation As Only a Mother Knows


Lately I’ve been battling what feels like major sleep deprivation.  To make things worse, it came along with a side of insomnia.  So, not only am I dead tired all.the.time, but I cannot fall asleep when I finally have the chance.  Oh yeah… and the crying baby doesn’t help either.  Once I actually do fall asleep he usually wakes me up.  Multiple times.  Because I’m just too tired to sleep train him.

When sleep disorders affect one member of a household, they affect all members. Keeping late hours — mixed with random daytime sleeping  [i.e. The never long enough Shabbos nap]— throws off family activity schedules, bonding time and the sleep patterns of other family members.

–quoted from health.howstuffworks article here

 Part of the problem is that mothers put their kids to bed and then stay up much later than they should… It’s understandable, Mindell says. “A lot of moms see the night as their own quiet time to relax or as a chance to get things done that they couldn’t during the day,” she tells WebMD. So instead of going to bed earlier to compensate for the sleep they’re losing in the night, mothers might stay up later — further eroding the time they sleep.

–quoted from article here

Ok, so this is me and my life right now in a nutshell.

And what bothers me is that no one understands.  No one seems to care.  No one realizes how little sleep I actually get.


Others sleep when I am up, so they think that I am sleeping too. If they don’t hear a screaming baby all night long, then it’s as if the baby didn’t wake up at all. And no, that two-hour Shabbos afternoon nap three weeks ago doesn’t make me less tired now.  It was great then but that was three weeks ago.

Going to bed earlier is easier said than done.  Night time is the only time I have to myself.  It’s the only time I can shower and the only time I can go to the bathroom in peace.  It’s also the only time I have to cook, prepare lunches for the next day and eat my own dinner.

And on those rare nights when I do get into bed earlier, it doesn’t mean that I will actually fall asleep.  And it definitely doesn’t mean that I won’t be woken up seconds later by a child in need.

Oh how I wish I could sleep late one morning.  Are all kids wired to wake up at 6am every morning or is it only mine?

I think I’ve reached the end of my rope.  I am totally considering hiring a babysitter on the nights/weekends to watch my kids so I can sleep.  I know it sounds crazy, but right now I think that will be the only way.

I know that all moms go through this… What have you done to alleviate sleep deprivation?

Until next time,

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  • Yiska

    Thank you so much for this post! Just the validation I need right now! I don’t come on so often (no time!) but I have come across your website and it’s great and much appreciated.

    Re: how to alleviate sleep deprivation: Here is something I did when I was engaged, working like crazy in a new job, and having errands all over the city (no car, this is the Holy City we’re talking about here). Now I use it as the pregnant working mother of an active toddler, Baruch Hashem, and it helps me so much!

    Step 1: In bed, before falling asleep (or whenever close to bed works for you), shut out everything and focus on just you and Hashem being there together. No one and nothing else.

    Step 2: Bitachon time. Remember that Hashem can do ANYTHING. He can make the world out of nothing, He can make a human life inside of you, He can make money come when you don’t understand how, and He can make vinegar burn as well as oil (sorry I don’t have the chazal source for this!). Also remember how much He loves you, what amazing kadosh work YOU are doing, and how much He wants to do ANYTHING for you too – that means 4 hours of sleep being just as restful as 6 or 8. No overt miracles here, just chesed from Above. (Steps 1 and 2 become more natural with practice, by the way).

    Step 3: “Thank you, Hashem, for getting me through today. Please give me a good night’s sleep and please help me get through the day tomorrow.” Imagine your short sleep as more concentrated and powerful than your super-duper laundry detergent, and let yourself fall asleep.

    Step 4: In the morning, right after modeh ani and before getting out of bed: Remember your laundry detergent sleep. “Thank you, Hashem, for giving me a good night’s sleep. Please help me get through the day today (feel free to enumerate specific challenges you anticipate).” Do this even if you wake up with a tired headache. Remember that Hashem gave you as much rest as you need, regardless of how many hours you slept. and He gives you whatever energy you will need for the day because you have been entrusted with a special job (or 800) that only you can do.

    Step 5: Go get ’em!!

    I hope this is helpful – it makes me see that I have a partner in my sleep itself and is a day-to-day reminder of how much Hashem does for me. B’Harzlacha!!

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  • Yiska

    Oh Shaindy, I read this post when I need some “you’re not alone” validation in this area! Thank you for your openness here! I identify with more parts of it every time I read it and I feel so much better that you also have these things going on!

    By the way, I don;t know what you ended up doing about the babysitting thing but it’s not crazy at all, it’s to PREVENT mothers from going crazy! On afternoons when I don’t work I TOTALLY send the kids out and sleep. Whenever I need it and there’s somebody available to take them. That would be the equivalent of your Sunday, let’s say. DO IT! SLEEP!! 🙂