The Five Stages of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep. Or lack of. Perhaps the most controversial of all baby related issues. A topic covered widely, often with conflicting advice… let your baby cry it out it they need boundaries at six months old, don’t let your baby cry it out and start paying for therapists fees now, don’t pick up your baby they are masters of manipulation, pick up your baby and they will still be living with you when they forty. (I know what you are thinking, they might be sleeping through by that stage) I have two children, one slept, one didn’t. There is no magic solution, no tricks up my sleeve to be shared. However, I can help guide you through the mire that is the resulting and inevitable sleep deprivation.

  1. Yawn Stifling

Also known as denial. Perhaps the hardest of all. This is because of a cultural sub current amongst parents who have magical sleeping babies. This group of parents are prone to equate a baby who sleeps well with good parenting. Conversely, if your baby isn’t a good sleeper, the implication is you must be doing something wrong. But you are not, your baby is just too fabulous to let all those enchanting moments go by unnoticed. This stage is often characterised by rocking back and forth in any location in your dwelling at any hour of the day or night.

2. The Tea Cycle

The tea cycle is an inevitable part of child rearing. This also can appear as a coffee or caffeine based diet soft drink cycle. You are tired. You put the kettle on. You make tea. You actually remember to drink tea. Feel better. Feel tired again. Repeat x 12. Eventually, you get to the point where you are jittery from caffeine and feeling a bit nauseous. But you must continue with the cycle as withdrawal at this stage would almost definitely result in half-finished sentences to lampposts instead of people.

3. Darty Eye

This stage can also be called the twitchy stage. With little sleep, a crying child and mounting housework, the result is a hypersensitivity to changes in the atmosphere that MAY wake a sleeping child. Few things are as frustrating as spending hours trying to get your little angel asleep, finally getting there and then a neighbour deciding that it is also coincidentally a great time to get out the angle grinder for those bottom of the list jobs.

4. Did I dream that?

In advanced stages of sleep deprivation, the line between reality and dreams because increasingly thin. My motto here is, if you have to ask, the answer is yes you dreamt it. Closely linked to, have I said that aloud? Many’s an evening I have wondered why my lovely husband has been very quiet, only to eventually realise, that I have in fact forgotten to say aloud what I meant to say to him.

5. Acceptance

With no immediate solution to your lack of sleep, acceptance can go a long way towards dealing with the stress of the situation. As sleep deprivation rumbles on, it does become easier to deal with. It is part of the mental furniture that comes with being a parent. Have faith. They will sleep eventually. Just make sure to stock up on the tea bags in the meantime.


One thought on “The Five Stages of Sleep Deprivation

  1. No stone unturned….from Mammy’s side or the poor unfortunate sleep deprived child!!! I jest, of course. Brilliant Jane, keep them coming….mind the caffeine!!!


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