Parenting With Insomnia: Tips to Manage the Tough Days
Last updated: October 2023
I would like to share with you the things that genuinely made a big difference and helped me get through the long days and even longer nights. Insomnia is relentless and a severe bout can really just kick in at any time. There can be no warning and no trigger. Having this happen when you are the parent to a small child can really be tough.
As parents, we want to be able to give our children the best we can of ourselves, and the reality is that with insomnia - that is simply not always possible. In fact, as humans that is not always possible. Dealing with insomnia, just makes it that much harder.
I have a list of tricks that are literally stuck on the inside of my kitchen cupboard door, because thanks to brain fog, I do not always remember what it is that I am supposed to do when I feel this way. It contains contact numbers, and reminds me simply to do what I need to do to get through the time ahead.
By this, I do not mean takeaways, junk food pizza, and sugar-laden refined food. That will only make you feel worse. Eating properly and having nutritious food can be very beneficial all around for both you and your children.
We have a great local delivery service that is provided by a lady who delivers home-cooked meals, I order a few in advance, and pop them into my freezer. These are easy to use and you can just drop them into the oven and cut up some fresh salad goodies on the side to serve. Not needing to worry about the cooking and standing for ages when you are that tired is by far one of my best tricks.
Calling in the calvary
I touched on this lightly in Parenting With Insomnia: Acknowledging the Challenges, I can't express to you how learning to ask for help changes things. It does not have to be every day, all day kind of help.
I would often call a friend, who knows I have insomnia, and ask them to come to the park with me. I would buy a decent takeaway coffee and they would help me by pushing my kid on the swing, and entertaining her endless babble when it feels like my brain will actually explode.
Also, they can come to the house, and let you catch a break while they entertain your kids for a little while. It is vital to understand that you are not a bad parent for needing help. Reach out, someone will be there to help you, be it a family member, a friend, or a spouse.
Learn to take a time out
I am a single mom, and I know all too well that this is not always possible. So I had to improvise and learn to do it in ways that meant I was still at home with my little one.
When My little one went to nap, if I could not sleep, I would have a shower, change clothes, make my bed, and take some time to breathe and relax. Listening to a guided meditation just grounds me again and finds my patience and calm.
When insomnia is severe, I can turn into a really impatient and difficult human. It is important to remind myself that taking time for myself and I mean, even if it is only 10 minutes at a time, is beneficial. If you are able to nap, do it when your child naps. Some people believe napping is bad for insomnia - I am not those people, and I grab any opportunity to nap when I can.
Get a good clean done
When a person does not sleep well, it is easy for everything to get out of hand quickly. I like to get my housekeeper in a little more regularly to help me stay on top of things. I am also not above asking someone to please come and help me get it done. Sometimes I do not have the resources to pay someone, luckily I have a few great friends.
All these things do nothing to cure your insomnia, what they do is help me be a good parent, and not feel out of control of everything on top of being totally exhausted. They ensure that we still eat good food and help keep the mom guilt at bay.
Do you experience painsomnia?