How to Cope with Sleep Deprivation 

I will start by saying that sleep is super important. As far as your health goes, assuming you have the choice, it is far better to get enough sleep than workout. Note, it's not that you shouldn't work out, it's that sleep is even more beneficial for your health. This is coming from someone who loves to workout daily.

That said, having a newborn implies sleep deprivation. Add grad school on top of that and a rambunctious 3 year old and there is no way that you are getting a full nights sleep. Today I finally took my final for my last summer class. Considering that spring semester ended the day after Hailey was born and the summer semester started two days later, I haven't had a break from school since January. To say that I have been looking forward to a month off from classes before the fall is an understatement.

No matter what kind of schooling you do or what you major in, there are some classes that are more difficult than others. This last one was intense! Couple that with jam packing the information into a short 6 weeks of classes and well, I'm praying for a B by the skin of my teeth. In order to get even that I used a few tactics to combat my sleep deprivation.

1. Naps:

If you can't sleep at night, try to get a little shut eye during the day. Even a 30 minute power nap can recharge your battery for the rest of the day. Nothing combats sleep deprivation like, well, sleep. I can't get a nap every day, but when I can I try my darnedest to take it. Sometimes I just lay there with my eyes closed without actually  getting to sleep. But even that can help relax and restore.

2. Caffeine:

I'm a breastfeeding  mama so the amount of caffeine I can consume is limited. If your baby becomes jittery or agitated when you consume too much caffeine, it can keep your baby up. This can decrease your sleep even more. Otherwise, caffeine early in the day can help with your exhaustion. Since I sometimes have long drives for work, last time I had a newborn I would have coffee during the drive. Long monotonous drives can make you tired otherwise. I expect I will be doing this again when I start work again this time.

3. Exercise:

If you have to be up anyway, exercise is actually a good way to get energy. This may seem counterintuitive since you would think that you are expending energy. But, exercise can actually help you think more clearly and feel more energized. I like to exercise in the morning, but 5 minutes of increasing your heart rate can definitely give you a boost. Feeling drowsy mid afternoon? Go for a quick walk or jog or just dance to a few songs in your living room. You will definitely feel a lift in energy.

4. Keep busy:

Yesterday, the family took a trip to Sesame Place in Pennsylvania. On a day that I would otherwise be exhausted after days with the kids and studying before they wake up and after they go to bed, I was able to keep up with them because I was busy. The monotony of day after day at home with a newborn can add to our exhaustion. The same can be said for any monotonous routine.  Take the kids to the park or zoo or grandma's house. Anything you do to change up the routine can help with your sleep deprivation.

That said I am looking foward to tomorrow morning when I can wake up and feed the baby and then relax until T gets up. Maybe even do a morning workout again! I can't wait!! As for tonight, I will be going to bed early to reclaim some of my sleep.

How do you combat sleep deprivation?

Happy weekend!!



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5 Steps to Start Your Day Right

We've all had days where we wish we never got out of bed. You get dressed and then spill coffee on your shirt right as you are heading out the door. Or you leave home without the diaper bag. Or anything else that sets you up on the wrong foot. Here are 5 steps to help you start your day right and be able to overcome obstacles.

Get a good night's sleep. It may seem like I do a lot, and I do. Between work, grad school, teaching dance, blogging, my non-profit and family life, I have a lot on my plate. But I always try to get between 7-7.5 hours of sleep each night. That means going to bed by 10:30 to be up at 6.

There's no way around it. Getting a good night's sleep provides you with energy for the day, helps keep your mind clear, and even helps prevent the munchies. When you are well rested, you don't need snacks to keep you up! This is key for a productive day. A good night's sleep is never a waste of time!

Make your to do list. If you read last Friday's post, you know that I am a big proponent of to do lists and I showed you just how I make mine. Whether you do it in the morning or the night before, having a to do list ensures that you know what you need to get done that day.

It helps keep you focused and feel less stressed. You can even split the process. Do the brain dump the night before and then choose your 3 to dos in the morning when you are clear headed.

Exercise in the morning. Does that sound like torture? It shouldn't. Find an exercise you love and do it. I like a mix of weights and cardio. It makes me feel strong and helps me work up a sweat.

Exercise should make you feel energized when you are done, not exhausted. This sets you up for burning extra calories throughout your day, helps clear your mind, helps you fall asleep better at night, reduces your hunger and is great for your figure. You really can't beat that.

Even at 32 weeks pregnant, I'm working out daily. I've modified my workouts of course, but I work out and feel empowered for my day.

Eat a healthy breakfast. I’m not telling you what time your first meal of the day is, but whenever it is, it should be healthy. Some healthy proteins and fats can set you on the right track. Maybe even some oatmeal, or a green smoothie, or how about egg and avocado on whole wheat toast! There are plenty of options that taste good and are good for you.

Spend some time each morning playing with your kids. I get up at 6 am have my workout, shower and get dressed. Then it's time for breakfast with Tyler. He gets up around 7 am so we have a good 1.5 hours before I have to leave at 8:30 am.

Now part of that time is making and eating breakfast and doing my hair possibly. However, I make it a point to have some time where we just play together. Then when I head off to work, knowing that we already had some quality time together no matter what the rest of the day has in store does wonders for me.

Things may change when #2 comes and later when Tyler starts school, but for the past 3 years we have played together every morning and it's a great way to start my day.

What to you do to get yourself on the right track in the morning? Share your tips in the comments!!



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