According to the Internet, the sleep-deprived among us are well on our way to becoming obese, diabetic and depressed.
But I am here to tell you that are actually some amazing benefits to being woken up every night by a baby!
In fact, I almost feel sorry for parents of the Sleeping Angel Babies because after four years, two kids and around six million night wakings – I am reaping the rewards of all those sleepless nights.
Here are just a few perks of having a baby who does not sleep:
1. You have a Really Bloody Cute Genius Baby
A recent study by The Institute of Real Life People With Actual Babies revealed that infants who wake up a lot during the night are Really Bloody Cute. Research shows that they are designed extra adorable as a way of preventing their parents from selling them on the Internet. There is also a theory that gifted babies need less sleep. My daughter can fit an entire fish finger in her mouth while singing Let It Go. Clearly gifted.
2. You get a lot of ‘Me Time’
You spend many hours lying in a dark room next to, under or feeding a baby. So why not put this time to good use? Since becoming a mother I have read e-books, mentally written a screenplay and two novels, solved the refugee crisis, almost devised a plan to take over the world and well, pissed around a bit on Facebook.
One of the main reasons I had a baby was to have something really cute to cuddle. So I am living the dream because my babies love to cuddle me – 24 hours a day! Why sleep at night when you can have hugs, kisses, tiny toes poking you in the face and cute little fingers gouging at your eye balls. #blessed.
And that is not all! Cuddling has many health benefits as it releases the ‘love’ hormone oxytocin which reduces stress, boosts your immune system, relives anxiety and makes you feel happy!
4. You are the envy of all your parent friends (very occasionally)
When the Well-Rested Parents are falling apart after poor teething Wilfie woke up twice in one night – this is your chance to shine. As they cry into their decaf tea, take the opportunity to give them a Not-So-Smug-Now head-tilt before swooping in like a saviour of the slight sleep-deprived and giving them a strong coffee, a hug (see #3) and telling them about your baby’s (twice a bloody HOUR) wakings and they’ll soon feel much better about everything.
5. You lose the baby weight without even trying (or caring)
The great thing about having a sleep-hating baby is that you get a lot of free exercise. Rocking, walking and carrying a baby around night and day burns a hell of a lot of calories. Not that you have many calories to burn. Because chances are you don’t get time to eat. I once survived a whole day on a banana and three pickled onions. I may have been weak and undernourished BUT I was back in my skinny jeans, baby! Well, I could have been. If I hadn’t been too tired to get dressed…
Lack of sleep makes you more prone to losing your shit, but this is not a bad thing! It is well documented that it is unhealthy to ‘keep things bottled up’. Well thanks to sleep-deprivation, I uncork my bottle of anger on a regular basis and I am so much happier for it. It is great! Like one time, I was peeling potatoes and the toddler started screaming for potatoes, so I told her I was making her potatoes but she screamed even more so I swore and threw the bloody potatoes out of the window one at a time.But it was all good because I wasn’t bottling that rage up. I was throwing my f*cking rage right out of the window with those Maris Pipers. Go me.
7. You can get away with forgetting things!
An impaired memory is one of the most useful benefits to being a sleep-deprived parent. You have a great excuse for forgetting things. Simply follow up your apology for being late, forgetting a birthday, a name or appointment with ‘I am so tired my baby has kept me up all night!’ And all will be forgiven. Nobody is going to hold it against a poor tired mother and even if they do, who cares? You won’t remember anyway.
8. You have a valid excuse not to leave the house
Being at home is the best place to be when you are tired. There are comfy chairs and you don’t have to wear clothes or talk to people. And the best news is that once you have cancelled enough nights out/parties/play dates the invites eventually just stop coming altogether. There is also the added bonus of getting a lot of quality time with your nap-fighting, bedtime avoiding bundle of joy. Last thing at night, first thing in the morning, every evening, in the early hours THEY ARE THERE..giving you so, so many bloody precious moments to cherish.
9. Crap is the new black
Good old sleep-deprivation ensures you are totally comfortable with letting yourself go. Gone are the days where I make the effort to look pretty. Since being sleep-deprived I consider myself ‘dressed up’ if I am wearing matching socks and clothes from the Dirty, But Not Quite Dirty Enough For The Dirty Laundry Basket pile.
10. You are the truest version of yourself
Sleep-deprivation makes you lose your inhibitions. You are way too tired to care what people think of you or your parenting. But this is actually a big plus! Ok, you may sometimes talk quite a lot of bollocks but at least you are honest and what people see is what they get.
You may have liked coffee before you became sleep-deprived but now you love it, dream of it, LIVE for it. Next to my family (and possibly wine) coffee is the best thing in my life. Not only does it give me a feeling of unadulterated euphoria, it convinces me I can do All The Stuff. That I am capable of anything! Seriously, I once did TWO loads of washing and cooked dinner in an actual pan after a particularly good cup. Coffee is to the sleep-deprived what spinach is to Popeye.
12. You become a (really tired) superhero
They say ‘Sleep is for the Weak’. They tell us, ‘Sleep is for Wimps.’ I have no idea who ‘they’ are but they are on to something. Sleep-deprivation is one of the worst forms of torture and yet parents are not only surviving it- they are taking care of babies at the same time! Some nights they may cry tears of exhausted frustration. Some days they might hide in the toilet praying for the strength to make it through dinnertime. Yet, every day they get up and get on with it. Sleep-deprivation may have tried to break us but in fact, it has made us stronger!
The best thing for me about having Sleep Thief babies has been writing an actual book about my Sleep Thief babies and connecting with so many funny, strong and inspiring sleep-deprived parents from all over the world. After launching this website and Facebook page I finally discovered that sleep-thievery is fife and my kids were normal! I was not rubbish at babies! So if your baby is a bad sleeper, embrace it, speak up and find a forgetful, grumpy, tired tribe to laugh and talk bollocks with. Misery loves company!
(I know this more than TEN benefits. Whatever, I need coffee and a nap).
While being a sleep-deprived parent is totally awesome – there is some bad news I must share with you. Like all good things it WILL come to an end. Sadly, research by The Institute Of Real Life People With Actual Babies shows that 100% of infants will definitely, certainly sleep at night eventually. So cherish these tiring times my friends, because all too soon the twilight hugs, snuggly pyjama days, the taste of that post-been-up-for-24-hours coffee, the feel of a sleeping baby on your chest – will be nothing but a distant memory. Being a sleep-deprived parent is all temporary so enjoy these benefits while you can!
For more amazing tips check out my GUIDE TO SLEEP TRAINING FOR DUMMIES..