It is vital to know the signs of sleep deprivation, so mom can begin to get some help, and maybe get some much needed sleep! People may joke about being walking zombies when caring for our newborn babies (and even the older ones!), but when it comes to safety, we actually should not be joking too much.
With a new baby in the house, sleep deprivation is very real! Any new mom is utterly exhausted all the time and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. It's just part of having a baby, right? Maybe, but there are times when sleep deprivation can cross onto a very scary, and dangerous side.
Being deprived of the amount of sleep your body requires can put a great deal of strain on you, mentally and physically. You may start stop doing things that need to get done, such as caring for your baby, just due to not getting nearly enough sleep. Read on for the telltale signs of sleep deprivation, and the times it can turn quite dangerous. If you are aware of the signs and when it crosses into danger territory, you can get the help you need before it gets too serious.
20 Sign: Coffee Isn't Helping
A huge sign of sleep deprivation is feeling intense fatigue. This is defined as extreme tiredness and exhaustion. Having fatigue impacts your daily functioning. You are so extraordinarily tired that you cannot perform daily tasks. It is the feeling of being so sleepy that even sleep will not cure you. Having fatigue is the number one sign of sleep deprivation.
It is more than just feeling a bit tired; it is complete and utter exhaustion to the point that may even make you think that something might be seriously wrong. It is important to understand the difference between just not getting enough sleep, and getting so little sleep you suffer from fatigue.
19 Sign: Can't Stop, Won't Stop Yawning
It goes without saying that when you are tired, you might yawn! Yawning is a sure sign of being tired, but also a big sign of sleep deprivation. When you are so deprived of sleep, not only will you be yawning, but you will yawn a lot. More than you think you might.
A yawn here or there is normal (even reading the word yawn may make you yawn- did you??!), but yawning essentially non stop, yeah that is a whole other ballgame. When your yawning is something that seems like it is not stopping any time soon, you might be seriously sleep deprived.
18 Sign: Forgetting The Big Things
Oh the baby brain. This is what so many people like to call the forgetfulness that comes with having a newborn baby. First, it was pregnancy brain, then it transfers to the baby once he or she is born, and voila, you are a mom suffering from the dreaded yet common baby brain! Well, there is some truth to baby brain if you really think about it, but it actually is no laughing matter. Being deprived of much needed sleep does affect you. Being forgetful (i.e. baby brain) is a huge sign of sleep deprivation and can become quite scary when serious things start being neglected due to forgetfulness.
17 Sign: Being Way Too Clumsy
Feeling a bit of a butterfingers lately? Being extra clumsy is a huge sign that you are seriously sleep deprived. We all have our bouts of clumsiness, but if it seems to be way more than it ever was, or gets to be an issue, it can turn into something dangerous. Being clumsy and having a newborn baby certainly do not go hand in hand! You definitely do not want to be holding your infant and have a clumsy moment. Drop the bottle- okay, drop the baby- uh oh! While some clumsiness is just human nature, other times it is your body telling you to get some much needed ZZZs.
16 Sign: Irritable To The Max
You know the feeling when just about everything pisses you off? Well, that is called being irritable, which is defined as being testy, touchy, upset, offended, angered, and well, you get the idea. We all know when we feel irritated. When you are sleep deprived it is much easier to get irritated and your irritability factor goes up. Just about anything and everything can get you upset. If you find this is happening to you, you just may be suffering from sleep deprivation. Do not let the irritability define who you are, it could be due to your lack of sleep.
15 Sign: Don't Want To Do Anything
Having a lack of motivation can occur if you are sleep deprived. Lack of motivation does not equal laziness. It is not that you do not want to do things or do not feel like doing them, you simply do not have the desire to really do just about anything. This can also occur with depression. Suffering from intense sleep deprivation can really rob you of your quality of life. Having no motivation to do really anything can be very related to being deprived of important sleep. This is a huge sign that you have be getting very little sleep.
14 Sign: Feeling Fuzzy
A fuzzy head? What in the world could that mean? Well, when you are sleep deprived, you actually may live in a permanent state of fuzzy head. Fuzzy head can also be termed as brain fog, or even the dreaded mommy brain. It often means you cannot seem to think straight. That it feels as though there is a cloud over your head, or even in your brain. You might know when you have brain fog or fuzzy head, or you may be so in deep you think it is normal to feel that way. No matter what, fuzzy head is a huge indicator that you are sleep deprived.
13 Sign: Up & Down Mood
We all get moody from time to time, but always feeling moody? That can indicate that you are being deprived of all important sleep. Being intensely moody can really damper your spirits- and those around you! No one wants to be around someone who is suffering from severe mood swings that go up and down like a roller coaster, just as no one wants to be the person who is the moody one in the room. Getting the right amount of sleep can help ease that moodiness. So, if you are feel extra moody, it is a sign of sleep deprivation.
12 Sign: Trouble Learning New Things
Sleep deprivation can cause one to have difficulty learning new things and remembering things that are taught to us or even told to us. We all remember the days in school or college, where after a late night we struggled through the day and probably did not retain much! Well, that is sleep deprivation. When you do not get adequate sleep you brain cannot handle attention information and it is very difficult, if not impossible, to learn new things. If you find yourself struggling with retaining new information, no matter how important, it might be a sign you are sleep deprived.
11 Sign: No Love, Just Sleep
We get it. The last thing on your mind after having a baby is probably having relations with your partner! Well, being sleep deprived sure puts a damper on things in the bedroom. However, being very, very deprived of your ZZZ’s can make those non-feelings even worse.
If you have no interest at all, and you are not getting nearly enough sleep that you should be getting, it could all be related. A decrease in your drive is highly associated with being sleep deprived. We get it. The only thing you want to do in bed is sleep!
10 Pay Attention: Snapping
When you are sleep deprived, you can get moody, as we have learned. Having intense mood swings around a new baby is a recipe for danger. Newborn babies already stress us out. They cry nonstop and are always demanding to be feed, changed, and held. Well, if you are suffering from sleep deprivation and the demands of your baby get too much for you, that moodiness can cause you to snap at your baby- or worse. No mother wants this, but it happens. You may scream or cry out at your little one, or even shake them a bit- which is extremely dangerous. And all due to horrible moodiness from sleep deprivation.
9 Pay Attention: Falling Asleep
When you are not getting enough sleep, you may find that when you are finally relaxed, it takes no effort to suddenly fall asleep, sometimes in strange places or in odd positions. One very dangerous thing that can occur when you are sleep deprived is when you fall asleep while feeding your baby. Sometimes, the process of feeding your baby, whether breast or bottle, can be a relaxing experience. You are holding your baby as they get their nutrition and without even realizing it, you drift off to sleep. What happens after you fall asleep could be very dangerous for you baby.
8 Pay Attention: Hard Time Waking Up
We have discussed how when you are so sleep deprived, you might fall asleep at any given moment. When you are that sleep deprived, you may also find that you have trouble waking up. And as we know, when you have a newborn baby, that baby is going to wake you up every couple of hours to eat and be changed! A huge danger of being sleep deprived is being in such a deep sleep that you sleep right through your baby’s cries. Can you even imagine how awful it could be to not wake up for your newborn baby?
7 Pay Attention: 'Down' Thoughts
After you have a baby, you expect to feel a boatload of happiness, but, sometimes, that just does not happen, and there may be many reasons to blame. One reason that may get overlooked is sleep deprivation. When our bodies are deprived of sleep that we truly need, it can wreak havoc on our entire well being. A dangerous side of sleep deprivation is depression.
In fact, the sleepfoundation.org says even just a small amount of sleep deprivation can cause depression. New moms notoriously get very little sleep. So if you are feeling depressed, seek help and get some sleep!
6 Pay Attention: It Won't Go Away
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? If you are worried about getting no sleep, you might get anxious, and, as it turns out, studies show that if you get no sleep, you can develop anxiety, sometimes even bordering on severe. You may think you have anxiety and are unsure what to do. Sometimes, all it takes is more sleep. Sleep deprivation can be the trigger that not only develops anxiety but even makes it worse. This can be dangerous when it comes to not getting enough sleep. Anxiety can cause us to do things- or fail to do things, and make us into people we do not wish to be.
5 Pay Attention: Unaware Of The Baby’s Cries
We have talked about how you might sleep through your baby’s crying during the night if you are so sleep deprived your body does not wake itself to respond to those cries. Well, would you ever think it could happen while you were still awake? While this does not seem possible, it can happen. It is a huge dangerous side effect of sleep deprivation. Think of it almost like being in a zombie like state. Your baby is in her crib, in the other room. You might be watching T.V. or just zoning out. And you do not hear your baby crying! This is sleep deprivation at work, making you unable to function normally.
4 Pay Attention: Can't Sleep Through The Night
Insomnia defined is the inability to sleep. Many new moms forget what a real night’s sleep is supposed to feel like! We joke about it and walk around like zombies, but we realize it can get dangerous if we truly become seriously sleep deprived. One thing that can occur from not getting sleep is developing insomnia.
You might think, "Being sleep deprived, I basically already have insomnia". In a way, yes. The difference, though, is that sleep deprivation occurs when you are interrupted during your sleep, like a newborn baby who needs to eat. Insomnia is the desire to sleep, and the opportunity, but the inability to actually get that sleep.
3 Pay Attention: Getting Out On The Road
When you have a baby and need to drive, suddenly your eyes are on the speedometer and your hands grip the wheel in terror. You have precious cargo now! It is quite funny how different we become as drivers once our babies are in the car, most of us choose to play it extra safe. However, if you are sleep deprived, you are not playing it safe, and you may not even realize it. Not getting enough sleep can cause us to have slower reactions behind the wheel, such as not braking in time. In fact, some studies show that the effects on driving when sleep deprived can be equivalent to the effects of driving while intoxicated!
2 Pay Attention: Judgment Calls
We make decisions every day. Some are more important than others. But when it comes to a dangerous side of sleep deprivation, we find that impaired judgment can sometimes be the worst.
You are essentially making decisions while drowsy! DWD?! Your judgment is not all there, and you may be suffering from that so called brain fog. When it comes to your little one, sometimes those decisions can alter their little life forever, while you think you are making the right or best choice. We can now understand the importance of sleep and how negatively impacted our lives can be if we do not get that much needed sleep.
1 Pay Attention: Bonding Problems
This one may just be the worst side effect of sleep deprivation yet. We all wish to bond with our babies when they are newborns. Cuddling with them and just them knowing how much we love them. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation can make us act in funny ways, and we may unknowingly, or unwillingly, neglect our babies even just a bit because we are just so incredibly tired. It is sad reality. And even dangerous in the long run. It is so important for new mothers to bond with their newborns. Take opportunities to get sleep and never push yourself too hard.
References: MedicalNewsToday.com, MayoClinic.org, Babycenter.com, Independent UK, abc.com, healthyplace.com, sleepfoundation.org