Sleep deprivation, can we talk about how much it sucks?


I think if we were all honest we could admit that there are certain aspects of parenting that each of us don’t like. Seriously, even if you are Mary Poppins, chances are there is SOMETHING you hate about parenting. Mostly I love being a mother, I always wanted to be a mummy right from a young age and I consider it my biggest achievement and the biggest achievement I will ever have. That being said, I have to tell you I dislike certain mundane things. Silly things that you would think I’d be ok with like playing action figures with the boys, I love to watch them but to participate? I feel like I’m gouging my eyes out with a spork. I don’t especially like the noise, though it bothers me far less than most people. I don’t like the way that my control over what happens to the children is slowly slipping away as they grow and spend more time away from me.

These might be dislikes, but they are not things I hate about being a parent. No, that honour rests firmly on the shoulders of sleep deprivation.

I hate being sleep deprived. Who doesn’t? Some people seem to cope with it relatively well, but I am not one of those people. I’m the person that has developed a coffee addiction since the birth of her third child because tea wasn’t cutting it. Sleep deprivation turns me into a shadow of the woman I once was, and I miss feeling like me because of it. I’ve talked about how Edith doesn’t sleep well on here soooo many times (Oh, you hadn’t noticed?) and I have found so many mothers are struggling with the same thing, but we don’t seem to talk about how debilitating it can be. Or how much we hate it. We smile and joke about how it’s all worth it, but deep down at 3am when you have had spats of 20 mins sleep only to be woken by a one year old that doesn’t need anything other than a snuggle and a quick tipple, you can’t help but ask yourself, is it?

In the light of day, of course, the answer is yes for the most of us. I just think there should be more out there to really talk about the effects of sleep deprivation. It sucks, and no amount o coffee will really help it. It’s one of the foremost torture techniques known to man, and that should tell you something! It’s a leading cause in postnatal depression and it is so hard to cope with. I have friends who have said to me that they aren’t planning on having children any time soon because they don’t think they could cope with the lack of sleep. They need their cost 8-10 hours and without it they turn into something from The Walking Dead (not Daryl…). Last night I had roughly 3 hours at best, rarely getting into proper sleep because it was an especially bad night with Edith.

We spend all our time saying to childless friends who raise these concerns “ohhh you get used to it”, “you adapt” but let’s not lie to them. No you don’t. You change. Unreservedly. That person you are when you are tired becomes the only person you are. There are glimmers of the old you, but by and large sleep deprivation turns you into someone else. Even if you appear the same to those around you, you don’t feel it inside. I find myself to be weepy, insecure and almost needy. I want constant reassurance from my husband, affection and cooperation from the boys and I’m irrational. I’ve never been those things before.

Sleep deprivation sucks, let’s talk honestly about how much.

H x


  1. Avatar August 23, 2017 / 7:09 pm

    William is 4 months old and has suffered from colic / digestive issues from the start. I’ve had to ask my mum to take him a few nights just so we can catch up on some sleep. It’s relentlessly exhausting in a way that I simply couldn’t comprehend before I had him.

  2. Avatar July 17, 2017 / 8:54 am

    This is exactly my fear. This is why it’s taken so long to even entertain the notion of kids. But it’s too late now (unless we lose this one too) and I am so so scared I won’t cope. If this one doesn’t work I’m taking it as a sign and not trying anymore. I literally cannot function if I am tired.

    • Harriet July 18, 2017 / 9:49 am

      You will cope. You will. It isn’t easy and it takes time, but you will get there – don’t be afraid to ask for help, to ask if you need. You really can and will do this 🙂 x

  3. Avatar June 26, 2017 / 4:29 pm

    So I’ve not even had my baby yet, but st 8mnths pregnant I’m suffering the effects of sleep deprivation. I’ve been told that the sleepless restless nights are Mother Natures way of getting me used to what’s to come, which seems so unfair! And you’re right, sleep deprivation is so debilitating, I’m
    Cranky, spaced out and just plain confused! And I’m sure the best is yet to come!

    • Harriet June 28, 2017 / 6:25 pm

      The sleep deprivation during pregnancy is one of the crappest things EVER. Totally feeling you!

  4. Avatar March 7, 2016 / 2:49 pm

    For me, it isn’t sleep deprivation (i.e. amount of sleep); it’s the broken sleep. The inability to sleep through the quietest whimper, and consequent inability to get back to sleep quickly once I’ve been woken. I can feel totally exhausted and yet be unable to drift off, while the hubs snores peacefully beside me. When we go through a patch of bad nights, I tell myself to make sure I have an early night but I never do because I like my evenings without the kids clambering all over me, while I catch up on some TV!

    The sleepless nights are definitely a reason not to have more in my opinion!

    • Harriet March 7, 2016 / 3:30 pm

      Yes, I think maybe broken sleep is worse – I can’t get my head around anything when I have been woken up time and time again – its torture to get into REM sleep and then be woken up… no really there was a very famous study back in the 80s! Hx

  5. Avatar February 22, 2016 / 11:40 pm

    Oh my goodness, I can relate to your post… I have been a mum for 7 1/2 years and sleep deprived for the best part of five years. Just like you said, you change wen you’re sleep deprived, you’re not your old self anymore and no matter how much you tell childless friends, “you adapt,” you know full well you don’t and all you need is a good sleep… Being a mum is still the best thing in the world and I wouldn’t change it in the world, but I wish my 20 months old would sleep.

    Your little one is so cute by the way!

    • Harriet February 23, 2016 / 10:50 am

      Ahh thank you Mel, I see her as anything but cute today haha! I can’t get used to it, I never have been good with no sleep! H x

  6. Avatar February 22, 2016 / 9:56 pm

    I’m quite lucky this time round as Harry does sleep through the night most nights but I did 2 1/2 years of barely any sleep as Amelia would never sleep in her own bed, plus when she was younger she just kept waking up all the time. I just got used to it in the end and can now get by on little sleep if needed. Hope you get some more sleep soon! xx

    • Harriet February 23, 2016 / 10:49 am

      Ahhh thanks lovely! I CANNOT get used to it at all! I just can’t! Maybe I will at some point haha… H x

  7. Avatar February 21, 2016 / 4:53 pm

    I hope you get a bit more shut eye tonight as 3 hours is not fun! It’s torturous isn’t it! Both of mine sleep well now thankfully but it’s been a good few years of shocking sleep to get here! x

    • Harriet February 21, 2016 / 8:26 pm

      Thanks Steph! Me too! xx

  8. Avatar February 21, 2016 / 4:03 pm

    Sleep deprivation is incredibly tough and not something I have ever found easy. It is so hard to keep calm when your Toddler wakes you at 4am by screaming and when you go in all she’s done is knock her teddy out of bed.

    • Harriet February 21, 2016 / 8:27 pm

      I know! Toby will (not too often now) have a total melt down walking through the hall way waking his siblings, my husband, me and my mum because he has lost his teddy… which is tucked up still in his bed! Argh!

  9. Avatar February 21, 2016 / 1:44 pm

    I really hate the lack of sleep that comes with being a mum. Those nights when they are up and down and just the general the second they wake up you need to be up and alert rather than easing into the day!! to be fair Amelia sleeps fine at the moment but you never know with toddlers!!! X

    • Harriet February 21, 2016 / 8:29 pm

      Its so hard isn’t it Alice! I think we should be a bit more honest about it, motherhood isn’t all sweetness and light and I know we love those cuddles and they warm your heart when they take that last settling breath before a deep sleep kicks in, but geez you could scream when they keep waking you up! H 🙂

  10. Avatar February 21, 2016 / 1:30 pm

    I’m on 3 years of sleep deprivation. It is SO hard!! And yes it totally sucks.

    • Harriet February 21, 2016 / 8:30 pm

      Oh doesn’t it just! I’m right there with you – year 4, nearly 5, though I will concede that Roo has always been a great sleeper… it’s just that I went and got pregnant when he was only 9 months old!! x

  11. Avatar February 21, 2016 / 8:19 am

    I love this, it’s so true you don’t ever get used to the lack of sleep!! I’m lucky that A sleeps through but recently we’ve all been so ill and I’ve been reminded what it feels like to have a sleepless night or five. Wishing you lots of morning coffees xx

    • Harriet February 21, 2016 / 1:11 pm

      Thank you Polly! Breaking out the old cafetiere today! H x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.