During the first 2,5 years of my first-born’s life I didn’t sleep more than 3 hours in a row. Five hours of sleep with “only” two interruptions was a good night. I’ve never been so tired exhausted in my life. There was one exception though, in January 2011 when the little one slept for 10 hours straight two nights in a row. The day after these blissful nights, 10 colleagues asked me “Have you had a hair cut? Did you bleach your teeth? No? You’ve done something – you look fantastic”. I hadn’t done anything apart from sleeping.
Sleep deprivation is uncool. It messes with your mind, body and soul. Your critical thinking, problem solving skills and memory decreases and you have a significantly higher risk of depression.
Your skin suffers as well. Lack of sleep raises your cortisol levels that lead to inflammatory reactions, increasing the risk for acne and redness. Even worse cortisol breaks down collagen, which leads to premature ageing. Lack of sleep also increases the oxidative stress in the cells and reduces your skin cells ability to regenerate. Not to mention the dark circles and puffiness under the eyes, which is caused by less effective lymph drainage.
So to avoid becoming old, dumb and depressed treat yourself to sleep. Prioritize sleep and make sure to have regular a sleeping pattern, i.e. go to sleep and wake up the same time every day (even weekends). Also, avoid tablets and smart phones before going to bed. Their light suppresses your melatonin, which will make it more difficult to fall asleep. Alcohol, coffee, tea and hot chocolate all ruin your sleep as well. Exercise early in the day or at least early evening, 5-7 pm, so your body has time to rewind. If you go the gym late your body be still full of endorphins and adrenaline at bedtime, which will keep you awake longer.
As a final note – if you have a newly born all bets are off, I my opinion. Sleep whenever you can. You’ve got enough on your plate.