March 9, 2012

Take the Power: The Secret to Getting Sleep with a Newborn

I'd like to dedicate today's post to the birthday girl, my beautiful mom. Mother of four and Nana of seven, she's earned an honorary PhD in running a home, raising good people, and throwing great parties, to say the least. I'm forever thankful for her love, support, advice, and giggles.

Sleep is overrated. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself until I start getting more of it. 

I’ve always had a hard time understanding (believing) people who say they sleep four to six hours a night and are totally fine with that. 

It doesn’t make sense to me. 

Truly, one of my biggest fears about becoming a mom was the inevitable lack of sleep. I remember asking my sister April one time, “What do you do if you’re just too tired and HAVE to fall asleep?!” I’d been sitting on her couch watching her snuggle my precious niece Leah, who was just a few months old at the time. 

Concerned for the safety of my future children, she replied, “Ummm…you just DON’T!” Great. Maybe I just wasn’t built for motherhood. How could I possibly survive on less than eight hours of continuous sleep each night?

You see, I thought I needed sleep to thrive. Lots of it. All in a row.

In the weeks following Bryson’s birth, my mom taught me otherwise. While we were sitting on my living room couch one day, she seemed to doze off while sitting straight up, for what had to be 15 seconds or less. 

Startled, she woke herself up and sighed, “Well! That was refreshing!” 

“MOM,” I said. “That was literally 15 seconds. Are you serious?” I really thought she was joking. That was the fastest micro-sleep cycle I’d ever witnessed.

No, this wasn't it. But it was a funny reenactment.
“Nikki, you don’t ask how long a power nap is. You just take the power.

This is one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned. (Add it to the never-ending list of gems this amazing woman has taught me over the years…) 

It became our catchphrase. I had spent the first few weeks of motherhood looking to the clock for everything – feeding times, diaper times, sleep times, wake times. 

What I learned that day was that when it comes to my sleep, it doesn’t matter. I will sleep when I can, and that’s all I can do. There’s no need to dwell on whether my own sleep lasted two hours, fifteen minutes, or two hours that felt like fifteen minutes.

As it turns out, I can actually function surprisingly well on what the old me would consider a series of power naps. That doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to that day when I get a full eight hours again (when I’m 80, perhaps?!), but still. 

Thanks to my mom, I’ve learned to make the best of my situation.

So to those of you currently suffering from sleep deprivation, for whatever reason: I feel you. I know where you’re coming from. We will get a full night’s rest again someday. 

In the meantime...


P.S.  This post is not related to my business, which is about helping bright entrepreneurs attract their dream clients, one brilliant message at a time. HOWEV - if you like my writing and want help with your own, sign up for free tips at!

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