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Not getting enough sleep? Me either! Tips for Parents Desperate for some Zzzzzzs

11 Nov 2014 – 07:21 PM EST

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There isn’t much out there that is more precious than a sleeping child, except for maybe, a sleeping parent! It’s a rare thing, indeed, but there are ways to fit more sleep into your hectic schedule. If you’re like me and any number of sleep deprived parents out there you might be suffering from something I like to call: Sleep Impairment. If lack of sleep has you putting the milk away in the oven and the diaper on the dog you might need to read these tops to find some desperately needed slumber.

Ask, Beg, Plead and Demand Help

You are not fit to work, parent and least of all drive your car when you are sleep deprived. Sleepless nights have impaired my decision making far more than anything else in my life. Do the community, and your family, a favor and ask someone to cover you while you take a nap. Seems a little embarrassing, doesn’t it? After all, does that make you a failure as a parent? Not at all. This makes you conscious of the dangers associated with lack of sleep. You do know sleep deprivation is a commonly used form of torture, right? What I want to know is, who told all the toddlers?

Say No, Not Now and Not Ever

Are you a people pleaser? Well, get over that business real quick. You are no good to your family if you spend the hours you should be resting helping a friend move, paint, shop for wallpaper or any number of things that don’t need your expertise. Does the school need someone to volunteer at the library? Too bad. Your family needs a fully functioning parent more. When your children are young and their bodies need little sleep you’ll need to cut your extra curriculars to a minimum. Stop feeling selfish for preferring a glass of wine and an early bedtime over a night out on the town. Your body is telling you what it needs. It’s time to listen.

Anything for Sleep (And I Mean Anything)

This one is crucial. Many new parents have a hard time with this one. If you are on your last leg and your child is demanding something so wholly inappropriate before bed that the parenting experts would roll over during their uninterrupted sleep, such as candy or screen time or even a new sibling, you just take the parenting loss in stride and give in. Yes, you heard me right. Give in to their demands. Surrender. Give Up. Let the tiny tyrant have the win and then worry about it after you’ve had enough sleep to keep you safe on the roads in the morning.

All kidding aside, this is hard. Some of the hardest stuff you’ve ever had to do. There is no amount of training that can prepare you for parenting with little sleep and even less patience. Force yourself to make some of the tough choices that will allow your body and mind the rest it needs to remember that while it’s the toughest job in the world it’s the greatest, too.