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ParentsMarch 16, 2017

Six key benefits of extreme sleep deprivation inflicted by a tiny human or tiny humans


Mum Michelle Coursey knows you have to look on the bright side when you’re getting no sleep. She shares the benefits she’s found from getting a solid two hours a night.

So, you’re about to become a parent and all people seem to say to you these days is ‘get that sleep while you still can’ and ‘forget about ever sleeping in again for the next 43 years’. And it’s got you terrified.

Sleep – that magical, wondrous healing elixir – is about to be snatched away by a pair of tiny, adorable hands. Don’t freak out though. What no one has told you are the little known benefits of never sleeping for more than three hours at a time, and existing on the sweet dreamy memory fumes of that one night you slept from 10pm to 4am (then woke up in a sweaty panic of nightmarish proportions to wonder what the Hell happened to your baby).

  1. Sleep deprivation can result in some serious Benjamin Buttoning

Maybe it’s the fact I have been forced to constantly wear jeans and a loose singlet (for access to the all-important boobs at any time), or that most mornings I have to choose between getting to pee on my own or putting mascara on (solo pee wins every time FYI), but the end result is that I’ve been ID’ed more in the past six months than any other time in the past five years. Sure, I have bags under my eyes that are darker than the black soul of Scarface Claw, and my hair looks like some kind of performance art experiment, but I look like I could be under 25 according to the 19-year-old Pak’n’Save checkout girl, so fuck yeah. #winning

  1. You will be able to withstand any kind of interrogation from evil forces

Should you find yourself in the evil lair of an international villain who is seeking to discover all of New Zealand’s deepest darkest secrets (no one really likes L&P, the Lord of the Rings movies were definitely too long, our summer is less beach weather, more monsoon season), do not sweat it. Because once you have gone ten rounds with a screaming baby from 11pm to 2am, and can still get up in the morning and figure out how to get the baby carrier with one bazillion straps correctly tied and configured, forget breaking down under the bright lights of a torture chamber and spilling everything. You’ll outlast anyone. Life hack.

  1. Cash me at 3.37am

Not sure why every meme you see says ‘Cash me ousside’ or features Chris Warner’s head exploding over someone’s dick pic? You will never have to wonder again because you have So. Much. Time. to read the internet in the middle of the night. Especially when your delightful little cherub wakes up to practice those really essential rolling skills in the middle of the night for an hour and a half, and you’re dying inside with the thirst of a thousand suns for sleep, but they cry every time you close your eyes. Just give up and read the internet. All of it. How bow dah, you tiny insane human Energiser bunny.

  1. Check out that sunrise, Insta bitches

OK, so you are definitely not in a state to be ‘gramming your kale smoothie resting on your muscular, lycra-clad tights at an early morning park workout session. Or a slightly off-centre Valencia-filter snap of you and your bestie chugging espresso martinis at the hottest nightclub (#nightofmylife #paaaaarty). However, when you stumble out of the front gate at 4.45am – in your pyjama pants and jandals with a small pudgy dictator strapped to your front – prepared to walk to Cape Reinga and back if it will just make her sleep another hour, you will get some amazing shots of the sunrise/moody suburban streets thick with fog/old men walking their dogs in short shorts to make all your followers jealous of the thrilling life you lead. #nofilter

  1. This is how we live now. Adapt or die.

No one likes boring chores like tidying the house, preparing nutritious meals, wearing clean clothes, or paying bills in a timely manner, right? Well, my friends, sleep deprivation takes care of all that for you with the ultimate excuse to never do any of it again. Oh, you think I should have vacuumed the floor which is covered in three-day old raisins and dead flies? I had exactly 95 minutes of sleep last night and even that was with tiny feet kicking me in the thigh so hard I’m bruised. Walk around the corpses. You wanted dinner ready before 10pm? I lost count of the number of times I got up to “resettle” and ended up sleeping in a small pool of milky vomit. Get the takeaway brochures out, fool.

  1. Naps are now COMPULSORY

Yes, you read that right. It’s now actually compulsory to snuggle on into the duvet, and nap to your heart’s content* (*actually you can nap as long as your baby allows you to before their eyes open and they start screeching like a banshee, which is probably about 15 minutes after you finally manage to get to sleep). But seriously, people tell you to nap all the time, and if you open the door at 3.30pm with bedhead and your daggy trackies on you may even be praised for your sensible approach to life. And to be honest, when you eventually see that peaceful little face finally succumb to the sleep gods, and you get to close your eyes, everything suddenly feels pretty great. Heavenly even. Screw the eye bags and the inability to multiply any number higher than three. Sleep is for the weak anyway, right?

Michelle Coursey is a full-time mum to her five-month-old daughter, and a some-time writer, editor and social media manager.

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