Jen: Conquering Sleep Deprivation

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A normal night at our home includes a relatively early bedtime for our three kids. Once we do goodnight kisses and turn out the lights, James, Luke and Ben are pretty good about staying in bed and sleeping through the night. Which is great, because Craig and I like to unwind together in the evenings. We watch movies, read books and just hang out. It isn’t just nice, it’s kind of essential in our crazy life. It keeps us feeling relaxed and connected, and we NEED that.

Except that the last week or so has been massively chaotic here. And those quiet nights have been anything but. All three kids have had occasion to be out of bed multiple times during the night. I’m exhausted!

First, there’s Ben. He’s a baby still, so I suppose it isn’t that far out of the ordinary that he’ll wake up at night. He’s definitely getting some new teeth, and they seem to hurt. Caring for him in brief spells through the night isn’t fun, but it is doable.

Then there’s Luke. Luke doesn’t even LIKE to sleep with us. He’s one of those kids who slept through the night at six weeks and is actually kept awake by our presence! Still, one night this week, he found his way through the hallways and ended up climbing in with us. I think he actually fell off his bed, lost his blankets in the process and was cold. Regardless, once Luke gets in bed (and starts hogging the covers and insisting that we “move” so he can have some room), rest starts getting scarce.

Finally, there’s James. He’s 9 ½ years old and he knows full well that when kids get out of bed, I turn into the mommy monster. Why, then, is he out of bed? Well, over the last week or so, it has been a number of things.

One night he came in really out of it, eyes bloodshot, and we discovered that some time during the night his pump site had disconnected and his blood sugar was high. While he soon settled back into bed, his rest was fitful, and he was clearly uncomfortable. And there was no way I was going to be able to rest. Thankfully, after he received a correction dose of insulin, his blood sugar started to drop. Clearly, this was a straightforward case of insulin interruption, but I just didn’t feel like I could rest until he was safely in range, and that took a couple of hours! This actually happened not once, but TWICE.

He’s also experienced low blood sugar, been too excited to sleep, had a nightmare and been too HOT (we think he needs to coordinate better with Luke on that one!).

Add together all these incidents, all these kids, and you have one tired mama! While we normally sleep well and are rested, sometimes it’s just really hard. It is -- and that needs to be said.

Here’s how we’re going to handle getting me through this exhaustion.

First, I’m going to be really kind to myself. When I’m this tired, I don’t always get as much done around the house and with the kids as I do when I’m totally rested and feeling great. I’m embracing that today and maybe for the rest of the week.

Second, during Baby Ben’s nap, I’m going to try to catch a few winks. I don’t sleep very deeply during the day, but every little bit helps.

Finally, I’m going to bed when the kids go down tonight. While I’ll miss my grownup socializing and unwinding, I need sleep more!

Just another example of tweaking little things to make diabetes work for our family. It isn’t my favorite thing, to give up sleep or quiet evenings, but I see this as temporary, and thankfully it isn’t all that often that ALL these things happen during the same week.

 

About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our three boys. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I’m thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law Kim and her daughter Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.

 

Related topics:
Jen: The Split Shift
People in the Know: Nighttime Blood Sugar Checks
Jen: Sharing a Room With Siblings

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