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How to Deal with Sleep Deprivation

Entertain yourself. “My son had his days and nights mixed up in the beginning, which meant I was up with him through most of the night watching infomercials. I started recording movies during the day to watch at night—fun and frivolous stuff that kept me entertained but that I had no problem turning off if baby decided to sleep. Nothing like a silly romantic comedy to keep you from going bonkers at three in the morning.”

—Lynne McMillen, mom of one, Bothell, Washington

Work it out. “I kept up my running after my second daughter was born. As crazy as it sounds, exercise can actually make you feel more energized and when you do get to sleep, it's better quality. Even just a brisk morning walk helps!”

—Lori Rosner, mom of two, Ewa Beach, Hawaii

If you don’t feel it, fake it. “I take time to put on some makeup. It just makes you feel so much better and put-together, and it eliminates that sinking sensation of glancing in the mirror and being horrified by a pale, ghastly reflection!”

—Mindy Airhart, mom of two, New Orleans, Louisiana

Give yourself nap time. "The day I tried to brush my teeth with hemorrhoid cream was my wake-up call that my preemie twins had transformed me into Zombie Mom. I’d been zipping about the house like Martha Stewart after four espressos while the girls napped, doing laundry, mopping, and washing bottles. I began catching a one-hour catnap once or twice a day and it did wonders for me. So what if the laundry didn’t get done right away!”

—Erin Best Margolin, mom of two, Fairway, Kansas

Wear ’em out. “Both me and my husband have fallen asleep on the floor waiting for our kids to go to bed. So now, if our baby’s genuinely awake in the middle of the night, I feed her, walk around or rock her, then try to put her down. Works much better than just hoping she’ll fall back asleep.”

—Jennifer Igney, mom of two, Goshen, Indiana

Tag team. "My daughter didn’t sleep through the night until she was well over a year old. Like many couples, my husband and I would take turns doing late-night feedings, so we both got longer stretches of sleep. You’ve gotta be in this together!”

—Alanna Windham, mom of one, Brookhaven, Mississippi

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Tips for Coping With Long Term Sleep Deprivation

Sleeping baby on white blanket

Bonding at Bedtime

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