Walking Mum Zombie


Miranda Watkins, Founder and Principal of Evolve Wellbeing and Psychologist, shares a guest blog with us on the importance of sleep for our mental health and how to manage and cope with sleep deprivation when having to look after our little ones.



The Importance of Sleep

If you have a newborn or a bub, sleep deprivation is pretty much to be expected. However, it can have significant impacts on our mental and physical health if it becomes protracted. There is a real risk that sleep deprivation can become insomnia and become a chronic issue. We can end up feeling like a walking mum zombie, with ‘baby brain’, and a sense of overwhelm. However, there are some things in our control and influence that can support us through this period, and also reduce the risk of sleep issues becoming protracted.  Sleep deprivation can also exacerbate symptoms of postpartum depression, which affects up to one in 5 women in Australia (panda.org.au).


Sleep is a fundamental need for human beings. Mum, you are a human too, and your energy is even more precious in that first year. Not only are you going through massive growth and change, on most levels, you are likely the primary carer of a little human(s). Little humans that are unlikely to sleep more than 4 hours at a stretch (if lucky!).

When we get good sleep, it supports our health as many important functions take place when we slumber, including physical recovery and repair, brain development and integration of new learning, processing emotion, memory, mood and metabolism. So, it makes sense if we are sleep deprived, all of the above will naturally be impacted.


6 Ways to Manage and Cope with Sleep Deprivation

Being a new parent requires navigating a number of sleep decisions and challenges. The following may assist in coping and managing with the sleep deprivation aspect of having newborns and young children.


  1. Practice good sleep hygiene – Try to wind down, turn off electronics, have a warm bath or soothing routine 1-2 hours before bed. You are likely to get the longest stretch of sleep in the first portion of the night, so don’t push yourself to stay up late (especially if tired, go to bed if you can when you are tired). Get an earlier night if possible.


  1. Create the best sleep environment for you and your baby– Is your bedroom a relaxing place, not too hot (sometimes cooler is better), comfortable and not too bright. The same goes for bub, as a good sleeping environment will also be sleep-conducive for sleeping longer. White noise machines, swaddling and a dark bedroom may also help.


  1. Accept help, and learn how to ask for help– We aren’t meant to be solo, so if you can create your support network to take turns, such as friends, family, partner, to allow you to have naps during the day, as well as shifts to allow you to have longer sleep at night.


  1. Take turns with your partner– At times, if it is more sleep conducive, sleep separately, from time to time, if you can get more a solid or restful sleep. This can even help strengthen the relationship.


  1. Refresh yourself in other ways– Schedule time for your own soothing or relaxing activities even if just 5 minutes. If you can’t nap or aren’t able to sleep when bub is, then ensure you practice some self care, whether it is breath work, meditation, short yoga, reading, or listening to music. This will also help to down regulate intense emotions and calm frazzled nervous systems. Feeling ‘guilt’ or trying to catch up on cleaning, or work can also exacerbate distress, so if possible, be gentle, realistic and use this time to take care of your energy and mental health.


  1. Stay mindful of signs of post partum depression– Check in with yourself regularly, as to how you are managing. Again, who looks after bub, mostly? If it is you, then WHO is looking out for you? If you can do this for yourself, with your supports, you will be the best version of yourself, (not the zombie!).


If you feel that you are really struggling, and notice increase in anxiety, low mood, feeling restless, sad a lot of the time, or having thoughts of harming self or bub, this is not just due to sleep deprivation. Make sure you see your GP and a health professional for more assessment and support.

If you feel you would benefit by speaking to one of our Psychologists, please reach out to Evolve Wellbeing. We have face to face and tele-health support available.

Miranda Watkins, Psychologist and founder of Evolve Wellbeing

A good GP is one of the best things we can do for our mental health.

The following are some good resources :





My name is Rosie Chiha- certified infant and child sleep coach, working with children from birth to the age of 6. I am also a mum to 5 beautiful children who I often describe as chaotic, charismatic and not so clear-cut! Follow me on my social media for simple sleep tips for your baby, toddler and older child. 

Book your FREE CONSULT today!! Let’s get YOU and your LITTLE ONE the sleep you both need and deserve.

Phone: +61426214822

Email: rosie@nurtureandblossom.com.au

Website: www.nurtureandblossom.com.au

Facebook: @nurture.blossom

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