HSPs need more sleep.

hammock in sayulita, mexico.

I need my sleep. Really I do.

At least 7.5 hours per night, preferably 9 hours to function at my best. I had a friend in high school who just didn’t need much sleep to function well- she slept 6 hours a night at the most, and woke up perky and ready to go. Her mom frowned upon sleeping in late so she used to wake her up early on Saturdays to clean the whole house as a family. My mom knew that I needed to sleep in til noon on Saturdays to catch up from the school week. She wouldn’t even think of waking me up early, probably because I would be a hypersensitive grouch the rest of the day.

Turns out, most HSPs need more rest. In The Highly Sensitive Person, Dr. Elaine Aron says, “HSPs do worse than others working night shifts or mixed shifts, and they recover more slowly from jetlag.”thanks for your support!

This is definitely true for me. Why is this? Maybe it’s because daily life as an HSP is so stimulating for me, I need tons of sleep (and rest and downtime) to recuperate. Maybe it’s because I can’t rely on coffee to perk me up (HSPs are generally more sensitive to caffeine). Perhaps it’s because I just can’t deal with the sensation of tiredness- the heavy, achy, almost painful feeling of sleep deprivation (HSPs often feel sensations like tiredness, hunger, and pain more intensely.)

Every new mom expects to sacrifice some sleep, but my first child’s sleep issues caused me so much stress and despair. I do believe our sleep situation (both the feeling of failure I felt when she wouldn’t sleep, and my own sleep deprivation) contributed to my postpartum depression and anxiety. Thankfully, because both of us couldn’t tolerate sleep deprivation (highly sensitive children don’t wear sleep deprivation well), it forced me to come up with solutions to our sleep issues early on. I was determined to find a compassionate yet effective sleep method to help us all get the sleep we need. I’m so grateful that both my kids are great sleepers. Not perfect sleepers, but at least I can expect to get my full 8+ hours of sleep most nights. Just because I typed that, I bet both kids will wake up tonight.  Isn’t that how it works?  Never brag about your kids on the internet!  ha.

my soothing bed.
my soothing bed.

Comments

  1. Meredith Heffernan says

    I relate to so much of your blog, but this post speaks to me the most right now haha. I have a baby almost five weeks old and this has been the worst month of my life! I have been wondering how other HSP moms survive this stage, and how they can handle more than one lol. People kept threatening me with comments like “you’ll never sleep again,” and “it doesn’t get better,” and “you will have to learn to survive off of five hours of sleep.” Thankfully I have proof from another HSP mom that it’s not really true (her toddler sleeps 12 hours a night and 2 during the day). I am pretty sure I require 8-10 hours of sleep each night and can only do an occasional 6 or 7. This month I have been lucky to get 4, though recently 6 is more possible. It’s so hard when that need isn’t met because I struggle to appreciate my son and have empathy like I normally would. He has definitely been cuter since I started getting about 6 hours.

    • frazzled says

      You’re right- those types of comments never ever help! I always hated this one- “You think having a newborn is hard? Just wait until the 2’s (or 3’s or 4’s).” That made me want to cry every time- how invalidating, right? I am glad you’re getting a tad more sleep, and hope that it continues to get better for you as the months go by. You will definitely survive this super hard stage! You will grow and stretch in ways you’ve never imagined. But yes, it definitely does suck the life out of you. From one mom to another, you can do it!!!

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