The Seven Stages Of Sleep Deprivation

I don’t know if it’s the colder, darker days or the fact that my boys have been tag teaming me with a pre 6am wake up every fricking day of the week, but I’ve been feeling a teeny tiny bit tired lately.

Anyway I don’t like to complain so Instead I thought I would share my best practice guide to getting through the day when you are severely sleep deprived – broken down into easy manageable stages.

Actually I guess it’s more of a big long whinge but whatever here we go…

1, Shock – It’s dark, you are toasty warm in bed dreaming of being a world class gymnast when suddenly there is a small child all up in your face demanding cheerios, milk and/or a particular toy you haven’t seen for months.

‘Go back to sleep’ you say. ‘It’s the middle of the night!’ you say. But when you reach for you phone to confirm the nonsense hour you see that it is actually morning. Or at least A version of morning, just not a particularly good one…



2, Stalling – AKA Cbeebies or milkshake, or a random combination of both because you have perfected the skill of flicking between their very specific programme preferences in your sleep to ensure minimal fuss. If that utter tripe Cloud Babies comes on it’s game over for everyone.

3, Denial – Who needs sleep anyway? You could forgo your plans for the day and stay at home rocking in a corner but that would be weak. Soft play here you come – YOU CAN DO THIS!!

4, Acceptance – YOU CAN’T DO THIS! Soft play should be outlawed. Other peoples kids should be outlawed. Your own children need to be made illegal.

5, Self Medication – Have a coffee, have a gin, maybe have a coffee with added gin? Then eat Fangtastics until you feel sick.

6, Oblivion – The coffee-gin-tangfastic cocktail is not good. Everything is now terrifying. Under no circumstances should you allow your eyes to view even 5 seconds of Kate and Mim-Mim. Her massive purple bunny is no friend of yours.

7, Anger – You are on the home run and start feeling a little triumphant until the inevitable 5.45pm phone call…


8, The Second Wind – Remember how all you’ve wanted to do all day was lie on the sofa and pass out? Well the kids are finally in bed and guess what?

Now you feel F*CKING AWESOME!

Why go to bed when you have a whole evening to do with whatever you like – your lounge is your lobster. You could sit on the sofa half watching TV and dicking about on your laptop or you could… well why think of other options when you could just sit about half watching TV and dicking about on your laptop?

7.47pm – Perusing facebook whilst looking up new cutlery baskets for the dishwasher.
8.23pm – Lasagne and Eastenders.
10.01pm – Ooh 30% off at Debenhams ends tonight…
11.17pm –  Browsing Right Move for a fantasy house.
11.59pm – A quick google of teeth whitening solutions then bed.

9, Insomnia – Must remember to pay the water bill! How real is Made in Chelsea? Why doesn’t your Sainbury’s local stock Heniz ravioli any more? Do you need another wee? Does everyone hate you? Tomorrow is bin day.

Fade and repeat.

(*And yes there may be 9 stages rather than 7 but I’m sleep deprived and can’t be expected to accurately count)


P.S. I have a new book OUT NOW! You can nab it on Amazon here or in your lovely local bookshop :)


93 thoughts on “The Seven Stages Of Sleep Deprivation

  1. Seychellesmama

    Yessss I love this!!!
    That “I’m going to be late” is the absolute worst, like ever…..actually no, not bothering to text or phone to avoid being called a bastard is even worse…..bastards!!!

      1. T

        Consider it a public service for people who are unsure :D
        If stuff like this genuinely puts you off having kids, you’re probably not ready to be a parent. Every time someone questions my disinterest in procreation I come back here, read a post and think to myself “Sweet. I’m still definitely sure that this isn’t for me, (and yay for the reminder of why I need to cut my friends with kids a lot of slack)”.

  2. Mummy to boyz

    We are here now too – L has decided 4.30 is morning with at least 2 wakes int he night before that. I left the front door wide open the other day when I was out all day – I was a bit shocked to see my laptop still in view when I returned lol

      1. Nat

        Me too.
        Keys in the car, parked at the mall? Yep.
        Park the car, put foot onto ground to get out, realise the car is still in drive and the handbrake isn’t on because it starts rolling.
        Backed out of a parking spot, saw a pram, thought “hey, they have the same pram as us”…drive off, go back, put said pram into car boot because it was our pram.
        For me, it was four under four (1 set of twins)…the sleep deprivation was chronic and torturous. But they’re pretty good kids, so I’ll keep them ;)

  3. Brighton Mama

    Haha so true. I like no. 1, 7 & 8! Spend my whole day thinking how tired I am and that I need more sleep and must go to bed early then as soon as baby is in bed wham – a desire to do loads of things and think of a million things too! ;)

  4. Olivia

    Agh!! I hear you. It’s so frustrating. I went to bed last night at 9 o’clock because I was so exhausted, then I woke up at one and was awake until half 4!! Sometimes it’s just easier when you accept the sleep deprivation :(

  5. Mummy Says

    Oh lovely you always get it spot on. I am actually spending way too much time on Right Move when I should be sleeping. The things that keep me awake? Wondering if my Right Move email alert is broken or set for the wrong radius. The absolute programming error made by Cbeebies? Granny friggin Murray. That’s game over for us all in our house.

  6. Jess Paterson

    Oh that accursed second wind! I drive my husband mad as I refuse to go to bed early and waste my precious Facebook faff time. I like nothing better than to do a bit of tidying and laundry then sit down at 10.30pm to start a blog post. At the moment, not only are our kids waking us up but so are…RATS! Seriously. Can I move in with you please?xxx

  7. Leila Boukarim

    This is great! Sounds like me! It’s crazy that once you do have the chance to go to sleep like you’ve been wanting to all day long, you don’t. It take me HOURS to fall asleep and then I curse myself in the middle-of-night-morning when my toddler start screaming. We need sleep training.

    (Have you been to the Stolen Sleep blog by Emily-Jane Clark? It’s hilarious!)

  8. Life at the Little Wood

    Haha, the second wind! I start to go all wide eyed and talk a bit manically come 8pm. Now I realise why! :) Brilliant as ever Katie! Xx

  9. Yummyblogger

    I can relate to SO much of this apart from my baby isn’t big enough to come and wake me up face -to-face, he just cries or wails from afar instead ;)
    Another stage could be envy… All those mummies whose babies sleep through grrrrrrrr! Xx

  10. Sheena

    Utterly brilliant. Though I hit Anger earlier (especially whilst traipsing downstairs carrying Small Child who is pointing at the PITCH BLACK sky outside going ‘ooooh! Dark! Too early!’. Why yes, yes, it really effing is, sweetheart). I also have an extra Chocolate stage (to replace the gin, I’m pregnant). And I’ve been looking up compact bread bins. God help me.

  11. Complicated Gorgeousness

    Is Made in Chelsea real? That is the type of shit I think of at 3am too – nutters! My bastard alarm clock is broken as well and keeps going off at midnight – I should throw it away but panic we will all sleep until midday…. Actually…. When do the bin men come? X

  12. SOPHIE Wearing

    SO TRUE! I am regularly found being awoken at 5am, looking at my phone thinking it’s 2am, time to get more sleep in …oh, no there isnt! Instead its the worst time because there’s no time to go back to sleep! !! Aghhh

  13. Jess @ mummyofboygirltwins

    Hilarious!!!!! It’s the 3pm time that hits me the most. I could nap right about then, but I’m not 20 months old so thats not happening. So instead I have a few coffees. Oh and I am glad its not just me that kicks off at Hubby when he is always late….!!! Jess xx

  14. Kerrie McGiveron

    Ha ha brilliant. I love your stick men, I wish I could do stick men like you. My kids are bonkers, they like to bounce on our heads in their version of morning. Alice just came downstairs 2 minutes ago and said “Mummy I have some good news and some bad news….. bad news is I’ve woke Rosie up” FFS. There was no good news either.
    They are bonkers, but they keep us on our toes, clearly. You are so right about the second wind too. Bloody sleep. :) x

  15. Katie @mummydaddyme

    Hahahaha so funny! Number 7 made me laugh because although I have sleeping children (sorry sorry sorry you really are going to hate me soon) they can be little sh*ts during the day occasionally and sometimes I just literally sit at the door waiting for Mr E to come home- if he is late I actually get such a RAGE. x

  16. Suzanne3ChildrenandIt

    You are an absolute genius! Hilarious. Love number 7, why do men even bother taunting us with there 6pms?! Wish my evening started at 7pm but I will concede, it doesn’t start til 9am on weekends so we can’t have it all ways!

  17. mamasVIB

    HA HA …love this! And, all so true. The messing around on laptop is totally what stopes me going to bed! I wake up tired and go to bed awake….
    Brilliant post! and so happy I am not the only one who gets woken up with a CHEERIOS request! I will think of you in the morning…and raise a glass to you! Night xx

  18. Dean of Little Steps

    Oh dear, just this morning T woke us up at 4am!!! To be fair, she did fall back asleep again. The thing is, you never really go back to sleep do you? You’re like half-asleep, but already your brain is working and I keep thinking. Shit! Must get up soon or she’ll be late! Can also relate to flicking through right move and yes, looking for my dream-house, instead of heading off to bed because I know I’ll be summoned/awakened soon and shouldn’t I be trying to get as much sleep as I can? Ah well …

  19. Amy Ransom

    Brilliant Katie. Yes to no. 7. HATE it when he does this! And how real is Made In Chelsea?! I have to wonder. I mean, Louise, why do you want the WHOLE world to know how drunk you get? OK, not the whole world maybe. But definitely Katie, Me, my friend, Kate and the other 7 over 30s who admit to still watching E4. Thanks for making me laugh again x

  20. Capture by Lucy

    Hilarious. I am with you on the ‘lively’ boys. I have our eldest currently cruising in at 1am approximately half an hour after I have gone to sleep, saying he needs to sleep with us because his bed isn’t cosy! So Rich decants to his bed leaving me with a wriggly one who likes to rub his cold feet up and down my legs all night to check I am still there!!! I hear you on being a teeny tiny bit tired. What can we do???? All inclusive Mums only week’s holiday to Dubai???? xxx

  21. Mummy's to do list

    Love it! Currently in the midst of the dreaded second wind. I blame this post for keeping me awake when I should be asleep! Who am I kidding?! About to switch off phone and lay awake worrying about how crap I’ll feel in morning!

  22. Amanda Collins

    This is perfect, spot on regarding self medication…espresso Martini’s are the perfect hit of caffeine and alcohol!

    Just missing one stage…the one where you feel sick and hungover you’re so shattered!

  23. Eline @ Pasta & Patchwork

    As usual, it’s like you’re in my head/house but funnier! All of this is so horrendously true – I may have given my husband the burnt bit of toast this morning as he dared to sleep through the 6AM request for a bottle AGAIN, AND that’s after having been home late last night…

  24. Luci -

    Luci, formerly of Mother.Wife.Me, now of – Oh boy did I need to read this post this morning… at almost 5 years old, I thought that M’s having us awake in the night was a thing of the past, but not this week… every single night, ok so it’s because she’s not very well, but that does nothing to soothe my furrowed brow at 2am, 4am… but this post has, you’ve actually managed to make me smile… right, just popping to the shop for some Fangtastics – going to dip them in my tea, I’m not hardcore enough for gin before lunchtime… xx

  25. Emma

    Oh man, SO THIS. Every DAY. If I get more than 3 hours of sleep I’m like freakin’ Wonderwoman. No amount of sleep makes me not want to kick Granny Murray in the fandango though.

  26. Louise

    So true! This is definitely my life – and that phone call to say the DH is going to be late home, grrrr! And the evenings when I suddenly get that second wind and end up staying up far too late…!

  27. Barb

    Just discovered you today! Although I have no children of my own, I do have lots of nieces and nephews – some of whom are now starting into the sleep-deprived years. I’ve recommended you to them.


  28. Hayley

    This is my life, it’s now 6.53 and I’ve been up for exactly 2 hours! Good news is I went to bed at 9.30pm with my 4 year old. Bad news, I had no alone time yesterday.
    Bad news, my other half works away Monday to Friday so only night he comes in at 6pm is Friday. Good news, Friday is today!!!

  29. Nicola

    You are me- we are one. My husband works away and my 7 year old (yes SEVEN- that’s 2555 days) STILL doesn’t sleep through. If I get another 7.30pm phone call from my darling other half, while all hell is breaking loose, and have to listen to him complaining about the lack of choice on hotel menus I will NOT be responsible for my actions.

  30. Steven McConnell

    That extra fifteen minute meeting might be the difference between you having to get up at 5.30 to get ready for work yourself, prior to getting the kids ready and out the door to the child minder. Then you’d have cause to complain. :-p

  31. Natalie

    Hahahaha, spot on! Browsing Right Move at silly o’clock for a fantasy house, that’s me all over too. Glad to know I’m not the only self destructive mother staying up every night doing rubbish just to get some ‘me time’.

  32. Aileen

    Sorry, have you installed some sort of surveillance system in my house? Because number 8 pretty much describes every night of my life! Why do we stay up so late???? WHY???

    Fab post, deserves all of the attention it’s getting hun.

  33. Suzanne

    I laughed at this so much last night and then I lived it…..not much sleep last night….went to soft play with a 2 yr old and 3 and a half year old…2 year old refused to nap after…tea time didn’t go well, bath time didn’t go well. other half home half an hour later than he promissed! red wine and Chinese tonight thank god

  34. Schoolrunstyle

    Just completely love this, you are spot on, it is my life and has been for the last seven years…and seriously where does that 8pm energy come from??..I really don’t know but flippin’ love it, clean, sort, surf, purchase and even sometimes fake tan, all the things that took me eight hours to do during the day! Oh and I love Made in Chelsea..!

  35. Californian Mum in London

    Great post, but my kids don’t wake up til 7am. Muwharrrr. No really, they sometimes wake up early and I don’t like it. And I don’t like that second wind I get every night at 9pm. Life would be easier if I could go to sleep at 10pm. xx

  36. Emma

    How did you get into my house? And into my head ? That’s the only way you could have written this with such accuracy. Was it you that are my Fangtastics?

  37. Helen Farr

    OMG! We’ve never met and this is me!

    I swear, the most ungodly thing about an early start is Granny bloody Murray out of Me Too. Her and her happy shit at that time of day. Bye bye honey pie, yeah right. It’s all wrong I tell you, wrong!!

  38. Ellie Bevan

    Even though my kids are older,i still identify with this – my 6 and 11 year olds seem to need next to no sleep, they can be awake still at 10.30pm when i leave for my nightshift and awake when i get back home just after 7am!! (no sneaking into bed on a weekend for a power nap for me)!!
    the worst thing is when i have managed a massive 10 hours sleep in total over 4 shifts, and hubby (who sleeps 11pm – 5am and even naps with me in the day if hes not working) has the cheek to moan about how ‘exhausted’ he is – how he is even alive i wonder!!

  39. Stephs Two Girls

    Oh, so been there. Have now got to number 9 for the first time as my girls are 9 and 7. Insomnia, what’s that all about?! x p.s. I *may* have shared this with the local mums FB group… :D

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  41. Dana

    Love this blog. Thank God I’m not alone in feeling this way. Maybe I’m not the nut job I thought I was. Thank you so much. ××

  42. Sarah

    I am currently deeply in stage 8. Child 1 was ill and keeping me awake coughing for a week, now 2 and 3 are ill, I am too and am utterly knackered, yet it is almost 11pm and I’m still up doing random stuff on the internet, not even doing anything useful :-/

  43. International Elf Service

    Oh my goodness – I remember the physical pain of:
    1. When the kids woke me in the night ( we had 3 x kids waking every 2 hours to feed and then puke everywhere and repeat) for absolute ever.
    2. Having to exist every second and minute of every day on the back of 3 hours broken sleep a night for toooooo long with 3 kids aged 4 and under.
    Thankfully things are MUCH better now.
    I shouldn’t have said that should I?

  44. Kate

    This is my life this past 2 and 3/4 years with two bad sleepers. Only difference is gin has been substituted for mild prescription sedatives

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  47. Alison Bayne

    That thing when you’re expecting your other half home say, for 5.30 and you think “not long now, I can do this, he’ll be back soon and I can get a break” and then he rings AT 5.30 to tell you he’s running late.


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  49. Joanna

    I’m off to the sleep clinic with my son today. I woke up at 3am of my own accord. Now said child is ‘lively’… Anyway I’ve passed you blog on as sage advice for my friend with an early waker. No alcohol midweek ain’t going well!

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  52. Donald Sweeting

    This post was one of the last things that UK MP Jo Cox shared before she was so brutally gunned down in the past few days. My post is a tribute to her bravery and courage as a mum to take on the establishment and still know these seven stages, speaks volumes about her and her parental commitment.

  53. Jess

    I think self-medication is the best… and it is also realistic. How are we supposed to get through the day without (fill in the blank) ??? Exactly, we don’t! Thank you for your wonderfully funny blog.

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  55. AP

    Kids are the best! When they’re not yours.
    It’s similar to watchng someone stupidly hurt them selves on social media , can be funny, compared to it being you, not funny.
    It’s 80% really hard work/drudgery/how does nature trick us into doing this and 10% not that annoying, 10% fun/pleasant.
    If you like your life as it is then dont fix it with kids.
    You’ve been warned.


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