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Stages of Sleep Deprivation (in GIFs)

Photograph by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez

This photo above is me at 4:30 in the morning, and I’ve had two hours of sleep. I snapped it at the airport waiting to board my flight home from LA to NYC. Three hours time difference may not seem like much, but in losing/gaining them, my body is feeling the time difference. And this month we have to “spring ahead” and move the clock one hour forward. Can this mama catch a break?

RELATED: 10 Signs You're Not Getting Enough Sleep

March 2-8 is Sleep Awareness Week and trust me, like most moms, I’m totally aware that I’m lacking sleep. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since my son, Norrin, was born. The last weeks of my pregnancy, I slept sitting up on the sofa. The first few months of motherhood, there were late night and early morning feedings and diaper changes. Norrin is now 9 years old; he has autism and ADHD, and still doesn’t sleep through the night. So when he wakes, I’m up too. Basically, I haven’t slept in nearly a decade. I’m tired.

In spite of my exhaustion, I try to tell myself that sleep is overrated. That’s the lie I tell myself to get through the phases of my sleep-deprived day, anyway—before I try to hit the sheets in a futile attempt to get some shuteye all over again.

1. Denial.

I don’t need sleep. As long as I have coffee, I’ll be fine.

2. Hyperactivity.

I’m not tired. I feel like I can stay up all day and get stuff done. (This usually kicks in after the third cup of coffee.)

3. Clarity.

Sometimes I get my best ideas when I’m exhausted. The thing is, I’m usually too tired to follow through, so I tell myself I should write the idea down before I forget. (I usually forget to write the idea down—and the idea.)

4. Whining.

As the caffeine wears off, the exhaustion sets in. I will make sure everyone knows.

5. Yawning. All the time.

You know when one person yawns, everyone else starts yawning? I’m usually the one that sets off the chain reaction.

6. Falling asleep in public.

I think my favorite place to sleep (aside from my own bed) is on a crowded train, snuggled between two full-figured individuals. It’s comforting.

7. The inability to concentrate.

My eyes may be open, but that doesn't mean I’m listening while you're talking.

8. Desperation.

This wine will help me go to sleep, right?

9. Brutal insomnia.

Some nights I force myself to go to bed early. You know, that whole “sleep when the baby sleeps” concept. And then I lie in bed for hours unable to fall asleep.

10. Acceptance.

I may never sleep again, but these quiet moments with my kid are all worth it... sometimes.

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