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Surviving a Night Dancing When You’re A Parent (or even when you’re not!)

Are you a parent to a little one but don’t ever want to give up your Salsa fix? Do you sometimes venture out for a dance but need to get up at the crack of dawn and somehow drag yourself through the day whilst your body screams “LET ME SLEEP!”? Perhaps you regret that extra Havana Club last night and wish that your little ‘bundle of delight’ would stop bouncing on the bed at 6am and just leave you alone to sleep? If so, then today’s post is just for you.

Whether it’s parenting a small child, going out dancing on a ‘school night’ or just the fact that you need to work next day- it’s likely that you will need a little help to make it through the next day. Here’s where we can help. We’ve collected together our best tips on how to survive a night dancing when you’re a parent (or even when you’re not).

Watch your alcohol intake

Don’t start rolling your eyes just yet- this old chestnut is a goodie. Alcohol dehydrates your body. This is mainly what makes you feel like pants the next day. The easy way to stop this happening is to a) Drink less and b) Rehydrate your body by drinking water. It’s very simple. Generally, it’s not a great idea to drink heavily and dance anyway. You’ll have less control over what your body is doing and you will just look stupid. When you’re rolling around with a hangover and a small child in the morning, don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Try not to stay out all night

When you’re having tons of fun and you’re on a roll with your dancing, it can be hard to drag yourself away, even when the DJ is winding down, the lights come on and everyone leaves. However, if you know that you have an early start ahead of you, it’s best to be prepared. Of course, you don’t have to stay out all night, or even until the last track. There’s nothing wrong with leaving a teeny bit earlier, and your body will thank you for it in the morning.

Midnight Feasting

Yum yum everyone loves a snack when they’ve been hard at it dancing all night. We deserve it, right? The ultimate post-salsa snack has to be something that’s high in protein, and I’ll tell you why. A nibble of protein aids both sleep quality and your body’s blood-sugar response. This means you will wake up in the morning feeling generally better and more refreshed than you would otherwise. It’s best to avoid heavy stuff: your body will just spend all night digesting your meal instead ofdoing it’s quality sleep thing.

Wind-Down Early

Whenever I come in from a night out Salsa dancing, I’m buzzing. Even if I’m exhausted inside, I’m still buzzing and it takes a long time to get to sleep. Maybe its the music, maybe it’s the dancing, or maybe its the people. It makes an incredible difference to how I feel the next day if I try to wind down as early as possible.  It’s easier said than done but it is definitely worth it. Sit quietly, read a little, take a bath if you can or do whatever it is that helps to relax. If this isn’t working, try looking up a relaxation recording on YouTube, pop in those headphones, and you will drift off within seconds.

Be careful with caffeine

Coffee is lovely. It’s delicious, it has the most wonderful rich aroma, and it gives you a nice little lift when you most need it. Although its the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about sleep deprivation, it’s something that you should drink with care when you are tired. Caffeine stresses the hormonal systems in the body and disrupts your body’s blood sugar control. This means that you will feel ‘up’ and energised for a period, but then you will also experience the ‘crash’ afterwards. Nasty stuff. Once coffee or even two is ok, but leave it at that.

Eat Regularly

It’s important to eat regularly when you are sleep deprived. Your body’s blood sugar regulation is less efficient when you are tired which is why tired people often reach for rich, fatty sugary snacks. The trick here is to eat little and often. Every two hours is perfect, if you can manage it. Same goes for sugar- you need to eat little and often to keep your blood sugar up.

tired dancer 2Have a gentle day and prioritise sleep

You need to be easy on yourself when you’re tired. Leave all of the stressful, busy things for another time when you are feeling more energetic. Instead aim for a calm, easy day and try to prioritise sleep over the next few days. As a parent, it seems to take me a few days to catch up, and I postpone any freelancing gigs for a later date.

Power Naps

As a parent, you might be lucky enough to have a child that still naps during the day. Make sure you take advantage of it! Go to sleep yourself, or if that is difficult, climb into bed with a good book and just rest. Even that will make all of the difference.

Childcare Tips

It’s a great idea to take advantage of any childcare you have on offer so you can catch up on your sleep.

If your child is with your partner, persuade them to go out for an exciting morning so that you can have a little more time to sleep. If your child is staying with their grandparents, arrange a slightly later pick-up time in the morning so you can sleep in.

If you don’t have this luxury or it really isn’t possible, try to arrange a day that won’t be too challenging for yourself or your child. Patience can be tricky to find when you’re sleep deprived…Consider doing something outside, like taking a trip to the park. The fresh air will really help you feel better. Also include calm activities like reading or simple play into your day so you can relax a little.

There is no need to give up on dancing Salsa once you have kids. It’s the perfect opportunity to reconnect to the person you used to be, claim a bit of ‘me’ time and have a little fun. With a little crafty planning, sleep deprivation needn’t be such a challenge. Besides, you should be used to it as a parent!

What are your top tips for surving salsa sleep deprivation? Share your tips in the comments below.

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Image © Mark Skipper

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