Food Friday: The Antidote for Sleep Deprivation


For those of you following along at home, you might recall that I have 3.5-year-old and a 1.5-year-old here. If you do the math and include the pregnancies, the teething, the ear infections, the things that go bump in the night and the internal springs that jolt them out of bed at unspeakably early hours of the morning, you’ll come to the same conclusion that I have today.

I’m tired.

It hasn’t really been so bad all this time. Will didn’t nap much, so he was a pretty good sleeper at night from a very early age. (Through the night, even, for his four-week birthday.) And Henry is his father’s son when it comes to sleep, so he actually can be counted on to nap AND go to sleep at night (early!) with a smile.

But here’s the thing no one ever told me about parenting.

You don’t become well rested just because your former newborn now sleeps through the night.

Even if my children are sleeping, which they do most nights, the precious hours left in the day after they land in bed are hard to sacrifice to sleep. Even when I know I should be sleeping, I’m either up too late or up too early trying to accomplish the things that make me happy, keep me fit, keep us fed, keep our house clean (my husband is laughing at that) or just keep me sane. And while you can keep that up for a while, I think my body, the one that has never needed much sleep, is starting to rebel after the years of sleep deprivation from 2003 to now.

I haven’t figured out the answer to more hours in a day so I can concede a few more of them to sleep. But I have discovered the antidote for a particularly brief night of sleep. It’s simple, but completely effective. It works much better than tea, or coffee or a coke, especially on days when my head aches and too much caffeine would just make me feel jittery and sick to my stomach on top of tired. It’s HOT CHOCOLATE, folks.

This gentle punch of sugar, protein, caffeine and fat works wonders, and has the magic element of chocolate, the thing that can elevate a mood and pysche that you thought was beyond repair, while waking you up and chasing that headache away.

(And yes, I know it is officially spring, but it is cold and rainy here today, and I am thoroughly enjoying my decadent, steamy mug of hot chocolate. And I think I might go to bed early tonight for once. Maybe.)

REAL Hot Chocolate or

Hank & Willie’s Antidote for Sleep Deprivation

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

4 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process

1 1/2 cup milk, divided (choose your fat percentage. When I’m doing the kind of damage control I need today, I mix Henry’s whole milk with my skim milk.)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sprinkle of ground cinnamon

Mix sugar, cocoa and 2 tablespoons cold milk in a mug until smooth. Heat the remaining milk in a small saucepan on the stovetop or in a glass measuring cup in the microwave until steaming hot but not boiling. Stir in the cocoa mixture and vanilla.
To froth the hot chocolate without a frother, whirl a whisk in it by rubbing your hands back and forth. Pour it back into the mug and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Sip and recover.
And try to get a good night’s sleep tonight!

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17 Responses to “Food Friday: The Antidote for Sleep Deprivation”

  1. Jess Says:

    Mmm. I used to make hot chocolate with water and then mix in half and half. Now I’m on Weight Watchers so I don’t do that anymore. But god was it god.

    Also, I am distressed about this lack of sleep thing you discuss. I do need a lot of sleep. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I’m not allowed to have it for, essentially, years on end.

  2. Amily Says:

    I LOVE hot chocolate! LOVE IT! The richer the better!

  3. B. Says:

    YUM, I actually had one today too…

  4. JenBun Says:

    I haven’t had enough sleep in many nights…

    … I think I will crawl into bed early tonight with a good book and the lights down low… and wake up and have that yummy cocoa! πŸ˜›

    Thanks, Anna! πŸ™‚

  5. ChiaLynn Says:

    Oooh, that sounds good.

    I actually came over to give you a link, being as it’s Food Friday and my sweet husband just sent it to me. Teeny, tiny pies. In a jar.

  6. christine Says:

    It is SNOWING in Seattle right now, so hot chocolate sounds perfect.

    As for sleep, I am the president of the Full-Night-of-Sleep-Fan-Club. I cannot function without at least 8 hours; and with kids just a few months younger than yours, respectively, and doing the solo parent thing while my husband is deployed, I am always exhausted.

    So at least once a week, I follow the kids to bed and get a good 9-10 hours in a row (God and my children willing). It makes such a huge difference in my productivity level. Now let’s see if I can keep it up when all my primetime TV shows start showing up again on my TiVo…

  7. renee Says:


    Mike says I need to read your blog more often and he is right. Your comments on sleep hit home today. A quick recap…Aidan awakes at 2 am with a cough, thankfully he falls back asleep quickly. Then the alarm goes off at 3 am for Mike to go to work…those damn horses:) Of course I control the alarm and do not fall back asleep immediately. Then I hear Erin at 3:50, ugh, Mike is gone and I have to get up. It takes a good hour to get her back down. At this point it is 4:55 am and the alarm goes off at 5 am…okay do I crawl back into bed for 5 minutes, plus 10 minutes with the snooze or jump in the shower and get lucky enough to read through the paper before everyone awakes. I went for the shower and paper…now it is just after 8 pm and this is the second time I have typed this as I did something wrong the first time, sleep is needed….to bed I go.

    Thanks for connecting Anna:)

  8. Christina Says:

    Bingo! You hit the nail on the head – just because your kid sleeps doesn’t mean you do! My girl’s been asleep for nearly 4 hours, yet I crave the alone time…thus, why I am up reading blog posts at quarter till midnight. I’ll curse myself for it in the morning – just like I do every morning.

    But the hot chocolate? Yeah, that could help make the exhaustion more bearable!

  9. carrievoris Says:

    Mmmmm…hot cocoa. I actually have some BEFORE bed at night when I want something sweet, and it doesn’t seem to have any effect on my sleep (maybe I am just THAT tired?). But I have a cupboard with 3 or 4 different kinds of cocoa. My hubby always brings me home new ones to try.

    Man, I think I’m going to go make some right now! πŸ™‚ Sweet dreams to all of you!

  10. libound Says:

    Mmmm, that looks so good. Anna, go to bed early tonight. I often wonder how you do it all, and always look beautiful too. I’m an 8 hour selfish hag myself. Which is why you are fabulous blogger (among other reasons). Please don’t desert us for sleep, just eat/drink more dessert! πŸ™‚

  11. katherine Says:

    and I keep thinking that this sleep thing is going to get better!! Thanks for shattering THAT dream. πŸ™‚ We are currently enduring an anti-nap tantrum from a 22 month old who has been vacationing for 4 days — and totally out of whack sleep wise.

    Off to make hot chocolate! thank you!

  12. Heidi Says:

    I know what you mean. Some days I can’t wait for everyone else to go to sleep so I can finally have some time to myself to do whatever I want, when I should be sleeping.

  13. laura Says:

    Thanks for the tip! I’d better stock up on the cocoa powder now since come October I’ll be starting the 18+ years of sleep deprivation when my 1st child is born!

  14. themommykelly Says:

    oooooh! THat sounds like a fantastic antidote to sleep deprivation. I will have to try it …. and soon!

  15. thelandofka Says:

    Oh yummy! I’m craving one of those right now.

    I hear you on the sleep deprivation, too. Unfortunately, right now those precious hours after the kids go to bed, I’m working. I need more hours in the day…where is that genie lamp when you need one??

  16. amy Flood Says:

    MMM! Thanks! works great for PMS too!

  17. Food Friday: Candlewax? « Hank & Willie Says:

    […] that I should be ashamed of encouraging, but will post anyway, but for today? Nothing. I took my own advice and had a hot chocolate this morning, and may need another this afternoon. In an […]

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