Friday, March 18, 2011

In praise of sleep

Most people take sleep for granted. Some fortunate souls fall asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow. Others need carefully orchestrated wind-down time to get to the point where sleep is achievable. British ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was famous for sleeping for a mere four hours each night with no apparent ill-effects... sadly I can't say I share her talent. 

Most parents know exactly what it means to feel properly exhausted, the kind of exhaustion that comes from a multitude of broken nights, that turns you into a zombie and dulls your thought processes, that strips away the happy shine on things, that blends your brain to mush and adds a good (bad) five years on to your crow's feet.

Having not slept for more than a four-hour stretch for a few weeks now (and that's on a very good night), I'm desperate for the restorative bliss of an 8-hour sleep coma. But even when the baby sleeps through, even when the Small(er) One doesn't have a nightmare and creeps in beside me for comfort, I find myself stretched out in bed... watching the shadows, mind racing, trying to catch the tail of a sleep that doesn't come.

Apart from the vague embarrassment caused by the uttering of sentences which make no sense at all, sudden tearful moments (for no good reason) are common, unreasonableness has been known to occur and forgetfulness is at an all-time high. I’m a world class klutz at the best of times but recent episodes of laughable clumsiness have trumped all previous incidents; even Alpha, who's witnessed my many incidents of dorkiness over the years, was amazed when I recently managed to shut a cupboard door on my head

The hardest thing to live with though is the grumpiness. As the Small(er) One announced on the way home today, I am currently “the meanest mummy in the whole wide world.” Sorry, baby. So sorry.

Anyone got any fool-proof sleep tips? 


Anonymous said...

Scientists and other boffins believe that being nicer to your husband creates a more Zen-like state of consciousness which promotes better sleep. ;-)

YEM said...

ha ha thanks Alpha, I'll keep that in mind, would love to see the paper that proves this groundbreaking discovery :-)

Plastic paddy said...

You can't be the meanest mummy cos that's me! I find panadol night usually does the trick but then you need at least 8 hours so have Alpha on standby and sleep in spare room at least once a week. X

Anonymous said...

It is best simply to surrender to what Nature intended: sleep with the children. Not only will the Little Ones feel so comforted that they will sleep all night with no more than the occasional turnover but it will also keep Alpha from tampering with you and possibly spawning a Fourth! A very large bed is important and you will have to sleep right in the middle of them. Unless you are drunk or drugged, there's no chance of smothering them.

YEM said...

Thanks PP, mixed with a v large glass of wine that might well do the trick!

Anon, thank you for the advice but tried that with Firstborn (who had my insomniac tendencies as a baby- thankfully she now sleeps like a log) and it nearly killed me and my marriage. The Belly is def staying in her cot except for the usual early morning cuddle... And may I stress, NO WAY WILL THERE BE A FOURTH! Three is enough for any woman (except for Brangelina, obv, but then again they can afford a tribe of 24/7 nannies which I imagine goes a long way towards easing the pain). :-)

Siera said...

Sounds like we have similar mind-won't-shut-the-f*ck-up problems. If you're still having troubles, you might try Xanax. It's my preferred sleep aide. Makes it easy for me to get to sleep, but not drowsy or hallucinatory if I have to stay up for some reason (like Ambien). Sometimes it's a little harder to get up in the morning, but I don't feel groggy at all once I am up and about. A lot of folks use antihistamines, but those make me feel dull the next day.