When I was pregnant with River I was chatting with my chiropractor/homeopath who I have great respect for and who is a father of six, we were chatting about birth and babies and what to expect in parenthood and he uttered the words, "Ah sleep. It will never be the same again". It were as if he were half saying it to me and half saying it to himself like sleep was a distant memory or a place he'd once been to and may never return to again. That is very much how I feel when it comes to sleep, or should I say lack of it.
Our darling second boy Sol, on the third night of his life he slept from 10pm to 5.30am. I was quietly rejoicing thinking "I've got one of those babies, one that sleeps for more than two hours in a row!" I hear about those babies but didn't really believe it. That third night was just a tease. I haven't had an unbroken nights sleep for two and a half years. And by unbroken I mean waking 3-5 times a night. I'm not looking for sympathy, really I'm not, some say I only have myself to blame because I co-sleep with my children and am still breastfeeding Sol (though practically counting the days til he weans!) I am ridiculously thankful that River is such a solid sleeper 7.30pm-7.30am he is that kind of a guy. If they were both waking I don't know how I would cope.
Despite knowing a good nights sleep is invaluable for well-being I still choose to go to bed late most nights, like around 11pm-12am. I relish the quiet time as my family sleeps. Even waking up tired the next morning at around 6am is so worth having that time to myself. Of course all the research tells me its not worth sacrificing sleep and that lack of sleep is linked to all manner of illnesses ranging from heart disease to diabetes and obesity. For now I miss unbroken sleep I remember it as a rejuvenating place and look forward to going there again one day.
I like these fourteen tips for getting more sleep . I'm making an effort to have at least 2-3 early nights per week.
If you're really interested in sleep or have way too much time to fill in you can read The National Sleep Research Project 40 amazing facts about sleep . These stood out to me:
"A new baby typically results in 400-750 hours lost sleep for parents in the first year"
"In insomnia in bereavement taking sleeping pills can disrupt grieving"
"Experts say one of the most alluring sleep distractions is the 24-hour accessibility of the internet"
Oh and if you're wondering what the photo above has to do with sleep, in a way nothing and in a way everything. The photo captures a collection of things that bring me joy daily and when you are living in a state of constant sleep deprivation the small things really count, like the tea cup from a favorite mama friend, the miniature vase a gift from a friend who bought it back to Australia from her time overseas working in refugee camps, the divine sculpture created by a talented mama friend when I was pregnant with Sol, and the ceramic heart found in a share house I once lived in reminds me of the great women I shared the house with before we all became mamas.
To all the new mamas especially, may good sleep be yours.