Sleep. It’s something we all need to live and function at our best. Our bodies need us to sleep to refresh, repair and renew. Sleep is essential for good health and lack of sleep can affect us in so many ways. Too little sleep can cause moodiness and low concentration, poor memory and poor coordination. It can decrease our energy and alter the way we cope with difficult situations.
It is said that sleep deprivation is a form of torture and I could not agree more. When you are sleep deprived your whole outlook on life can change.
Before I had my twins, I was someone who needed at least seven to eight hours sleep a night or I didn’t function. I remember dreading having to get up at 7am to go to work. I used to complain if I couldn’t get to sleep and only had something like six hours sleep. I thought I was tired then. Turns out I didn’t know what tired was!
Over the last two and a half years there have been many sleepless nights. There have been tears and tantrums, both from the children and the adults.
We have been through it all. Sickness, teething, silent reflux, separation anxiety and growth milestones. We have tried anything and everything for all the different sleep problems we have encountered. Tresillian Live chat on Facebook became my best friend for a while there. So too did my wonderful support group of mummy friends.
I have flashbacks of using bouncers and swings, baby carriers and prams. I remember sitting on the floor between the two cots trying to rock them both or tag teaming it with my husband between babies when we could take no more. There were nights I would lay in bed trying to rock the single pram with my foot when I couldn’t stand up any longer.
We have tried no noise, making noise and white noise. We once hung sheets and blankets up over the blinds in case it was the light causing early waking. We moved bedtimes later, then tried an earlier bedtime. There have been long walks in the pram and long drives in the car.
I honestly believe that when we haven’t been dealing with sickness or teething or some other definite reason, that my two are pretty good sleepers compared to some. And I really do put that down to having a routine that they are used to and sleep cues helping them to realise that it is now rest time but oh my how the bad times can wear you down.
The worst was when you finally got one child back to sleep and the other would wake crying. Then eventually they would wake the first one back up again. There were nights my hubby would take one screaming baby for a midnight drive in the car just to get them to sleep and I would stay trying to get the other one settled.
You think once the newborn stage is over sleep will come… well it does in stages but there will always be some new challenge to overcome. Soon we will undertake the move from cots to toddler beds, something I am dreading. Our latest sleep deprivation phase was a few weeks ago when I had about a week and a half of sleepless nights. Some of those nights I managed 2-3 hours of broken sleep between rocking my sick little boy in the chair while he slept on my chest or by lying on the floor next to his cot holding his hand, thanks to a terrible bout of tonsillitis.
Sleep is definitely something we all take for granted. It is only when the opportunity to sleep is taken away from you that you realise how important it is.
What are some of the lengths you have gone to over the life span of your children to get some sleep?
Sleep has been the topic of conversation around here lately with Kaz and I taking part in The Bepanthen Mummy Diaries campaign. You can read our post about that here and watch below.