Having children is a sure fire way to ensure that the duration and quality of sleep that you are able to get is severely limited. Sure people tell you how hard it will be, but until you’ve experienced it yourself it really is quite impossible to image the effects that lack of sleep can have on practically every aspect of your life.
At least when your sleepless nights are down to a new baby, you know the reason for it and your maternal or paternal instincts kick in and it all somehow feels worth it.
They might wake up once a night, usually just before we go to bed, but now it’s simply a matter of soothing them back to sleep for a few minutes.
I knew it was affecting me at the time and I felt awful pretty much every day, but it wasn’t until I started getting a good night’s sleep that the full magnitude of the situation hit me. I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I don’t quite know how I survived that period and managed to function as a normal human being.
When I look back at photographs of myself from that time it really is obvious how badly I was suffering. I rarely wore makeup, I had massive eye bags, my hair was an overgrown mess, I looked pale and quite sickly. I really struggled with time management and was often late to things, much to the annoyance of friends and family. When I finally did begin sleeping well again, it felt like all of a sudden a dense fog had lifted and I could see and think clearly again. I honestly felt like a phoenix rising up out of the ashes, as dramatic as that sounds. I felt like I was finally in the right mindset to sort out my diet and start eating healthily to lose the baby weight I had put on when I stopped breastfeeding.
A lack of good quality sleep can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, tiredness and lethargy, morning headaches, poor memory and difficulty focusing, anxiety and depression, chronic health problems such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, an increased risk of accidents, relationship problems, and a lack of sex drive. Keep your daytime routine the same even if you’re tired, and if you do feel like you need to catch up on sleep, it’s better to go to bed earlier and still get up at the same time. Allow time to wind down before bed by taking a bath, reading a book or listening to music.
We’ve recently discovered a phone app for kids called Moshi Twilight which plays enchanting and melodic sleep stories to help your kids fall asleep quickly.
We recently had an issue with our boiler which was leaking so we had to turn it off for a few days while we waited for new parts to arrive. The weather has been quite nice so it wasn’t cold but we realised that we need to turn our thermostat down at night in order to improve our sleep.
For further tips and advice on unlocking the secrets of a good night’s sleep, I highly recommend a book called Happiness by Design by Victoria Harrison.