As my children have got older, we've more or less reclaimed our evenings and the small hours of the night now serve only for sound sleep. But not too long ago it was a very different story and the memories of those long, dark soul destroying nights etched their name in my very being forever!
Like many other families, my parenting journey has been a challenging one so far. No matter how hard life gets though, there have always been moments of wonderfulness, amid even the toughest of days.
The average person wakes naturally at 8-9am and goes to sleep at midnight to 1am (more like holiday sleep). Adjust these timings for your chronotype ('lark' or 'owl') using the MCTQ short questionnaire as it will tell you more about your sleep.
Boasting about how much we can do on how little sleep is nothing new. But along with increasing stress, tighter deadlines and extended hours, competitive sleep deprivation has now become a worrying and established feature of the 21st century workplace.
You see Santa, I seem to have lost the ability to sleep soundly. One which I had spent years practicing. I used to be so good at it. Sleeping through the loudest of bangs whereas now? Now the slightest sniff out of place jolts me from my slumber.
It's estimated that we'll all spend about 26 years of our lives asleep, but did you get enough shut-eye last night? No? It might not seem like a big problem but this behavior has a major impact on our health.
When talking about sleep deprivation, we're not talking about days staying awake. It's about the impact of something as simple as a long day. If you were to get up at 6am, by the time midnight comes round on the same day your reaction speed will have slowed, both short and long term memory will be affected.
On the eight day of Christmas my true love gave to me, eight tantrums throwing, seven gins a-pouring, six nits a-laying, five nappy pins, four swear words, three felt tip pens, two snotty kids and a child screaming for a wee.
Symptoms: Texting while walking, crossing the road or... peeing. Pressing the close doors button in lifts. Rushing. Everywhere. Even to the printer. Throwing a strop when you just miss a tube. Feelings of anxiety, guilt, failure or exhaustion. Saying thinks like, "I'm just being efficient," "but I love being busy" or "I'm just trying to keep my head above water"
I confess, I'm a complete skincare addict - but only to one brand and with very good reason! I'm also a supplement and superfood addict. I get very excited about the possibilities of how they'll help to support good health, skin health and 'getting the glow'. I doubt I will ever stop getting excited at any of these things.
Sometimes babies wake, and it's not because they "need" something. They're just awake, that's all. It might be frustrating to have fed them, changed them, soothed them and find that they still won't settle, but sometimes they just wake up- it's as simple and as difficult as that.
My own children are pretty close in age and in rooms right next to each other. If daddy is working late, I often do bedtime by myself and so have developed our own 'natural flow' that works well for us as a family. Hopefully, with my tips, you'll soon find your sleep routine is flowing more smoothly for your young family too!
Six months passed and the cot was reassembled in my son's bedroom. I was ready to stop breast feeding at and wanted to move onto a night bottle. I thought it was going to be perfect. I was wrong.
Very few of us make enough time to sleep in our lives- even if we can. Almost all of us are sleep deprived. Of course some of us don't have any choice: people in health and emergency services, long-haul airline pilots, and families with young babies (especially if they sleep as little my son Toby did!).
Most of us can sleep soundly in the knowledge that we're highly unlikely to catch disease from our pets. We're more likely to get woken up in the wee small hours or scratched, either accidentally or purposefully, if we choose to share our bed with a feline. Dogs, on the other hand, are usually well behaved and will love to snuggle up to their human pack member...
Churchill and JFK probably didn't know much about sleep science; they just did what they knew worked for them. We're not all national leaders, so we might face resistance from colleagues. The solution: work for an enlightened employer - or for yourself - then find for yourself the benefits of an afternoon nap.