It’s one thing to learn how to get a baby to sleep, but what about Mum? Renee Wilson battles ‘mummy insomnia’, while her family sleeps peacefully nearby.
It is 10.45pm. I am exhausted to the point of feeling sick. I know I should go to bed and yet I can’t. I just can’t switch off.
After trawling mindlessly through Facebook, I decide enough is enough and drag myself off to bed. As I pull down the sheets, I work out how many hours of sleep I will get before I wake. Five and a half hours. I would have liked six, but five and a half is not bad. Five and a half will do.
It seems as though my head has just touched the pillow when I wake up. I look toward the window, begging to see sunlight from behind the blinds, but all I see is the glow of the moon gloating at me. I reach for my phone, praying sunrise is imminent. It’s not. It is 2am and I am wide awake. Wide awake with loads of energy. Dave is sleeping soundly beside me. The kids aren’t making a peep. The house is quiet as a mouse and here I am, like the Engergizer Bunny ready to go.
It seems that somewhere in the last three and a half years, I have forgotten how to sleep. I used to be a brilliant sleeper. I would love and need my eight hours. Now I can manage with five or six.
It seems that since becoming a mum I have conditioned myself to function on much less sleep than I should be getting.
I guess the conditioning started when I was pregnant with my first. I had ‘morning’ sickness throughout the night, I could never get comfortable in bed and would be up and down like a yo-yo to the toilet. When our first little doll arrived, the sleepless nights were a major shock to the system. I would walk around like a zombie. When our second came along a couple of years later, the conditioning continued.
The crazy thing is that these days I’m not losing sleep because of the kids. It’s because of me.
Switching off from a busy day is definitely an issue, but it’s also a case of not wanting to go to bed when everyone else does. I’d much rather stay up to blog, and read, and watch TV. Basically to have some much needed ‘me’ time.
Meanwhile when I do go to sleep, I am always half listening out for the kids. Even though Smiley is 16-months-old and just down the hall from us, I have the monitor virtually glued to my ear.
I try not to get frustrated when I wake in the wee hours of the morning. It happens so regularly there is no point. I usually start planning what I need to do for the day. Sometimes I jot down thoughts in my notebook, other times I get out of bed and tap away on the computer. It only lasts about half an hour until my lids are heavy enough to guarantee me drifting off as soon as I lay my weary body down.
When my alarm goes off I usually wake with a headache and feel seedy. I never roll back over and hit snooze though. I am eager to make the most of the quiet time, while the rest of the house sleeps.
While I can function on such little sleep at the moment, I know I can’t keep this up forever. It is time to begin reconditioning myself starting off with an earlier bedtime. So, if you see me on Facebook past 10pm tell me to do what my children are doing and go the [email protected] to sleep!