Friday, 4 December 2015

How Kids Change Your Sleep Habits

When I was young I could sleep through anything.  I never heard my sister calling out or talking in her sleep (unless I wasn't asleep yet.)  Once we were camping and there was a thunderstorm so intense it shook the ground - everyone else woke up (we were sleeping in a tent) and I missed the whole thing,  That made me mad because I love thunderstorms - I did even when I was a kid!

Now I can't sleep through any tiny sound my children make.  I definitely think it's a biological parent thing.  I call it "Mom sleep" although I'm sure Dads suffer from this as well.  Although definitely not in my household...

I can still sleep through storms or other disturbances in the night, but I cannot sleep though noises my offspring make in the nighttime.  Especially when they are sick, as was the case this week.  I'm sure my "mom anxiety" is partly to blame for this lovely sleep disturbance.

Any noise (a cough, an excessive rustle of bedclothes, a door opening) is cause for me to be instantly wide awake.  Both my girls used to have no compunction about throwing up in bed, all over themselves and all the bedding, and even on their toys. So gross!

My eldest still doesn't wake up fully before the need to vomit overcomes her - I'm sure this is the cause of my "Mom sleep" from early on.  She used to cry until she threw up as a very small toddler - back in the controlled "cry it out" and "sleep training" days.  Although now that I think of it I co-slept with my first child, and I'm sure for the first year of her life I slept in a continual state of "Mom sleep" where I would close my eyes but never fall into a good sleep.  I was always so exhausted back then!

When my second child was born she was a pro sleeper.  No co-sleeping required.  As a result I had to move her out of my room (she was in a bassinett) very early on.  Her asleep rustling disturbed my sleep so much that I would lay awake listening to her breathing and moving slightly, waiting for her to wake up to nurse.  She slept so much longer in a stretch right from birth than my first did in her entire first 4 months of life.  Once I moved her to "her" room my sleep quality increased dramatically!

Between bouts of sick children I am revelling in my sleep.  There are no more diapers, training pants, or nighttime accidents.  There is rarely a need to get up in the night.  The girls will even get up and pee and then go back to bed without any outside assistance.  I'm loving it!

But what that really means is I'm way out of practice when I do have to get up in the night - especially multiple times, or for 3 or 4 nights in a row.  I actually thought I would fall asleep in the middle of my workday this week because my girls were sick and I was only getting about 4 hours of "real" sleep while everyone was quiet in the night.

Do you suffer from "Mom sleep"? (even if you're a dad!)  How do you deal with sick kids in the night?  Any tricks to train older kids to the cues of their body (so they don't barf everywhere!)?  Please share with me in the comments!!

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