Sleepless in Suburbia.

Tuesday September 22, 2015

Did you sleep well last night? What does sleeping 'well' mean to you? Either way, sleep is essential for both mental and physical wellbeing. Arguably also vice versa.

A regular bedtime routine helps. My 3 year old, for example, woke in the twilight hours recently demanding his usual bedtime story. Why? Because I put him straight to bed from the car (story-less) after he nodded off one evening. But such was the power of our routine his little brain was still holding out for one!

Recently, mild psychotic symptoms returned for me during one night. On reflection, a period of intense, broken sleep (my younger son is teething) was a key factor. Lack of self-care was another.

My sleep will be interrupted for the foreseeable future (my youngest can wake up to every 2 hours nightly). So how to cope?

I can't abandon the (breastfeeding) nightshift. I have to get up each night, wake up each day, operate heavy machinery and be a responsible adult for two demanding, yet delightful, boys. One thing I can focus on is my routine. Go to bed at similar times, read a few pages of my book etc. Whatever works for me. Whatever works for you?

Another focus? Become a better 'fall-back-to-sleeper' than ever before. I have to drop off quickly after my baby settles (although when I drop off, may not be when he does!). It is a disorienting, exhausting, overwhelming and yet beautiful time in my life (and should there ever be a Sleep Olympics, I'd be capable of at least Bronze now!).

Staying off my mobile phone in the twilight hours helps. Cutting sugary bedtime treats helps. Limiting caffeine in the day helps. Not engaging with negative thoughts, difficult but helpful. Focussing on breathing in the darkness. Feeling comfortable. Stilling myself. It's not easy. It's a real life skill I think. I hope it stays with my eldest. I hope it grows in my youngest.

What aids sleeping well for you? What small thing might you change?

A Moodscope user.

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