Sleep. Since I fell pregnant with my son, it has been the topic of much hope, anguish, disappointment and elation in this house. I didn’t get any whilst pregnant- a combination of being an NQT and mercilessly scrutinised at work each and every day; a stupidly hot house in the summer; a buzzing security light outside my bedroom window; ridiculously loud birds and a terribly over-active imagination made sure of that. It all culminated in insomnia for a while.
Since my son was born, many of you know that I was left traumatised and anxious and unable to sleep at all. Any sleep I did get in the early days was interrupted nightly with either a series of distressing flashbacks and nightmares or an equally as distressing screaming baby. As he got older and the pain of his birth lessened, the insomnia stuck around. My son’s bad sleeping habits also stuck around. We would have nights where we were up every two hours and starting our days at 5.30 am. My mood during these periods are always quite low; I don’t repsond well to lack of sleep. It makes me miserable, achey and confused. After a while I start to feel the anxiety creeping back and its like a vicious circle. Sometimes I actually feel as though I would rather run away than carry on like a zombie. I posted here about how I struggle to function in my motherly duties. I also posted here about what it’s like when the baby starts to sleep a little better.
I always maintained that lack of sleep could kill a person and now it seems I’m right. According to The Guardian, sleep deprivation is REALLY bad for your health. Leo Hickman reports on the findings that lack of sleep can actually lead to major health problems and quotes Professor Francesco Cappuccio:
“If you sleep less than six hours a night and have disturbed sleep you stand a 48% greater chance of developing or dying from heart disease and a 15% greater chance of developing or dying from a stroke,”
Wow. No doubt these researchers have kids.
In light of these findings, I’m extremely happy to report that my baby has been sleeping through more often than not just lately. In fact, since the night where we went to A&E (read that post here), the baby has taken to sleeping like a baby. AT LAST. And so my mood is lifting and things do not seem so bad anymore. I had a lovely DM today from a fellow parent tweeter, enquiring over my lack of sleep and corresponding anxiety. Thanks, @Yellowhat1981, your concern has truly touched me.
If your baby sleeps through (as the big one did), please spare a thought for those of us whose babies don’t. It hurts, in more ways than one. But listen up- when they DO sleep, it feels so good!