Growing up, my mother always told me that I would sleep so much as a baby, that people thought something was wrong with me. I have always been an early bird, which also meant that I have always gone to bed early. As a teen, whenever I would have a sleepover at a friend’s house, I often got sick afterwards with a cough or cold because I wasn’t getting my typical 8-10 hours of sleep that I normally did.
Once I went away to college and began staying up late and NOT waking up early, I managed to develop all the different strains of mononucleosis that existed. To this day, I still feel like I have mono majority of the time, but it’s due to a lack of sleep. Between marrying a man who is narcoleptic from 10 AM until 4 PM, then nocturnal the other hours and a daughter that is always thrown off of a nap schedule, I have not slept more than 6 hours in three years. And most parents can relate. Gone are the days of staying up late and karaoke bars- this is the decade of restless nights and dirty diapers.
For my overall health, I began tracking my sleep at night with the app, Sleep Cycle. The app runs at night while your phone is charging on your nightstand, and uses the microphone to track movements and snoring. It also has a gentle alarm setting, which wakes you up using a combination of intervallic alarms and hue lighting. I live by this alarm. I immediately tell a difference in my body if I don’t use it. I highly recommend it for anyone- it’s well worth the $1.99 for the app!
As you can see, my sleep quality drastically decreased once our children were born, despite going to bed much earlier. Unfortunately, Derek and I have conflicting sleeping schedules, and our children have managed to pick up a mixture of both of our habits. Roslynn is a night owl (like Derek) and Greyson goes to sleep early, but has a difficult time staying asleep and likes to wake up early (totally me).
Some sleep advice I can give parents of kids any age and any ability, is:
- To keep things consistent- once you start with a schedule, stick to it.
- Eliminate stimuli at least one-hour to bedtime- choose to read books rather than watching TV, or listening to an audiobook rather than music.
- Add comfort- if your kiddo likes soft blankets like G does, give them a blanket to snuggle with and throw it in the dryer 10 minutes before bed, just to give it an extra touch of warmth.
- Limit lighting and sound in your child’s room- no harsh nightlights and invest in black-out curtains. You can buy them fairly cheap at Christmas Tree Shops in Lancaster on route 30, or on their online store. Go for the darker colors that block sound and light. You’ll be surprised at the change in your child’s sleep.
- Don’t be afraid to use essential oils before medication. Lavender diffused oil or even a small bit behind the ear can do magic.
- If nothing else works, consult with your pediatrician about a low-dose of melatonin (over the counter supplement) if your child still has trouble sleeping.
Recently, Greyson has been having a difficult time with sleep in general. Sometimes he has no problems falling asleep, but can’t stay asleep, or sometimes it’s difficulty falling asleep. It’s all very coincidental that the sleeping issues began when G started the tic behavior. This is something that we plan on addressing with the neurologist on Friday at Kennedy Krieger.
So, if you happen to see me at work, the store or out in a public place and I have my RBF (resting bitch face) on, please do not take it personally. I most likely have not had my 3-5 shots of espresso that I have every morning to function, and/or my children were throwing crib parties at 2 AM.
Procaffeinating: (n) the tendency not to start anything until you’ve had at least a cup of coffee.
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