17 articles Tag Sleep

Getting #ASoundSleep with MattressNextDay

Ever since I was little, I’ve always preferred falling asleep with noise in the background, be it the telly playing or music, and Husband is the same. Over the years I’ve developed a preference for certain TV shows to watch in bed and fall asleep to and some of them have such a soporific effect on me now that I think watching them at ANY time of day would help me to drift off! MattressNextDay is currently running their #ASoundSleep campaign, asking people to share their aural bedtime preferences and I thought I’d give you a little run-down of my favourite shows to watch (or, mostly listen to!) in bed:

The Golden Girls

My current favourite bedtime viewing is the complete boxset of The Golden Girls. I absolutely ADORE this show and never fail to be impressed by the topics they tackled way back in the Eighties. There’s something about the incidental music that I find really comforting, which makes it the perfect show to drift off to.

The Good Life

This is probably one of my favourite TV shows of all time and even though there were only 30 episodes made between 1975 and 1978, I could probably watch them all on an endless loop! There’s something about the gentle humour and banter between Margot, Jerry, Tom and Barbara that makes me drift off to a restful slumber.

Red Dwarf

This one comes from when I was a kid – I was allowed to watch TV in bed on a Friday night, on an old black and white TV which used a dial to find the channel, and Red Dwarf was always on at 9pm, right after Gardeners World. I’d sit through the end of Alan Titchmarsh warbling on about hardy shrubs so that I could watch Red Dwarf straight after and would inevitably fall asleep within about 2 minutes of the show starting, but I still adore it to this day and get super-cosy vibes from the theme tune.

The Mighty Boosh

I’d never seen The Mighty Boosh until I met Husband but it soon became a huge favourite and I still watch it in bed fairly often. I absolutely adore the humour in the show and there are a couple of episodes that I can’t have on while I’m trying to doze off as I’d spend more time laughing than drifting off!

Alan Partridge

I’ve come to the conclusion that Alan Partridge is the televisual equivalent of Marmite – people seem to either love it or hate it, or at the very least can’t handle the sometimes ENORMOUS cringe-factor that Steve Coogan injects into his most famous character. However, it’s an all-time favourite of mine and I know the episodes so well that I could recite them in my sleep. It’s perfect for watching in bed and always sends me off with a little chuckle!

Are you a bedtime TV watcher? What graces your screens while you’re trying to doze off? I’d love to hear all about it so do leave me a comment below.

Asking for Help

Love_HelpingHand_Corbis620When I first came home from hospital after having Burrito Baby, I have to admit, I was exhausted. In the days leading up to her birth, I’d been on a ward having a course of steroids to mature her lungs because my unstable blood sugars meant that she had to be delivered at 36 weeks and 6 days. In the entire three nights that I was there, I managed a total of about 7 hours sleep, so by the time BB finally came along, I was wiped out. My doctors were happy to discharge me the day after I had BB, but the midwives advised that I stay an extra night so that I’d have access to stronger painkillers if I needed them, rather than struggling at home in unmanageable pain.

Once I got home, Husband was amazing. He’d done an awesome job of caring for Sausage while I was in the hospital and maintained all of the cooking, cleaning and parenting duties for days after our homecoming. I was still exhausted and BB decided that she wouldn’t sleep in any room of the house except the lounge, so I set up camp on the sofa to deal with night feeds.

After a few days, it became apparent that I wasn’t coping very well with all of the duties that I’d taken on. I’d muscled my way into the household duties, despite Husband being happy to deal with them himself – I have to admit, I’m a bit of a control freak, especially when it comes to caring for the kids. It took me a long time to accept help from Husband when Sausage was a baby as I felt that I should be doing everything for her myself, but these days she goes to him for just as much help as she does with me. However, I slipped straight back into the same pattern with BB and despite Husband constantly offering help, I was reluctant to take it, at least on a subconscious level.

For some reason, I seem to have a real mental block when it comes to asking for help. I think I see it as some sort of weakness, like an admission of fallibility if I can’t do something all by myself, which is utterly ridiculous. I’m only human and I need to remember to see myself as such, rather than piling unnecessary amounts of pressure on myself, which create a horrible cycle of ‘refusing to ask for help>failing to cope without help>feeling like a failure’.

The problem was, I still hadn’t really caught up on sleep and the night feeds were becoming a struggle. On more than one occasion, I’d be giving BB a bottle of an evening, or winding her, and Husband would turn round to see me with heavy eyes, on the verge of falling asleep. Being tired is one thing, but being stubborn to the point of endangering BB with my stupidness is quite another. I needed to think of a better way to get through the night and contrary to my ‘do it all myself’ instinct, this meant asking for help. Fortunately, Husband is a bit of a night-owl anyway, and was more than happy to help. In fact, more than that, he wanted to help and my reluctance to loosen my grip was totally unfair.

With Husband’s support, I managed to regain the balance of being able to sleep between feeds and being alert enough to be able to deal with BB when she needed me, in a safe way. If I did feel tired while feeding her, I handed her over to Husband so I could get a drink and wake myself up a bit. All it took was making myself ask for help when I needed it, and Team Crammond found a way to cope.

Fortunately, we’ve rounded a corner with BB’s routine (more about that in another post) and I’ve managed to get a lot more sleep, but I’ve learned a really important lesson in the last few weeks:

Asking for help and admitting that you need it shows true strength, not weakness. 

And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor

Sleep.

It’s something that tends to dominate your life when you become a parent. (Apologies for the seemingly random intro, but do bear with me…)

To be honest, it’s something that’s been a dominating factor in our lives for a lot longer than Sausage has been around. Husband is an insomniac, as you’ll know if you’ve read this, and has been since he was a baby. His Mum vividly recalls sitting on his bedroom floor when he was a toddler, willing him to go off to sleep but watching her infant son with eyes like saucers.

I, on the other hand, find it hard to stay awake. Husband jokes and says that I must have something bordering on narcolepsy, given the fact that he’s seen me fall alseep mid-conversation, whilst typing on my laptop and even, just once, whilst standing up. Honestly.

Sausage swings between our two afflictions; she’ll regularly be up until 11.30pm even after getting up at 7am, doing a full day of school and activities and us providing as relaxing an environment as possible at bedtime. She does, however, love her bed once she’s there and given how bad things had the potential to be, I’m grateful for how well she sleeps.

And so, with all of this in mind, I’m thrilled to announce that my sponsor for BritMums Live is…

Seems appropriate, huh?

We’re big fans of Silentnight, we have Silentnight mattresses on our beds as the quality is so high and we take our bedtime comfort seriously. I’m sure I’ll be telling you about more items from their range in the weeks running up to BritMums Live and in the meantime, you can click on the logo in the sidebar to take you through to their site for a browse around.

Happy Saturday, everyone, and if you’re going to BritMums Live; SEE YOU THERE!

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Silent Sunday

Something’s COT to give…

So, after my post about Sausage sleeping in our bedroom, our situation has now officially morphed into a co-sleeping one.

For the last week or so, Sausage has been sleeping really badly. On the worst night I was up with her FIVE times. We’ve come to the conclusion that it’s her cot that’s causing the issues.

Sausage is a serious wriggler in her sleep, which means she spends more time on top of her duvet, than actually under it. I’m a pretty light sleeper these days and I hear the ‘rustle-rustle-thump’ which means that she’s successfully managed to extricate her legs from the covers about 5 times a night. The trouble is, it’s getting colder. When she would kick her duvet off in the summer, it wasn’t a big deal, she runs quite hot anyway, so she was generally okay. But a couple of nights ago she was actually calling out “I’m coooold” in her sleep. So Husband and I have been up and down like the preverbial yo-yo, covering her over and tucking her in.

I had the fantastic misguided idea that a Grobag would be the answer to all of our problems.

No.

This made things worse. When my sleeping child realised that she couldn’t kick her covers off she started to panic and I was awoken by a flapping, kicking baby, twisted up in a stripy straight-jacket.

Back to the drawing board.

Then we started to worry that it might be mine and Husband’s snoring keeping her up. A few nights ago, I’d got up with her in the early hours, and laid her on the settee whilst I went and made her a bottle (Yes, I still give my two-year-old a milk bottle, wanna fight about it?!), and when I came back, she was sound asleep on the sofa, and stayed that way until I put her back in her own bed an hour later (I do find that 2am is a good time to catch up on my V+’ed Gilmore Girls and Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals).

So then the panic set in.

OH GOD.

So…if it’s our snoring keeping her awake…does that mean…she’ll have to sleep in her OWN ROOM?!?!

In a last ditch attempt to work out the issue, without banishing Sausage to a different room, we cut her bed out altogether. And yes, I woke up this morning totally numb down my right side, and I have a crick in my neck which I suspect is now here for life.

But she SLEPT.

I didn’t have to get up once.

(Well, I woke up a couple of times to give her dropped dummy back to her. And yes, she does have a dummy. GET OFF MY BACK!)

So now, we truly are a three-in-the-bed family. We think the issue is that she’s getting too big for her cot, and she’s thumping herself into the bars when she thrashes about. We’ll replace her cot with a bed, in time. But for now, she’s in with us.

And I couldn’t be happier about it!

There were three in the bed, and the little one said…

…well, not literally in the same bed, but the same bedROOM.

You see, Sausage still sleeps in the same room as Husband and I. Well, okay, sometimes she sleeps in our bed, too!

I say ‘still’…as far as I’m concerned, she can sleep in our room until she can say “Mummy, I’m sick of listening to you and Daddy snoring”. But I’ve noticed lately a few ‘looks’ if it comes into conversation with other parents. We’re aware that most two-year-olds sleep in their own room, in fact plenty of parents put their kids straight into a nursery, but Husband and I were never able to do that.

After a horrendous labour and traumatic birth, Sausage was in intensive care for the first eight days of her life, and once we got her home, neither of us were keen to be away from her. To this day, I have only spent one night away from Sausage, and that was because I was kept in hospital for suspected appendicitis. That was one of the worst nights of my life and I cried myself to sleep, aching for my little girl. They tried to keep me in the next night, too, but after spending the day being ignored by the doctors and nurses, I discharged myself and got a cab home. (And it wasn’t appendicitis, by the way!)

Her start in life isn’t the only reason that she’s still in with us. Part of it is that Husband will still wake up every hour or couple of hours and sit listening to make sure she’s breathing. I’m not sure if that’s an after effect of Sausage’s shaky start,  I suspect he would have been like it anyway! Part of the reason I love Husband is that he cares and worries about stuff that plenty of other parents just don’t even consider.

Speaking from a personal angle, the thought of Sausage sleeping in a room, all by herself, despite there being only one wall separating us, gives me an actual physical ache in my stomach. My little girl spent too long sleeping by herself (albeit in a room full of incubators housing other babies), and I don’t intend to make her do it again.

I do wonder, when I notice the glances from other parents, whether they think I’m judging them for letting their kids sleep in their own rooms, and I must emphasise that I’m really not. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt since becoming a parent, it’s that every family must do what is best for them. No judgement.

I also wonder, what do other parents think of our decision? I mean, I know there are arguments for claiming your bedroom as a grown-up space, but when I became a parent, I feel like I relinquished any right to claim certain space as a child-free zone. And in all honesty, why would I want to? When Sausage falls asleep in the evening, I actually miss her!

I know I’m a clingy Mum, and I’m not putting it all down to Sausage’s birth. I’m sure there will be a day when we decide that Sausage would be better off in her own room. And if I’m being totally honest, I dread that day, I really do. But I also want my girl to be brave and strong and independent, which means putting my own fears and anxieties aside.

But, I think that’s what parenting is all about isn’t it? The power of experience and hindsight, plus the courage to let our kids do things which scare the absolute crap out of us.

Living with an Insomniac.

You know how most of us muddle through life, not giving a second thought to our daily to-ings and fro-ings, unaware that the things that have become normality to us are, in reality, quite  random and out of the ordinary?

I had two wake up calls recently (if you’ll pardon the unintended pun) which made me realise that my life is out-of-the ordinary.

The first was a conversation with my husband in which we calculated that we spend an average of 4 hours a week (if we’re lucky) actually asleep in the same bed.

The second was a moment ago, when I set an alarm clock for my husband so that he can be up in time for a meeting, only have my alarm tell me “Your alarm has been set to go off in 3 hours and 14 minutes”. And it struck me. That’s it. That is my Husbands whole nights sleep.

From what I’ve been told, he’s been like it since he was a baby. I’ve spoken to his Mum about it and she recalls many a night spent in Husband’s bedroom, trying desperately to wear him out, whilst feeling as though she needed matchsticks for her own eyelids.

And he’s tried to ‘cure’ it, he’s tried the sleeping tablets and many methods of turning his body clock around. But nothing seems to work. I’ve seen it, I’ve seen the look of desperation in his eyes when he’s been awake for 48 hours straight and his body just will not allow him to slip into that sweet, deep, uninterrupted sleep that he so desperately craves. I’ve seen the mental anguish it causes him, on days like today, when he needs to function but is only able to squeeze in 3 hours of sleep.

Three hours is a nap to most of us. I’ll admit it, I’m one of those lucky fuckers who could sleep on a washing line. I mean literally, I have fallen asleep, standing up on a busy, and bumpy, train in the past. Sleep has never eluded me in the way it does for Husband, and on some days, if Sausage has an afternoon nap, I’m lucky enough to supplement my 8 hour nightly sleep with a two or three hour nap of my own.

And it has other knock on effects too. Husband is lucky enough to have a job which means he can work around his sleeping pattern, or lack of, which means that he can do a job and spend plenty of time interacting and spending time with Sausage. But there are times when the three of us are like ships passing in the night. And I can’t imagine how that must feel, it would break my heart to miss out on time with Sausage because I was being held prisoner by my body.

The other issue is that people’s perceptions of insomnia can be totally warped. We have an agreement that if I answer Husband’s phone during the day while he’s asleep, I don’t let on that he’s in bed, because when a person sleeps during the day, it’s generally understood that they’re either a baby, an octogenarian or a lazy so-and-so. And Husband doesn’t fall into the first two, so he must be the latter, right? But how can you explain, no, he’s not lazy, he’s been awake since this time yesterday and his brain has finally decided that it will switch off for a little while.

Then, you’ve got the added annoyance of other people. During the day, Husband is fully accepting and understanding of the fact that we have a two-year-old, and it is IMPOSSIBLE to keep a two-year-old quiet. But, because we don’t live on a homestead in Alaska, we live in a busy suburb, there is and always will be, noise during the day. We thought we’d cracked it by switching bedrooms so that our room wasn’t at the front of the house, thus removing any car noise (and moving further away from the opposite neighbour who insists on having the loudest, bassiest music blaring every second he’s in the car, including the five minutes he takes to warm his car up on his drive in the mornings).

The trouble is, we’ve now come to the conclusion that our new bedroom is attatched to our next door neighbours utility room. And I wouldn’t mind so much, but we live in a detached house and their ‘utility room’ is a seemingly illegal extension which joins right up to the boundaries of our house. But you can’t ask people to be quiet, in their own homes, during the day, can you?
And so, we plod on with our lives, unaware of the differences until something reminds us.

At the moment, I’m on a three night stretch of sleeping on my own. But it’s okay. If I’m not sharing a bed with my husband, then I mostly get to share a bed with a snoring, farting 60lb dog. But he does give great snuggles!

I’d love to hear about your ‘alternative lifestyles’, if anything, just to make myself feel a little better!