Oh sleep, how I miss you. I’ve missed you for three years now. Reluctantly, I will admit it does get easier. I have now accepted my permanently tired state and actually started to feel OK about it. I have found other ways to re-charge in the absence of a blissful abundance of sleep, (see my previous post on ‘The Perks of Werk’). However with a not even four month old baby and being back at work I have decided it’s time to give myself a little pep talk again.
An old school friend, suggested to me a year or so ago, when in a particularly wakeful period of #SHJMs life, I focused on how I felt, rather than how much sleep I got, and how many times he, (and as a result #MJM and I), were up the night before. That really stood out to me as some pretty good advice. There are days when I have a terrible night’s sleep and feel like I can take on the world, then others when we all sleep great, the baby only wakes twice and I feel like I’ve been mentally and physically hit by a bus.
A quick search on Amazon reveals 63,910 results for books on sleep. 63,910 suggests to me that no one actually knows what they are talking about! Are we trying to search for something that doesn’t exist? Has society become obsessed with what sleep should be, rather than what it is? Do we, rather than read sixty thousand books, instead need to alter what we perceive as normal?
No one in my life seems to be able to conform to a “normal” night-time routine, of laying their head on the pillow, sleeping peacefully for 8 hours and awaking refreshed. Actually that’s a slight lie, #SHJM mostly sleeps for 9-10 hours a night. With those 9-10 hours often ending between 5am and 6am. He wakes up feeling great, refreshed and raring to go…normally raring to go eat. However #MJM and I seem to think, probably incorrectly, that this is too early. Even brief research into circadian rhythms and the science of sleep suggests he’s got it pretty much bang on without even consciously trying. Does the answer to “what is normal?” actually lie in my (not even) three year olds sleeping pattern?
#MJM is still obsessing over gadgets that will aid his sleep, the latest being the Kello Clock which hasn’t even hit the shelves yet, but he has on pre order. (Incidentally in a colour that will not match the theme I was striving for in our bedroom, but that’s another story all together). I often receive messages from my grandfather in the middle of the night, as he knows with the time difference I’m 7 hours ahead and therefore free to talk. My mother regularly talks about how she was frustratingly awake, for long hours in the night and friends without children talk of how they were hoping to have a weekend lie in after a busy week at work, only to be up at the crack of dawn, when they had no reason to be out of bed until noon. The latter, I admit, I hate the most and are likely to be experiencing this, because of the mini sleep voodoo dolls I have made of them, to punish them for having the audacity, to openly discuss such a luxury.
So everyone, I’m calling “bullshit” on sleep!
Instead of continuing to wallow in desperate tiredness and moan about how tired I am, I am trying (sometimes better than others) to accept defeat to the realities of sleep. How have I normalized my expectations of what having a regular life, sleepless husband, children, does to my sleep? Other than the holistic approach of attempting to be more mindful and have a realistic mind-set, I do have a few personal cheats up my sleeve, for when the positive attitude mumbo jumbo just isn’t going to hack it.
The Mummy Milne sleep paradigm is three fold; firstly concealer. I’m all about the Laura Mercier Secret Concealer. Despite being someone who is very un-into make-up and wears very little, I ALWAYS have a spare pot of this bad boy, as leaving the house with my eyes “au naturale” could cause some serious, traffic accidents in Singapore. Secondly, Clarins Beauty Flash Balm. Wow! This product is just simply “wow”! It’s like a full 12 hours of sleep in a bottle. Finally and most crucially, copious amounts of the blessed coffee. Extra shot; enough said.
Now don’t get me wrong, I fully understand exhaustion and a severe lack of sleep is torture, and it’s understandable why sleep withdrawal is actually used as a form of torture. You feel sick, angry, desperate, disorientated. But rather than focusing on the negatives, let’s shift our focus to support our society, our friends, our family, our children, our husbands and most importantly ourselves, through their natural and ever changing relationship with sleep. Take turns napping on the weekend, deliver coffee, go to bed at 8pm when you can. Let’s be understanding and empathetic and let’s shift the norm back to what is happening now rather than trying to achieve a fictional ideal that quite simply is not “normal”.
Mummy Milne xx