Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A long overdue update

I can't say my sleep schedule is to the point that I feel well rested all the time, but it has drastically improved since Jerry stepped in and tried an experiment.

For awhile, I was getting home from work around 1 a.m. and Allison was waking up at 5:30. In those few months, I found out that sleep walking doesn't just have to occur when you're in a deep REM cycle.

Jerry tried to convince me to give her a bottle and put her back to bed, but I couldn't help but do the math. If she went to sleep at 8 p.m., that was 8 and a half hours of rest. It was purely selfish of me to try to get her to go back to bed. I could wait until her nap a few hours later.

But then sleep wouldn't come easily for me. My head would start ticking through all of the things that needed to be done around the house, and before I knew it, she'd be crying to get up again.

That hour was never sleep. Inactivity, maybe physical rest, but never sleep.

Sometimes it got to the point that I was so tired, I couldn't move when she'd cry. I would hear her in the distance somewhere, but my body wouldn't respond. Her noises, which always jolt me immediately, had no impact. Eventually they'd subside, and I'd get the sleep I so desperately needed.

When she woke the next time, I had vague recollections that she might've stirred, but the clock always confirmed it. I could set a watch to Alli's naps. They are always one hour. Much longer and I knew I had slept through something I shouldn't have.

The guilt was overwhelming.

Eventually, Jerry just did it on a weekend morning he was home to intervene. She got a bottle as he changed her diaper, and she went back to bed without a protest.

I couldn't believe it.

That week, I changed our routine. She got a bottle when she woke up and then back to bed.

That simple change changed everything.

She started sleeping even longer and was a happier baby when she did get up. I started getting six or even seven mostly consecutive hours instead of four or five. And then a late morning nap.

I'm still tired, but its more than manageable. Jerry and I take turns taking naps during the week and we both try to catch up on our sleep on our days off.

There are still mornings like today that I got home from work later than usual and Allison got up earlier than usual, but it's not the endless cycle it once was.

And it has changed my outlook drastically.

Ongoing sleep deprivation is a very debilitating thing.


Jaclyn said...

I'm so happy for you guys!! It IS hard to be a good parent when you're sleep deprived. Add to that, a sleep-deprived child who isn't nearly as well-rested and happy as she could be and it's a pretty nasty mix.
Congrats on getting a few extra hours every day; I know how much of a difference that makes!!

Sheryl said...

Good for you! Rest is important; sleep is crucial.

Maria said...

Ayi, I gotta I'm getting more and more terrified about having children. I'm no super woman, I don't know how you can work, take care of Allison and update this blog!

Marcy said...

I keep reading how kids should be getting something like 13-14 hours of sleep over 24 hours, something many parents don't realize.

We recently changed Donovan's bedtime from 7:30-8pm, to 7p sharp. He used to then wake up around 5/6am and be AWAKE but now he'll wake at 4/5, eat, and go back to sleep till 7am.

MAKES SUCH A DIFFERENCE!!! (and not just for the parents...)

the sleepy plainsman said...

That IS good news. I'd write more but time to get to zzzzz's! LOL!

Ray said...

I'm glad that Jerry intervined! And I'm happy that you are finally sleeping more hours.

You wrote, "If she went to sleep at 8 p.m., that was 8and a half hours of rest. It was purely selfish of me to try to get her to go back to bed."

^^ That's not selfish at all. As adults it's good for "us" to get around 8 hrs of sleep but for a baby, a baby can sleep (and should sleep) "much more" than that. I think from infancy to toddler-hood is when you should be sleeping the most because that's where you grow the most. So please never feel guilty for letting Allison sleep a little longer. And like you wrote, she woke up a much happier baby which is great.

Well, "Happy Sleeping!" ^o^

Anonymous said...

I 100% agree with Ray. Babies at Allison's age should be getting no less than 10 hours of sleep per night!