Show us a mother of small (or smallish) children who isn’t. I’ve yet to meet one. In fact, I’ve discussed at both a school drop-off and pick-up this week. We just – literally – cannot get enough; even if you are blessed with good sleepers, somehow you’re always left wanting more. Which is why we’re dedicating this week to the pursuit of sleep.
Don’t get us started on wakefulness and insomnia. I suffer intermittently. Even now that I have small children, work, a zillion and one things to do and am perpetually on the go, it still rears its irksome head on occasion. There I am, lying awake, eyes staring fixedly into the darkness, willing myself to sleep, attempting not to clock-watch as the minutes tick by. When I’m stressed, or there’s a lot on my mind, I cannot switch off.
It worries me less than it used to. Coming through those early days with a newborn has teaches you that you will make it through the next day (and the day after that…) on less than optimal sleep. You might not function as effectively, but you’ll make it. When I went back to work (to a new role i.e. I had to impress) when my daughter was one, she fell ill with croup in my first month. My husband was away, and she could only sleep with me holding her on my lap (with, err, the window open. The doctor’s recommendation even though it was minus something. (She wore a snowsuit.). I slept for a grand total of 20 minutes. The next day might not have been my finest moment, but it was fine.
So now when I’m going through a bad patch, as I am right now, I try to relax, knowing that this, too, shall pass.
I’m also trying out Neom Organics’ 3 Step Sleep Programme.
I don’t usually allow myself much time for winding down. Once the children are in bed and I’ve made supper, you’ll find me tidying/doing admin/working/sorting out uniform and PE kit, in between dipping into Instagram and checking email, before I flop into bed with a book. I don’t need an expert to tell me that this is quite the opposite of good sleep hygiene. So, I’ve been attempting to slow it down.
Now, I try to find time for a bath (which I love, even if it makes the pages of my book curly) with the heavenly Perfect Night’s Sleep Bath and Shower Drops; light a candle in my bedroom; and then use the Nourish, Breathe and Sleep hand balm and spritz my pillow with this before switching off the light.
If you try one thing, make it this. It’s so simple and turns something which I’m prepared to wager many of us do anyway (i.e. apply hand cream before bed) into a soothing ritual. The exhausted and time-strapped might also like to note that it takes almost no time at all. Simply warm a small amount between your hands, cup them over your nose and breathe in for 7 seconds and then out through your mouth for 11 seconds. Do not ask me about the science behind these numbers, for I cannot enlighten you. What I can tell you is that it really calms me down. I’ve taken to having it on my desk, too, so I can press pause if I feel myself getting stressed.
We would love to hear your sleep remedies and recommendations. One of my friends swears by warm milk at bedtime but I can’t get my head around this, not being a fan of milk, or in Downton Abbey…
Main image via Pinterest