Saturday, February 18, 2012


Yep, lack of sleep is still a definite issue for me. It has been for awhile. I think it affects my energy level, my eating, and my weight.

Part of the price I pay for the blessing and privilege of having children is giving up sleep. It started in pregnancy, continued through babyhood and young childhood, and then I got a bit of a reprieve when my boys got old enough to go to bed and STAY in bed at night and to get up and watch some cartoons with a bowl of cereal on weekends. I think I got sleep for about 2 years, from the time my youngest son was 7 until his baby sister was born. Then all bets were off again.

You'd think that with adult children, it would be easy! Adult kids don't need Mom to get up and see them off to work or college or even make them breakfast, and if they stay up til 1am it doesn't affect me because they are considerate and not loud. But since my bedroom is right off the kitchen, and I am a super-light sleeper, I wake up anytime someone goes in there to get food or eat. Which is a lot, with this many kids.

If I had my way, I'd go to bed at 10 every night and sleep soundly until 7am. But it's just not happening. There's a "no cooking after 10pm" rule, but that only helps a little. Here's how my nights often go.

9:45pm: I am tired, I start getting ready for bed. Teenagers start showing up asking for stuff they need for school, or help with homework, or they are starving to death and need a cracker. I get the old dog medicated and put in his pen. I get the pup fed and settled in her crate. She has a lot of energy and doesn't settle well any earlier. I have to give her a small meal RIGHT before bed, because if she goes more than 8 hours without eating, she pukes bile.
10:30: I get in bed.
11:00: I fall asleep.
12:30: My daughter comes in crying because she had a nightmare, or she comes in telling me she needs to use the bathroom, or she sort of sleepwalks out of her room and into the hall in a confused state and then I have to redirect her back to her bed. She gets up in the night about 80% of the time for one reason or another.
1:00: I fall back asleep. It always takes me a long time to fall asleep...
2:00: I wake up and have to pee.
4:00: I wake up with a kid in my bed who flails around a lot. I put a row of pillows between us.
5:30: I wake up because my son is in the kitchen eating breakfast because he has to go to work.
6:15: Another kid is now in the shower, which is on the other side of my bedroom wall and wakes me up.
6:30-6:45: My little girl is all bright eyed and chirping, "good morning!!" The old dog is barking to get out of his pen, and the pup is puking bile in her crate if no one fed her yet, and they both need to go out to pee.

And that's how it goes, pretty much all the time. On days there's no school or working kid, the happy princess wakes me up. And on the very rare occasion she sleeps in, the puking/barking dogs still get me up early. If I try to go to bed earlier, the dogs bark and puke earlier. Ah well...

And no, I do not nap. Yes, it is logistically possible. No, I cannot fall asleep. Lord knows I have tried, but the only time I ever succeed at sleeping in the day is when I am very sick. Otherwise, I just lie there being annoyed that I can't sleep. I do try and take a break mid-day, but not a nap. And sleep aids are not really an option for me, as I need to be able to get up in the night and take care of a child or whatever else I might be called upon to do. They just seem to give me headaches, anyway.

I try and see this as a phase that I will someday miss, kind of like those sleep deprived days when I was nursing newborns every 2 hours round the clock. Someday I will miss the sound of that old dog barking. Someday I will wish my kids were still here waking me up instead of moved out, living their own lives. I know that. So I just try not to let it frustrate me. The only problem is, I do believe lack of sleep is affecting my health. Not sure what I can do about that right now.


HaLaG said...

Funnily enough I just posted about sleep myself - The chance to get ONE nights good sleep can do wonders.
If there's any chance to get just one nights difference you should chase it - I'm sure you'll find your opportunity soon and come out the other side feeling so much better.

Diandra said...

You need another bedroom. ^^

Mina said...

I have a one year old, so I can relate! I've noticed when I need sleep the most and am exhausted, he sleeps the worst. Why is that? LOL

I can picture myself one day missing these nights, so that puts in perspective for me.

CatherineMarie said...

Can you switch bedrooms with one of the kids? It would probably be psychologically better for you not to share a wall with the kitchen....

Anonymous said...

I am not saying this to be sarcastic or with no empathy. QUITE THE OPPOSITE! Please consider switching rooms. You are the MOM, and the queen of that house and the nurturer of all. But you simply must nurture yourself with quality sleep pretty much at the top of the priority list for your own needs. You deserve to have the calmest, quietest, darkest (at night), coolest room in the house. If it's impossible to switch rooms with someone else then begin today by making that room the calmest, quietest, darkest, coolest room it can possibly be. You have a phenomenal attitude about one day missing these days. I think I would just be cranky as you know what! LOL Here's hoping you start getting that 10-7 quality sleep your body is probably desperate for by now. :D Once my husband and I turned our bedroom into a sort of "cave" sleep quality was off the charts compared to before. Now I just have pre-menopausal night sweats that wake me up...not too much helps with that. Good luck!! Allie

birchgirl said...

Not sure but I know I am really crabby without sleep. Have you tried some kind of white noise to help with blocking out the activities in other rooms?

Anonymous said...

I would never survive this (=.=) Thats tough. Three thoughts:
-after your little girl wakes you up the first time, go to the bathroom before you go back to bed.
-ask your son to feed/let the dogs out at 5:30 before he goes to work.
-maybe a white noise machine could help with the sounds?

Anonymous said...

Goodness, I'm exhausted just reading this. Can you move your bedroom so it's not right off the kitchen? It seems like being sandwiched between the kitchen and the bathroom, with as many kids as you have, isn't the best place for you.

Is there a way to start the nighttime routine with the dogs earlier so that you're not doing it when you would ideally be in bed?

Speaking of nighttime routine- can you tell your kids that if they need something from you they need to bring it to you before 9 p.m. unless it's an emergency? It just doesn't seem realistic that they are coming to you at 9:45 at night with homework questions. They are old enough to manage their time and ask before then, right? They seem to be considerate with the no cooking after 10 p.m. rule, and you said they're quiet when they stay up late, so I'm sure they'd be willing to help you out on that one if you asked them.

Something to consider- if your daughter wakes up in the middle of the night anyway, comes to get you, interrupts your sleep, would it maybe be better to just put her bed in your bedroom? Then you could enforce a rule of "you're in here with me, nothing bad can happen, but you need to stay in your own bed, please." That would help with the nightmares and the stumbling to come get you, and if you shut your door maybe it would help with the sleepwalking, since she can't go too far?

I find that I sleep 1,000 times better when I'm exercising. Did you find that helped you fall asleep, when you were exercising before?

Sleep is at the top of the list of my priorities when it comes to living a healthy life; I cannot function without it and I know how maddening chronic exhaustion can be. I hope you can figure some things out because lack of sleep has been proven to be associated with stalls/difficulty in weight loss due to cortisol levels, not to mention it's just stressful to be tired all the time. Good luck!

Lyn said...

Thanks all :)

I sure wish I could change rooms! But not much more than my bed would fit in my kids' 11 by 12 foot bedrooms! I am lucky... I have the master suite which is pretty big and has its own bathroom. It is also on the dark (west) side of the house which is nice.

Sometimes one of the boys who is up late/early gives the pup a treat and that does help her not puke. But the old one? He has to have his Mommy in the morning. Funny, he is nearly blind and deaf but he still knows who he wants to see first thing in the a.m. :)

Lyn said...


yeah, the boys are pretty good about a lot of things... chores, coming in before it's too late, being considerate etc... but you can only get so much out of a teenager :)

When I am exhausted I sometimes just let me daughter sleep in my bed with a row of pillows between us so I don't get a foot in the eye, but it's debatable whether that helps my sleep or not. I don't want to move her bed in my room though. She can open doors when she sleepwalks! And run into walls...

Did I mention I have a neighbor who occasionally leaves his dogs out in the yard barking at night? Ugh!

Anonymous said...

What do you *need* in your room other than your bed and maybe a nightstand? It just seems like where you are in the house is the issue with 50% of your sleeping problems- I think it would be worth it to downsize to get better sleep. What good is a nice, comfy, master suite if you aren't getting good sleep in there? Just something to consider; I wish you the best :)

Anonymous said...

and then i just went to check out another blog and it was all about sleep stats. Look at these stats people! Whoa!

Anonymous said...

hi Lyn,
You have my sympathies! EVERYTHING is coloured by lack of sleep. Physical, emotional, psychological. So addressing this issue will bring great benefits. All I can add to this thread is that I too wake easily, and have kids. But I'm also 40, and this adds to the issue. I'm a much lighter sleeper now that perimenopause has reared its hormonal head. My doc AND pharmacist (who's holistic and totally on the ball) have both recommended melatonin. I've tried it. It's awesome. No grogginess, no way it interferes with my ability to wake up if I'm needed. It just seems to help with the deep sleep, or the falling BACK to sleep, or the deep relaxed state needed to open one eye, know it's a teenager, and go right back into deep sleep. Maybe look into it? If there's nothing else you can control??
Best of luck. Sweet dreams...

Lauren said...

That's a lot of disruptions which maybe you can't prevent; however there are some good stints of time where you could be getting better sleep. Have you considered that you might have sleep apnea as well as these natural family interruptions? I've been reading your blog for some time and I don't think I remember seeing you mention if you have had this tested. I was surprised when my dr suggested it and ...I have it. After I got my CPAP I slept better and I could lose weight. Also, I hear less distractions thanks to the hum of the machine itself.