Last night I went to sleep when my children did. It was only 9:30, but I was tired.
My husband was on call last night, too, (he's a pediatrician), and I swear his pager went off every hour. It was definitely not the best sleep for me, let alone for him (he had to go in for two hours in the middle of the night).
Then this morning I didn't get up until 8, which is late for me. And it got me thinking: if I hadn't gone to sleep early, I'd be in even worse shape. My body obviously needed the sleep. So why do we scrimp on sleep so much?
I think it's because we want to have fun. Once the kids go to bed, we really want some time to ourselves, even if we are tired. So we stay up way too late.
The pioneers used to get tons of sleep. They'd go to bed with the sun, and up with the sun, and often they slept eleven hours a day in the winter, even the adults. That doesn't sound like such a bad idea to me. But now that we have electric lights and televisions, staying up until midnight is normal for most of us.
I just don't think it's good for us. I get so grumpy when I'm tired, and by two in the afternoon I'm really lethargic. I've always needed a lot of sleep. Even today, eight hours often doesn't cut it. I need a good nine hours to feel like myself, which means I should be going to bed by 10:30 every night, though I don't. My youngest daughter doesn't need that much sleep. She never has. As a baby she only slept 9 hours over the entire day, including naps. I was absolutely exhausted. But she wasn't. She was happy as a clam. At one point I actually made a chart of how much she slept in a week, and when, and took it into my doctor and said, "You have to make her sleep! This is ridiculous!" But there was nothing my doctor could do, and Katie got rid of her naps in the day pretty early and put in her nine and a half hours at night. So that was okay.
I know some parents who deal with the sleep issue by just putting their children to bed at 7. That way they have the evening to themselves. But their kids get up at 5:30 or 6, and I simply could not handle that. I always put my kids to bed a little late, like 9, just so they'd sleep until 7.
But this sleep problem is a big one for us, because we also need couple time, don't we? And that's hard to have while the kids are awake. So as the kids have gotten older, we've instituted the "you have to be in your room at 9" rule, even if they're not sleeping, just so that we can be on our own.
Tonight I'm going to go to bed early again. I'm off to speak at a conference this weekend, and I don't want to start the weekend exhausted. But I wish I'd just get into the habit of sleeping well all the time!
What about you? What do you do about sleep? And how do your kids sleep? Let's talk about it!
Labels: mothering, sleeping, teenagers