You don’t know how important sleep is until you’re not getting it. I’m a new mother, and so when I tell most people I’ve been tired, really tired, bone-achingly tired lately, they assume it’s because the baby isn’t sleeping. They give me tips, and tricks, and tried and true tactics to help her sleep through the night. But here’s the thing: She sleeps like a rock, longer and longer every night. Last night she went down at 7:00 and woke begrudgingly at 6:45. Baby McK isn’t the one who needs help sleeping through the night. I am.
I have never had a problem sleeping. I was the teenager who slept till noon, the college student who frequently napped throughout the day. As an adult I would regularly get six to seven hours of quality sleep a night with some extra on the weekends. I was a champion sleeper. Truly Olympic medal worthy.
But something happened during my pregnancy. Like many pregnant women I had bad heartburn. Like many women I had pack pains. Like many women I had morning sickness. These things all conspired to wake me during the night. Every night. Multiple times. So from roughly the third month of my pregnancy (last March or so) until the end I did not sleep well.
Then, of course, when the baby was born I had some sleeping issues. She would wake up a few times a night and, because my husband was back at work, I was almost always the one up with her. Suddenly, blissfully, she began sleeping through the night. First five hour stretches, then six, and now almost twelve. She clearly loves her sleep almost as much as her mother.
Still, though, I cannot sleep through the night. I’m not waking up for any reason–my husband often wakes up in a panic in the middle of the night looking for the baby or thinking he can hear her crying. I’m not having trouble going to sleep–my sister has always had a terrible time falling asleep, often lying awake for hours. I just can’t seem to stay asleep. I wake up two, three, four times a night. I look at the time, I sigh, I fall back to sleep. I’m not even up for very long, but I’m up long enough to interrupt my sleep cycles. Long enough so that my sleep, no matter how long it is, isn’t restful. It’s been about a year since I’ve slept through an entire night. It’s exhausting.
I started taking melatonin last night. Several friends have suggested it helped improved the quality of their sleep. Tonight I’m going to couple that with a cup of Sleepytime tea. I’m drinking water, exercising, eating well, anything to help my body be in the best position to go to sleep and stay asleep. Here’s hoping something works, so I can get some much needed rest!