Like so many of the Uborka crowd, sleep is a subject dear to my heart. As a lifelong insomniac (with occasional breaks), as the mother of a child who didn’t sleep through the night until the age of 5, as a postnatal doula, and in my new job as a parent advisor on a popular parenting forum, I spend a lot of time thinking about sleep, and not enough time actually sleeping.
This morning twitter alerted me to an old article from Mark Rice-Oxley about how he handles his insomnia, and the main thing I got from it is that we all handle it differently. A milky drink at bedtime makes no difference at all to my sleep, whereas TV-watching wind-down time at least helps me not to be buzzing when I go to bed. I’m interested in how fitbits and sleep diaries help, but I’ve never bothered to try anything like that. Running makes me tired, but subsequent leg pains in the night keep me awake.
What does work for me, is to accept and acknowledge that tonight I’m not sleeping. Being able to switch off the digital display of my bedside clock has made a huge difference to how I feel about not being asleep when everyone else is. I need certain conditions: a quietly playing radio helps me to doze, which is better than not sleeping at all. Warmth in the bed but cold in the air: even in the middle of winter I like the window open. Being woken up by something or someone [I’m looking at you, Maisy] after I’ve fallen asleep is pretty much catastrophic for the rest of the night. Sometimes I get up and walk around the house, raid the fridge or check my email; sometimes this helps, but not consistently enough to be my go-to solution.
My best sleep comes in the early hours, from about 6am. Unfortunately this is when Bernard usually gets up, goes to the loo, shuts my bedroom door, and goes downstairs to play Minecraft videos at the top of Stampy’s voice.
I wondered what the rest of Team Insomniac Uborka has tried; maybe we can have our own sleep study, right here.