It’s Not The Baby’s Fault That I Can’t Sleep


This baby is a good sleeper but I'm not

This baby is a good sleeper but I’m not

It’s 2:30 in the morning and I’m wide awake.

A post on sleep was not in the line-up for this week’s blogging but here I am in a pitch black 50 degree house and all the other topics I had planned to write about (weird but normal in postpartum women, how Cheri Huber stuck a gun in her stomach and pulled the trigger before she found Zen Buddhism, more on the philosophy behind going diaper free) feel irrelevant right now.

I remember my father having insomnia. From my room I would hear him go downstairs in the middle of the night and turn on the TV. His sister, my aunt, suffers from insomnia too. She wakes up several times a night to use the bathroom and often can’t go back to sleep. But my mom is a champion sleeper. So I guess insomnia only partly runs in the family.

The conventional thinking about insomnia is not to do what I am doing right now. You’re not supposed to look at the clock (I always do), turn lights on (how else can I see the clock?), conquer the dinner dishes (why not wash them since I can’t sleep anyway?), finish a work project (how bout that cloth diaper article I’m writing for Mothering? Or the new assignment for Fit Pregnancy?), or do anything that will wake your mind up when you can’t sleep.

All of that is considered bad sleep hygiene.

My name is Jennifer and I have bad sleep hygiene.

I woke up to nurse Leone. Then I changed her diaper (she did not want to pee in the chamber pot). She sucked on my pinky finger for a few minutes and went right back to sleep.

Listening to her breathing, I lay in bed quietly trying not to panic about being awake.

Me: Oh my god, I’ll never function tomorrow if I don’t go back to sleep… It’s bad for your health not to sleep…

Myself: Count your breaths, stop thinking about sleep.

Me: Why is the printer still on the fritz? Why hasn’t that new part for it come? First thing I’ll have to save that letter to Scot and the new contract to the jump drive and go the copy store to print them…

Myself: One, two, three–

Me (interrupting): I wonder if James remembered to take out the recycling? I’d better go check…

Myself: Four, five, six–

Me (interrupting): The FlyLady has a good idea about the 27-item blitz to declutter. Maybe I should try that right now. The shoe drawer is full of stuff we could get rid of…

Clearly it was time to get out of bed and wash the dishes.

What kind of challenges–if any–do you have with sleep? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

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on Tuesday, December 29th, 2009 at 4:16 am and is filed under women’s health.
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