Monday, March 18, 2013

They're Cute But They Don't Sleep Enough.

the rare sight of my children sleeping

On Friday night we all went to my daughters' school's Family Movie Night. (It was crazy. But fun.) We were out pretty late (for us), and the girls didn't get to sleep until close to nine. I went to bed right after; what with the time change and a busy week, we were all super tired.

Cue to Saturday morning, when the girls slept UNTIL SEVEN A.M. Which meant that I, also, slept until seven a.m. I'm not sure if you can fully grasp the miraculous nature of the situation, but I posted on Facebook that a choir of angels appeared and sang Hallelujah over my head and then the entire world turned into chocolate. At least that's the way it felt.

You all, I got TEN HOURS OF SLEEP.


In case you were wondering, that was most probably the first time I had gotten ten hours of sleep (or anything else remotely resembling a long night of solid, uninterrupted sleep that did not end at six a.m. or earlier) since I became a mom nearly nine years ago. That is almost a decade, people. A DECADE of short sleep.

(Once again I marvel at how rewarding having children truly is---if despite things like that, I've never heard a mother say--nor have I felt--that it isn't all completely worth it. Right??)

Moving on. So, the day seemed remarkably pleasant. All day, I kept wondering why the heck Saturday seemed so....nice. Usually Saturdays--particularly frigidly cold, winter Saturdays (because yes, it is still winter here)--are rather miserable in my house. I can't exactly tell you why, but there's something about no routine, no school, no work, nothing to do and nowhere to go, too many people in a too small house getting up way too early (well, aside from Daddy (most of the time)) that makes my children CRABOLA. Which, in turn, makes me crabola too. Actually Saturdays often make me crabby no matter what my kids are doing. But generally that's because my kids are fighting, yelling, or crying.

So anyway, la-di-da, Saturday is going along, nothing out of the ordinary, coffee, homework, breakfast, reading the news on the laptop, chores, fireplace, bathing and grooming, Legos, etc. An errand. Some baking. Preparing for a little party in the afternoon. Etc. AND EVERYTHING SEEMS STRANGELY ENJOYABLE. No one is even fighting or crying. What the?

And then it hit me: TEN. FREAKING. HOURS. OF SLEEP.

You all, I put two and two together and realized that I have been a cranky bitch on weekend mornings (and most other times as well) because I have been sleep-deprived for the past nine years.

And now my brain was rested, and now I was acting like my old self. My nine-years-ago, normal self. (Note, also, that one of the reasons I was in a good mood and the day seemed easy was that my children were not bickering, yelling at each other, or crying most of the day, as they seem to be usually doing on weekends. Hmmm. No coincidence, right? PERHAPS YOU SHOULD SLEEP PAST SIX A.M. OCCASIONALLY, CHILDREN. LIKE OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN. JUST A THOUGHT.)

In my book, I devoted an entire section to the importance of sleep. I wrote that if your sleep is dysregulated, everything else will be too. There is NO overstating how important sleep is for mood, brain chemicals, hormones, behavior, health, and outlook on life; that's one of the things I learned as a health psychologist and psychotherapist. And you can see just how true that is. You can probably see it in your own life too, but let me tell you, seeing it via a nine-year experiment is more compelling than anything else.

Good Lord.

The End.

p.s. Please don't comment that I should just take a nap. Not everyone's brain can fall asleep in the middle of the day. Personally, unless I am sick, trying to sleep during the daytime is just a big waste of time, because I can't do it.

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