Maybe children have the right idea about sleep

The drivers' dispute might be over, but at what cost?

CLIVE SMITH: The dressing-up corner is now no longer safe from the PC brigade

0
Have your say

I’ve always had a troubled relationship with my snooze button.

My problem now is that my son doesn’t have the same function.

From when he arrives in my bedroom at 6.30am, or earlier, he is full on.

He’s like the Duracell bunny on Red Bull – he has everything to say and he wants to say it right then and there.

It’s probably awful to think, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could make them snooze for 10 minutes too?

At least until you’re conscious enough to deal with the demands of come-look-at-what-I’ve-done-that-you-won’t-be-happy-about.

Frankly, I think it’s unfair of him to expect me to answer an encyclopaedia of life’s questions before the sun is even up. But you can’t tell them, can you?

Tiredness comes with the job. You take it on alongside the nappies and vomit.

There’s the physical tiredness that makes you feel like propping yourself up against the checkout in Asda for a power nap. But there’s the mental tiredness too – the exhaustion from trying to organise all the things that need to happen to make your family’s life run smoothly.

I don’t feel like I should be moaning too much. My mum brought up three children while working as a secretary. I’ve just got the one child, yet at times I find myself falling apart at the seams like a cheap jumper.

She was an inspiration really. Still, it seems like sometimes I could never get enough sleep.

I read an article last week on the myth of the eight hour sleep which suggested that many years ago a more segregated sleeping pattern was the norm – a first sleep about two hours after dusk and then a second later in the night after a waking period.

Research found this to be more natural to humans and by not following it, we could find ourselves with sleep problems. It would certainly explain why I wake regularly at 2am with my mind racing. It could also explain why when I do manage an early night, I seem to wake up even more tired.

Maybe we’re just not getting the right kind of sleep?

Just think, during the waking period we could catch up on those things we rarely get chance for, like cleaning the skirting boards and watching Eastenders.

Next time I wake in the night, instead of tossing and turning maybe I’ll get up, make a cup of tea and go visit a neighbour, as it seems was acceptable back then. I’m sure they’d be delighted to see me.

It’s funny that we spend the first years of our children’s lives trying to get them to sleep through the night yet, if these historical accounts are true, maybe the babies are the ones getting it right. Perhaps we should take the lead from them when it comes to sleep?

Maybe then I could also spring out of bed in the morning with tons of energy – happy and chatty, ready to take on a busy day.

Maybe I too could survive the morning without a strong coffee and a shower just to wake me.

And just maybe I wouldn’t feel quite such painful separation anxiety from my snooze button.