Wednesday, 11 August 2010

A Meditation on Sleep

Sleep is a precious commodity these days, especially since Sam went into a bed and is no longer content to lie in his cot until I lift him out. A little voice pipes up outside my bedroom door, "Mummy I want to go downstairs" at approximately 5.45 every morning.

I don't mind, I love being woken up by this amazing little person but sometimes I am so tired and grumpy that it is quite a struggle to deal with such a ball of energy so early in the day.

Part of the deal of being single parent means I get to do this every day without respite. Very very occasionally my Dad will get up with Sam and let me lie in but this amounts to a few times every year. I do get to stay at other people's houses or even once in a while in a B&B or hotel, so I really can't complain. I am very lucky.

There are times when it is hard to catch up and sleep deprivation kicks in and recently I have been going out of my mind with tiredness. Any parent will tell you what this is like- and there is nothing like it.

My tutor suggested getting an alarm clock and gradually setting it later and later to train Sam into getting up at 7am, and I am going to give this a try. I tend to think that this is a phase that will change as the seasons do but there is no harm in helping him along a little bit. After all he's going to be waking up to an alarm clock soon enough, more's the pity. Makes me think of the t-shirt I saw with the slogun: "Alarm clocks kill dreams". I am very much a 'slow and steady wins the race' sort of person about this kind of stuff.

Last Friday, after a night at the cinema seeing Inception (I could have drifted off half way through the overly-complex plot but stopped myself), I stood outside the car park which was closed at midnight and swore at the top of my lungs out of pure tiredness and frustration...I blame the overly-long Hollywood blockbuster!

So, by arrangement with my Dad, this morning I got to lie in and he took Sam to nursery. I got to sleep in my own bed until mid morning, only disturbed by the next door neighbour choosing this morning, of all mornings, to mow his lawn.

A good night's sleep these days feels thirst-quenching. I feel rehydrated. I can see better, concentrate and be more focused and productive. I am more patient and happier. Not quite such a cantankerous old bag as usual.

Of course, this wonderful state of affairs is about to slide away but all in a good cause. Preparations for my 40th birthday are being made and I am very excited.

Strangely, and unusally, I have been having some sleepless nights because of nightmares as well as Sam's early starts. No doubt these have compounded the sleep depriavtion symptoms. I think it might be adrenalin. There is so much to look forward to in the next couple of weeks that the anticipation is keeping me awake!


  1. I have a dreadful time sleeping, so I have great sympathy for your situation. Hope the preparations are going well for the birthday.

  2. My cousin is also a single parent. She goes to school full-time (she is studying to be a teacher) and her son is turning four this year. From what she tells me sleep is not a common thing she gets to have much of. I definitely feel sympathy for you. Being a single mother is a lot of work.

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