Sleep, oh how I miss thee | Modern Mummy

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Sleep, oh how I miss thee

Yesterday I took part in a really, really interesting event (a #SleepPowWow - you may have seen the hashtag flying about) that was hosted by children's lifestyle brand, Worlds Apart. Before I start waffling I just want to say that I am under no obligation whatsoever to write about the event but I found it so totally fascinating that I wanted to share some of the things I learnt and tips I came away with.

It's a pretty well known fact that my children don't sleep! I'm regularly awake (and on Twitter) in the middle of the night, or as dawn is breaking.

I'm fairly laid back when it comes to parenting. The only routine I've ever been strict about is the bedtime one so that I get my evenings to unwind, or work - but I regularly co-sleep with both girls when they wake up during the night. If one of them cries, I want to comfort them - I don't believe in controlled crying. I hate the thought of them having a nightmare and feeling scared or upset by it.... if that's the case, they're coming in with me for some mummy cuddles! I'm also used to rising early these days. It's taken a while but I don't actually mind it so much now. I guess my body has got used to it - and I kind of enjoy getting the majority of my housework done before the day even begins!

I won't bore you all with full details of the girls' changing sleeping patterns over the years, but I think it goes without saying that they haven't changed for the better!

Our current issue is that neither of the girls nap (at 4, Daisy shouldn't now - but she stopped napping altogether at 20 weeks.... yes really) and both wake during the night (although I think Evie is to blame for this one as, despite being in separate rooms, she tends to disturb Daisy, who I suspect would otherwise sleep through).

Evie with Ruth from Rock n Roller Baby's Jimmy in the Peppa Pig toddler bed!
(Photo by Ruth - thank you!)

At the Sleep PowWow we had mother of one and founder of the Millpond Sleep Clinic, Mandy Gurney, to offer up her advice on any problems we were experiencing.... and I fear I may have hogged the conversation somewhat ;)

I liked Mandy straight away. I've spoken to 'sleep experts' in the past and have always been criticised for co-sleeping. But Mandy accepted my choice, knowing that I do what is best for me, and she was more than happy to work around that with me.

When I say we co-sleep, I don't mean we all bundle into bed together at eleven o'clock in the evening. Our evening routine is brilliant - and has always worked just fine for us. We have dinner at around half 5 and then start winding down. The girls watch In the Night Garden, then have a quick bath, then it's pyjamas, milk and stories on the sofa. Evie goes to bed at 7 and Daisy at 7.30 and they both go to sleep pretty perfectly, if I do say so myself.

Our issues begin at around midnight/1am, when Evie wakes up.... and wakes the rest of the house up too. With two working parents and a four year old about to start school, the easiest thing for me to do, to prevent everyone losing sleep, is to run to her the moment she makes a noise and pull her into bed with me, where she is guaranteed to sleep like a baby! 

Mandy told me that Evie is not getting enough sleep during the day and this is affecting the night time for her. When she goes to bed she is overtired and overstimulated and this is what causes her to stir. She most definitely hit the nail on the head because every single time Evie has napped during the day (this is very rare but has happened occasionally when we have been out in the car) she has slept amazingly at night - for up to thirteen hours!

When Evie sleeps, Daisy sleeps - which means I sleep too!

Mandy advised me to work on the day time naps. Evie won't sleep in her cot, or in her buggy - it's just the car that sends her off. So she suggested I take her out in the car at the same time every day and drive around til she nods off. Once she is used to this new 'routine' I can continue it but change the environment, e.g. to the buggy or our darkened living room. I may have to work at this but if I want it to work, whats a couple of weeks of perseverance? Not only will it save my sanity, getting even an hour to myself each day (which I have to point out I have NEVER had with either child), but I MIGHT EVEN GET A FULL NIGHT'S SLEEP OUT OF IT. I'm in! - and of course I'll keep you posted when I start.

Thanks so much to Worlds Apart for inviting me to be a part of the PowWow - and also for the wonderful goodie bags full of accessories to help with the bedtime routine, including Peppa Pig Go Glow Night Brights for both girls, a Peppa Pig Toddler Ready Bed for Evie (which we're going to take to Granny & Grandads at the weekend) and some Disney Princess Lumiglow Vinyls for Daisy's wall!

A few facts I learnt at the PowWow

Almost two years olds need just one 45-90minute nap a day
The best time for this is after lunch
Toddlers shouldn't be allowed to sleep after 3pm or it can disrupt their nighttime sleeping
Sleep is triggered by the release of a hormone within the body called melatonin. An increase in body temperature (e.g. a warm bath and/or cosy pyjamas) and dimmed lights encourage it's production.

For more of Mandy's sleep tips, take a look here.

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1 comment

  1. R still naps now 4 days a week! Hopefully I'll still get a weekend nap after she starts school for the first few months :-)

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