Raising Will


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The art of sleep

Ah sleep. My old foe. Must we fight every night? Must you hide away and rob me of precious brain-repairing hours?

I’ve never been good at getting to sleep. As a child I remember lying in bed waiting for the relaxed cloud to fall on me. Parents would watch tv; Dad would do the dishes, have a shower, switch off lights; and I would lie. And lie. And lie. The crickets outside would chirrup like giant fire sirens buried in the grass. I’d pretend to yell at them.  The sky outside so dark, would shine in so bright onto my bed; for me the night was never really black enough. And then I would wake up; morning had appeared and I would be so disorientated. I slept? When did that happen? Fast forward 20 years, and my inside voice is still yelling at crickets.

I fail at sleep.

I fail at sleep.

And then there’s the waking. A dog barks at a moth flapping against a bug-stained light. Eyes open. The security light turns on, awakened by an invisible intruder. Eyes open. The roof creaks as it cools against the night air. Eyes open. Mix children into this equation and my eyes feel open more than they are closed. Did someone just fall out of bed? Wait for the cries… nothing. Was that a rolled head hitting the side of a cot? Wait for the cries… nothing. Is hubby breathing funny? Wait for the exaggerated sniff and roll-over…. annnnnd we’re back to swearing at crickets.

So I guess all this makes me a night-owl. But as a parent, with a night-feeding baby and a toddler that wakes without fail before 7am every morning, I can’t handle being a night-owl any longer. I need to learn to sleep better. I’m taking a leaf out of the very same books giving me advice about helping baby Xavier to sleep.

Maybe I am over-tired, making my sleep restless. Maybe my sleep association is all out of whack and I need a night-time routine in order to switch off. Maybe I’m hungry or thirsty or have wind feel funny…?

I am going to learn the art of sleep, even if I am 25 years too late.

Are you a good sleeper? What are your tricks and/or tips for getting efficient and effective rest?

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