Friday, September 18, 2009

The Joys of Sleep Deprivation

You know how some parents will sigh, heavily, and say, "Oh my gosh. Our baby didn't sleep through the night until she was a year old. I thought I would lose my mind. It was terrible!" Well, I'm pretty sure I haven't had a full night's sleep in 4 years. Why? Because our 4-year old has nightmares and, even worse, night terrors. Talk about a Mommy adrenaline rush. Wait until your little one is screaming at the top of his lungs that there are crabs in his bed trying to pinch him, and you can tell that he actually SEES them there in front of him. Scary. There's no getting back to sleep after one of those.... Luckily, they seem to be lessening over time, but the crying and moaning and thrashing around still happens regularly, and I've become so attuned to it that it wakes me up every time. Now, add in this fun factor: Perimenopause, which first reared its ugly head for me 2 years ago, before I even turned 40, has resulted in night sweats and insomnia at least 4 nights a week. (Ahhhh, the joys of being a woman! And men think they're so tough....They wouldn't last a year in a woman's body! For more about the joys of perimenopause, please check out Why isn't menopause called womenopause?) And the final sleep deprivation factor is....Snoring. Not mine. My husband's. It's especially bad in the spring and fall, when his allergies are acting up. It's like sleeping next to a chainsaw. But, there's no rhythm to it, so I can't accommodate to the sound and drift off to sleep, you know? It's random, and it changes pitch and tone and volume throughout the night. All night. Almost every night. So, you see, when it comes to getting a full night's sleep, I'm pretty much screwed.

Being chronically sleep deprived, I have learned a few survival strategies. Tips, you might say, to make sure that disaster doesn't occur as a result of too little sleep.

1) I write everything down that I'm supposed to remember for the next day, and I put it on sticky notes the night before. That one's a lifesaver. I also call my home phone from work to remind myself to write things down on the sticky notes. It cracks my husband up every time he hears one of my messages to myself -- "Hi. This is yourself. Don't forget that tomorrow is share day at preschool." He thinks it's funny. He doesn't really appreciate the necessity of it, since he sleeps like a baby pretty much every night. (Not a baby with night terrors, either. The other kind. The kind that sleeps through the night. SIGH.)

2) I set the timer on the coffee maker the night before (extra strong setting), so it'll be ready when I drag my sorry carcass out of bed in the morning. I have become that person you see on the commercials -- the exhausted looking one who literally can't function until she smells coffee wafting through the air and drinks down that first cup. It takes me about 3 cups to really feel like a fully-funtioning human being.

3) I never assume that I am as alert as I feel after the 3rd cup of coffee. I turn on the cold air vents or roll down the windows when I'm driving, just in case...

4) I try not to ever set a beverage down next to anything else that's liquid, because I have been known, in my sleepy state, to pick up the wrong bottle or cup and take a swig. In fact, I learned just two days ago what baby shampoo tastes like, because it was sitting right next to my Diet 7 Up. FYI? It tastes terrible. I don't recommend it. I can also describe what it feels like to accidentally drink one of your contacts, in case you're interested.

Well, I only have to make it through 1 hour, 47 minutes more of parenting, before both boys will be snoozing, and I can collapse into bed. And, if luck is on my side, tonight will be hot-flash free, my little guy won't have a nightmare or wet the bed, and my darling hubby won't drive me out of our nice, soft bed with his chainsaw-like snoring. I can only hope...



  1. I can relate the the snoring. My husband has chronic snoring all year long. I wear earplugs and it does help a little. So sorry about the night terrors. Will has never had one and it does not sound like fun. I like your idea of calling yourself at home. I may try that. :)

  2. I can't believe you drank baby shampoo! Ugh. That is tired. It sounds like you have a good plan going though and hopefully it will get better for you soon. My husband snores too and so does my dog. I try my best to fall asleep before either of them otherwise I'm awake all night, so I can relate.