Sleeping Beauty

Last night, with Joshua safely installed at his Aunt’s house for a sleepover, I was able to control my own sleep pattern, which is rare. I went to bed around 11.30 and slept right through until 6am, so that is an unbroken 6.5 hours sleep and has to be some kind of record. I am used to being woken up several times in the night, not for long these days, but Joshua will tend to swap beds typically twice during the night, but sometimes more. He will appear on the landing banging on the door and will slip into my bed, and typically an hour or so later, probably when he gets too hot, he wants to go back to his own bed. As I say he is not usually awake for long and rarely these days does he insist on coming downstairs when he wakes, which used to be a bad habit which meant I was wide awake by the time he was ready to go back to bed again.

So sleeping undisturbed until I am ready to wake up , is a big deal. I have coped with broken nights since Joshua was born really, so my body clock has adjusted after 21 years of disturbed sleep. I hear lots of people tell me that they need 7 or 8 hours or they cannot function, so they are in awe of me managing on half as many hours as them. I smile and nod when I hear Mums complain that their children did not sleep through until they were 4 or even 5 years old!! But the truth is that the pattern of sleep that Joshua and I have nowadays, is a huge on improvement on the worst time of his life :

There was an awful stage, I cannot even recall how long it lasted for, when Joshua was having seizures a lot. His poor brain was exhausted with the repeated electrical activity, but it started so that after a cluster of seizures, and not necessarily after rescue medication, that he would stay awake for 48 hours! He looked like a zombie : dark rings under his eyes, pale skin but unable to close his eyes. It was not as though I could nap next to him as he was wandering aimlessly about the house so he needed close supervision. Finally after 48 hours he would collapse into a deep sleep and reset himself. Unbelievably, I was still working at the time, so I must have been like a zombie too! So compared to that nightmare scenario, getting up to swap beds twice a night but settling again, is a doddle. In the end we had to seek medical help and he was given a drug to administer to try to help him to sleep and thankfully, that sleep pattern eventually stopped.

But once your body is consistently getting little or broken sleep, in my experience, it starts to adjust and cope and I can function well on 4 or 5 hours sleep now. But my secret is a power nap in the afternoon to top myself up, which has only become possible in the last few years, although I would often sneak a power nap into my lunch hour when I was working. Also I cannot stay up as late as I once did, I start to flag around 10.30/11pm these days, whereas my husband stays up closer to midnight. But if I am nodding off in front of a film or box set, then I have to listen to my body and take it to bed.

When my sister or friend kindly have Joshua overnight for us, the real treat is the undisturbed sleep. We went out for a delicious impromptu Indian meal last night, which was a treat. I suggested a takeaway tea but as my husband reminded me, we can do that any night so I dragged myself up off the settee and we went out to eat last night. He was right, it was a real treat and the most delicious food. I am not going for my solo early walk with the dogs this morning, I am going to wait for my husband to wake up and persuade him to come with me later this morning, before it gets too hot. So to have someone to share the walk with and to hold two dogs, will also be a treat. Then this afternoon, I will meet my sister halfway between our homes and relieve her of her nephew. I hope that they both have fun today too, from what I saw yesterday he will be in his element bossing her around!

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