I wrote this post over a month ago, but come on. Sleep deprivation is always a thing in this house, so now’s as good a time as ever to share.
A while back I read this post on feeling “generally healthy” and it resonated with me. The last few years—particularly during my pregnancy and my postpartum recovery—I’ve learned that my health is something marvelous and a blessing I should never take for granted.
I’d like to think I take care of myself. For the most part, I eat well. I take a multivitamin and drink plenty of water. I no longer binge drink (not that I did that regularly in college—bars and parties were never really my thing), I certainly don’t do drugs, and I try my best to get in some type of exercise daily, whether it’s an hour-long fitness class or simply a quick walk.
One area that troubles me, though, is sleep.
Predictable, right? After all, I have a one-year-old.
Although my husband might tell you otherwise (I was always begging for us to get out of bed earlier on the weekends so we didn’t “waste the day”), I deeply value sleep.
I’m not a scientist, but I realize that our bodies need the recovery that sleep provides. I desperately want my 8-9 hours of sleep so I feel my best. (Additionally, I want to resemble the living, not the “un-dead,” and speak without slurring every other word.)
But how am I supposed to get sleep?
Because Baby M still nurses in the morning and we have an extra person to dress and care for, I’m waking up 45 minutes earlier than I used to. We try to get into the bed before 10:30 (our previous “bedtime”), but even when I fall asleep immediately and never hear a peep on the baby monitor, I’m just not getting the deep rest I need.
(I feel I should publicly share how grateful we are to have had a baby who sleeps rather well—I’m not whining here.)
I’m somewhat of a morning person, but lately I’ve felt wiped out even after my shower (which normally jolts me awake). I’m ready to crash when I get home. I’m not sure what it was, but cardio barre class a couple weeks ago nearly killed me. I could barely keep up and left feeling deflated rather than energized.
Maybe I’ll start experimenting with essential oils at bedtime, and I could probably stand to put away my electronics a couple hours before bed (rather than minutes). I know when cooler temperatures arrive, I’ll get more fresh air from being outside, but until then, there’s little else I can do or change about my routine.
I read not too long ago that new parents have a “sleep debt” of about 700 hours in that first year (I can’t find the article, but check this out, it’s hilarious!). At first glance, that sounds like a lot—but it’s really about an average of 2 hours per night. Since I’m “resting” just 7 hours during the night (how much of that is sleep, I don’t know!) and got very little sleep in those first few months postpartum, I think my sleep dept is higher.
(And, for the record, that bulls**t about “sleeping when the baby sleeps” is the worst bit of “advice” I’ve ever heard!)
I’m not sure of the point of this post—except to say that, despite my efforts to take care of myself, I’m tired. Sleep, just like illness and our daily habits, truly affects our health. So, in that regard, I don’t feel “generally healthy” all the time.
And…I finally get it. Being a parent is incredibly tough—you have less free time, more bills to pay, doctors appointments and other commitments aplenty, and, certainly not least, a lack of good-quality sleep.
Which leads me to this question—why haven’t humans evolved by now to require fewer hours of sleep?