January 15, 2010

A Sleep Experiement

Breaking News!

As years of research by many doctors have confirmed:
  1. sleep begets more sleep in babies and toddlers, and
  2. adults feel better when they're getting enough sleep.
More on point #1:
Many of my readers, or at least my FBFs (Facebook Friends), know, Brian is an early riser. I've adjusted my schedule so that I get up and have at least a half an hour by myself before he wakes up. I like this; I like being alone in the morning, in the quiet, and (this time of year) in the dark. For me, it's the best way to get started.

We moved Brian to one nap a day a while back, and he started sleeping better at night. But I didn't heed the advice of Dr. Weissbluth and put him to bed an hour earlier at night. So he was still going to bed at 7 and getting up by 5:30. After a conversation with a friend at church (thanks, Kelly W.!), I decided to start putting Brian down at 6. Since Sunday he's been going to bed at 6 and getting up at the same time, sometimes a little later! And he's ready to nap before 11, taking at least a 3 hour nap in the middle of the day. Hurray!

The next step will be gradually moving his nap to noon. We'll start working on that next week, pushing naptime back 15 min or so every few days. I love the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child but had not looked at it in recent months. So glad Kelly and I "talked sleep" on Sunday and I got my nose back in that book! You might benefit from it to if you are expecting a baby or have kids.

More on point #2:
My new year started off with a migraine that I believe was caused by lack of sleep. Colin and I stayed up NYE watching episodes of White Collar - great show, by the way - and though I knew at 10:45 that I should really not stay up, I did anyway. Well, it took me a full week to feel back to normal and I had headaches most of those days. The weather must have had something to do with it, because many of my friends had off and on headaches throughout that week too. Yuck!

The lesson learned, though, is that I CANNOT stay up late. You just can't if you're getting up early. (I know, I'm a genius for having come to this conclusion; I'll publish a paper or write a book soon!) So this week I've been experimenting too, by trying to get to bed at 9; which means I've been in bed most nights by 9:30...at the very latest, 10. And what a difference it has made!! Yes, I would like to watch shows I enjoy in real time. Yes, I would like to keep my husband company as he works toward that PhD in the evenings. Yes, I would like to feel like less of a dork, getting ready for bed at 9! But the benefits far outweigh the consequences for foolishly staying awake. And I can record shows, be better able to serve my husband and kids during the day, and I'm becoming more dorky as I get older anyway, so why not add this!

To conclude, here is my unsolicited advice - that you don't have to read if you hate people giving advice without being asked for it!
  1. If your kid gets up too early, put them to bed earlier at night, especially if you're transitioning from one nap to two. It may cramp your style for a while, but the pros outweigh the cons. And they may still get up at the same time, but you know they're getting better rest! (And for a great overall sleep guidance, check out Weissbluth's book.)
  2. If YOU are tired all the time, bump your bedtime up an hour too. Get that beauty rest! Your family will benefit enormously and you might be better equipped to tackle the things that you feel like you should do in the evening, during the day!
Kudos to anyone who read this whole post. Give yourself a gold star!!

1 comment:

  1. i will wear my gold star with pride! :)

    i also agree that good sleep begets good sleep, but often found how to make it work for kate puzzling. kudos to you for making it work for brian and for you. YOU deserve a gold star!!