‘What is more gentle than a wind in summer?…
More healthful than the leafiness of dales?
More secret than a nest of nightingales?…
More full of visions than a high romance?
What, but thee, Sleep? Soft closer of our eyes…
from Sleep and Poetry John Keats
What were your families views on sleep when you were growing up? Was it seen as a punishment to go to bed early or did your siblings have different bed times than you and how did you feel about that?
Did your parent/s burn the candle at both ends?
Do you remember a time when you were allowed to stay up late and how did your body respond the next day?
Dr Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block says, ‘sleep is the primary activity of the brain during early development…lack of sleep impairs a child’s ability to learn, their emotional well-being…’ The American National Sleep Foundation Guidelines state that newborns (0-3 months) need 14-17 hours, infants (4-11 months) 12-15 hours and toddlers (1-2 years) 11-14 hours – for the full guidelines click on the link.
In her memoir, All Things at Once, Mika Brzezinski tells the story of falling downstairs while carrying her 4 month old baby. Her baby suffered a broken femur but fortunately not the spinal damage that was suspected. Mika saw this accident as a wake-up call to just how sleep deprived she actually was and vowed to pace herself and to narrow her focus of what she wanted to achieve.
Short daytime naps support better night-time sleeping for both toddlers and new parents. Susannah Marriott, suggests this energy-reclamation visualisation, to support you when you are sleep deprived:
‘Think of the energy you expend feeding, bathing, wiping, carrying and empathising. Imagine gathering back this energy, pulling in shafts of light until you have a pulsating ball of energy inside. Feel the healing force of this energy and reclaim it.’
Arianna Huffington, The Sleep Revolution
Susannah Marriott, the art of motherhood