May 20, 2008

Sleep is a lot like cash - or at least, it should be

When you think about it, sleep is a lot like cash - at least to parents. I was thinking about this last night at about 10:30, when Tyler was screaming in his crib. This is unusual for him, which is why I was up with him.

And thinking about needing an emergency sleep fund.

You see, before Alex was born, I thought I couldn't possibly function on less than 8 hours of sleep every night. The knowledge that I would have to survive on less than that was one of the things that scared me most when I was pregnant with him. And yet, about a year after he was born, I found that I could comfortably live on 7 hours per night.

And then we had Tyler. Sometime before Tyler's first birthday, I started getting 6 to 6 1/2 hours of sleep every night. And you know what? It was actually okay. It turns out that I, who once thought I needed a solid 8 hours of sleep each night, can actually get by on 6 to 6 1/2. To put that in perspective, we're talking 10 1/2 to 14 fewer hours of sleep each week, and more than 546 fewer hours of sleep each year. But I need that time to get things done (like writing this post!).

And normally that's fine. I get my 6 to 6 1/2 hours of sleep and I'm fully functional the next day.

But if I don't get my minimum 6 hours of sleep, I'm a mess. Today was awful, because I lost more than an hour last night patting Tyler and resting my hand on his back so that Alex could go back to sleep and Tyler would get some rest (it was one of those times when as soon as I moved my hand away, he started screaming again).

And that's why I need an emergency sleep fund. I want to be able to make a deposit here or there, let it build up, and then be able to make a withdrawal when I need it. Can someone start working on a sleep bank for me?


Father Sez said...

The difficulties of being a mother!

My wife went thru this 5 times. I am not sure if I could have handled this.

The only thing I can do is amke and keep my wife as happy as I possibly can for all the sacrifices she has made for the family.

Camille said...

Do your boys share a room? We're expecting a baby in December and I'd like for the baby and the then 2.5 year old to share a room -- but I'm worried about the older sib waking up with the crying. I can keep the infant in our room in a bassinet, but if he/she isn't sleeping through the night by the time the bassinet is too small...advice?

Chief Family Officer said...

@Father Sez - Your wife is lucky to have you too!

@Camille - Yes, my boys share a room! We used a Pack 'n' Play for the first year with Tyler, though I tried to have him nap in his crib in the boys' room whenever Alex wasn't sleeping too. I was a little concerned about the surface but the pediatrician assured me that it was perfectly fine. If you have any more questions, just let me know. And I'll see if I can find some post-worthy links for you too.

Jerry said...

Oh! Don't you know it. Ours is 3and still manages to wake us up in the middle of the night like clock work. Sleep is insurance for your sanity. If you don't get enough, it could lead to some serious time in crazy town.