Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Sleep Experiment...

Note: I know that baby is to sleep on her back, but she does like being on her belly and I'm sitting right here next to her, so don't fret!
I'm reading The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin for book club this month. Actually got the book awhile ago and started to read it and I got away from it, and now I'm reading it again for book club.  So, I like the book and when I like things I tend to look them up on-line. And Gretchen has a blog that she started that went along with her writing the book and now there are thousands of people doing their own happiness projects and what not. But I digress, because I'm not writing this blog about the book. 

When I was looking at the site this last time, a little thing about Grumpy Spouses caught my eye.  It caught my eye because I have a grumpy spouse. (I hate to admit it, and he's not grumpy ALL the time, but sometimes he's really grumpy.) So I clicked on the link because I want to understand my grumpy spouse. The little side article talked about reasons why your spouse might be grumpy and there in black and white listed close to the top of the list was not getting enough sleep. And BINGO!  I know for a fact that Jim does not get enough sleep. We go to bed usually at 10pm and he is up at 4:30am (sometimes earlier), not to mention that he's a light sleeper and we are often disrupted by late night visitors who are scared, need help using the bathroom, are thirsty etc. or the baby wakes needing changed or fed or both,  or the dog is freaking out because a little storm blows through and he is a big baby, or whatever!

It makes me sad to look at the dark circles under my husbands eyes, or to see him fall asleep on the couch before dinner, or once the kids go to bed (or both) because this is valuable QT that we could be spending as a family or as a couple. His fatigue causes him to become short tempered with the kids, impatient with me and uber sensitive to mess. I had a bright idea at the end of last week.  Why don't you get 8 hours of sleep for a full week and see if it alters your mood and energy level, dear.  Well, counting back from 4:30am means getting to bed no later than 8:30 (um, the KIDS don't even go to bed until 9 since it's summer and the sun is still out at 8:30!) So, he has to make due with 7.5 hours a night.  He wasn't all too keen on the idea--I mean even though we expect the kids to settle in shortly after the sun sets, he thought it would be hard to do, plus we would miss all of our favorite shows (but that's what the DVR is for). Also, he likes when I come to bed at the same time that he does, even though I have the luxury of sleeping in, sort of, if I want to. So to entice him I told him that I would also turn it at 9pm. And he agreed to try it for a week.

Well, I thought it would be nice because my eight hours would be up around 6 am even if I spend a miscellaneous hour up with the baby, feeding, changing and pumping.  If I woke up at 6am, I could maybe get in an early morning workout, shower and eat before the kids start their day.  Visions of sipping my tea while I leisurely flip through a book in the quiet of the house filled me with happiness...this won't be bad I thought.

The first night of the experiment, Sunday night, was okay, but we got plenty of interruptions to the night's rest.  I asked Jim how he felt and he said he slept horribly.  It WAS hard to fall asleep at dusk and then it seemed like just when we did, one or another child entered.  One plus is that Jim did not nap during the day on Monday and managed to squeeze in a workout that evening--I would never begrudge him this, but I was kind of jealous, because a workout didn't happen for me.  Some of the kids were up at 6am--so that threw a wrench into my plans.

We both thought the second night might go better.  I haven't asked Jim about his night, but it was a no go for me again.  I returned children to their own beds TWICE through the night and was up at 6am with one or more kids. I didn't get to exercise until 8am--after I fed the baby, the girls, and myself. I chose a yoga DVD thinking that I would ease myself into the day.  The video was tough and reminded me that I am WAY out of shape and on top of that, as the instructor is talking about relaxation, cleansing breaths, and focus, the girls are blasting their music CD upstairs, and Chloe is sitting in her seat screaming her head off.  So much for my dreams of a quiet morning.

I have managed to get 8 hours of sleep through the night, not consecutively, and I am more tired than I've been since the first week of Chloe's life. I don't know what's going on...I texted Jim that I thought in order to get some down time from the kids I would need to get up at 4am because it seems to be the only time that everyone is asleep.  I miss the hour of downtime at night--even if I was only watching TV or reading it was nice to not have them up making noise and being in my hair with their bickering and neediness.  Getting up with them and going to bed with them is not satisfying to me because I get no downtime. 

I love my girls and I know all of this doesn't sound too good...but it's what I'm feeling in the midst of this sleep experiment.  I hope Jim has a better week, but if we decide to continue on beyond this one week, I will have to suggest some modifications so that everyone will be getting a semi-decent night's sleep and the much needed downtime that mommy requires to stay sane!

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Gimme some sugar! <3


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