Even before I had kids, sleep was pretty much all I thought about. One of the reasons I married my husband is because we both like sleeping so much, both happy to turn in around 9.30pm, lights out and actually off and asleep by 10.30pm absolute latest.
Then after having kids, sleep took on an urgency it never had before. Especially as Sam, my youngest, wakes up in the night. It’s usually no more than once, but it’s once a night, every night. Last night he woke up at 5am because the rain was pattering onto the roof window in his room and he hates the sound and he wouldn’t go back to sleep, so today has been such a laugh I tell you.
Anyway that’s unusual – the normal run of things is that he wakes up once, I give him a bottle and a nappy change and everyone goes back to sleep. Please do not think I have not tried absolutely everything in order to cut out this bottle-nappy change thing. I have tried it. I have tried. Everything. Some things work for a bit and then they stop working. Most things just don’t work. I’m simply waiting for him to grow out of it. Or until he can get his bloody bottle himself and just go for a wee.
What I’m trying to say is that I know something about being under slept and I would like, rather controversially, to recommend to you two very light over-the-counter sedatives to take, which will enable you to go back to sleep after having been woken in the night – because so often it’s not being woken up in the night that’s the issue, it’s getting back to sleep afterwards.
These are also both very useful if you’ve had a period of sleep-deprivation (unwell child for example) and now that period has ended but you just sort of feel like you’ve lost the knack of conking out.
Neither of these will stop you from being woken up by, say, a crying child in the night or a smoke alarm – they won’t make you feel weird and groggy in the morning either. They will also not work if you have actual insomnia or you’re going to be up two or three times a night. They are both very light taps on the head – a little shove over the edge.
I am going out first thing to buy the actifed if it really does what you say. I have a severe cold and annoying cough that keeps waking me up every night and then I can’t get back to sleep, tried absolutely everything, had to convince the nosy assistant in Boots that the four different products I wanted were for four different people or else she wouldn’t sell them to me. I may go to another branch in case she recognises me.
Actifed. Get it now. Either pills or the syrup. Sudafed also does a nasal spray that will clear your nose either day or night. For extra comfort you can get sticky strips by a company called, I think, BreatheRight? You stick them over the bridge of your nose and they keep your airways open. They work. xxxx
Sue Madelin says
I feel your pain on the waking in the night. My younger son did this until he was 4 – like you it was very undramatic but he just liked coming into our bed for a 5 minute cuddle before going back to his bed with a bottle of warm milk. Eventually he got old enough for me to tell him I couldn’t cope with being woken up any more and that coupled with refusing to get up and making him go back to bed by himself did the trick. And now he’s at university and sleeps all day if he can 😉
god I LOVE it when parents of much older kids tell me stories like this
I’ve been kept awake by a blocked nose ever since I got rhinitus when I was pregnant with my second child. 9 years! My go to is a variation of this which is a cocktail of Sinutab (a kick ass sinus medication you can get over the counter. BUT you have to take 2 and it comes in packs of 15 which is mystery!) and Sominex. This works brilliantly. I also use a spray called ‘This Works sleep spray’ which you spray on your pillow and gets you back to sleep quickly after you’ve been woken up. And it really does work! It smells heavily of lavender though so you have to like that….
I’m a recent convert to the gentle help of a sleeping pill after 4 years of broken sleep with my two. The Boots own version -Sleepeaze – is identical to Nytol but a tad cheaper.
And to cheat my way to the appearance of a restful sleep, Keihls Midnight Concentrate is fab. It has a pipette thingy to apply with which obviously means it’s very scientific and proper.
Victoria Usher says
I can also recommend valarian for helping you to nod off. It’s a natural herbal remedy (I think it’s also in Nytol) and the best one I’ve taken is the Vogel version, Dormeasan. I feel slightly lightheaded after I’ve taken it – a similar sensation to drinking half a glass of wine. You feel v chilled and less stressed about stuff. It’s also good for general low-level anxiety (ie suitable for every parent I know with children under the age of 10).
Valerian sends me POTTY … tried it once and knocked me out completely for the whole night, but alas also most of the next day… though I know it works wonders for others x
I used to swear by Nytol as the only way to get to sleep when my anxiety raged but I’ve been scared of it since the baby arrived- if I’m feeling anxious about him the obvious extension is ‘what if he needs me in the night and I don’t hear him’? But I also have the same issue, Matthew gulps his bottle down and goes back to sleep all in 20 minutes, I’m then awake for hours. However, I’m thinking about another baby, so I’m going to try meditation or some such nonsense to help with the sleep instead of medication. Elaine x
you WILL hear him even if you’re dosed to the gills with Nytol – it’s just not that strong. I wake up easily when I’ve taken a Nytol, but also find it easy to nod back off x
I take magnesium at night for this very purpose. Apparently it relaxes muscles and encourages sleep. I’m pretty confident it makes a difference and not placebo effect but even if it is, who cares! I take 2-3 a night (brand called Poliquin). I only take on nights I haven’t drunk a cheeky wine, which are few and far between at the moment (3 under 5). Love your new blog by the way x
THREE UNDER 5? you need Valium, not Poliquin. respect xx
a single then twins. Four and two. 👱👶👶 agggghhh 🍷🍷🍷💊💊💊
omg I know a woman round the corner who has that – though it’s five and 2.5. she looks permanently stunned. you’re in my prayers sister
Syndol – pain relief via being a muscle relaxant. Completely knocks you out after only half a tablet! Short term use only.
yeah karen “short term use”… wevs xxx