Hi, my name is Jenna. I have sleep issues.

March 25, 2011 |  Category:   life

It’s gotten worse. Bedtimes pushed to 2:30, 3am, sometimes even later. That schedule would be fine if, you know, I was 21 and I can sleep in, but I am up by 7:30 to get both girls dressed, fed, lunches made and out the door for the walk to school. Insomnia and work aside, I just have a hard time making myself go to sleep. I don’t want to go to bed, but I recognize that this is a problem, the avoidance of sleep. Nobody can really function 100% on 16 hours of sleep over 4 days. I’m surprised that I can function at all, but I can and that’s what makes it dangerous because I keep pushing to see how far I can go. But I can’t give it up. Night time, when the girls are in bed, even after Mark has turned in, is my time. And then I realize, that maybe this is about trying to have it both ways. To be a parent without sacrificing time for myself. To cram in as much work as I can, as if I were childless. Is there anybody else out there like me?

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  • Nancy Cavillones March 26, 2011 at 11:05 am

    “is there anyone out there like me?” I was snorting when i read that. uh, yes! and yes, i’ve asked myself the same question: am i trying to have my cake and eat it, too? why am i so willing to sacrifice sleep to get some precious quiet hours in? i don’t even use my time wisely most of the time! i’ve started to correct this by instituting “dadurday” and going out for a few hours alone on saturday morning or afternoon.

  • Terri March 26, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    I’m with you. I am up til 1am most of the time. Nights is when I do best. My head is clear, the house is quiet, and I have space to think and breath. But, then I am tired and grumpy in the morning when I have to get the kiddos up and ready for the day. Mama is known NOT to be a morning person in my house. But the sweet, sweet nights. It is when my sould can breathe.

  • Jacqui March 26, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    wow there are a whole lot of night owls out there! I’m the opposite; I envy you. If i don’t get 8+ hours per night my kids, my husband and me, well, we all suffer!

  • Beth from Maryland March 26, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Oh, Jenna. I don’t anything about health issues related to lack of sleep, but I do know about needing alone time. There are days feel so needed by my 2 year old, husband, job, and even some freelance work, that I might just break apart. It might sound silly, but I need a little time to decompress each day. Maybe if you fulfill this need during the day, you won’t look for it in the wee hours. I love the blog, but I’d be happy if I didn’t see posts if it meant you were sleeping!

  • dawn March 27, 2011 at 12:07 am

    yes, i think i am like that too. i have tried so hard to break this habit, but now rather than staying up late i just don’t take naps when my baby is asleep :*( i do miss staying up late at night and having time to myself.

  • gail March 27, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Having read through the entire thread of comments thus far, I’m struck by how much the responses are reminiscent to those of anorexics arguing that the “trade-off” of being thin more than compensates for the health risks of eating next to nothing. In women, studies have shown a correlation between sleep deprivation and breast cancer, for example, so in terms of risky behavior, choosing to go without sleep to have alone time could be considered taking a fairly big risk. I don’t think it’s a simple matter of thinking that because we can somehow still manage to function on little sleep (or food) it is defensible somehow, at least not in the long run.

  • Neighbor Amy March 27, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Spent the first six or so years as a parent trying to have it “both ways”, my old childless life and my new-ish life as a momma. I was challenged by it, determined that *I* could make it work. After surviving for so long on insufficient sleep, I (thankfully but very painfully) crashed and slowly ratcheted down the number of nights I stayed up late, trading them for more and more sleep. Maybe it won’t happen to you, but this patten took (and continues to take…when I “indulge” as I do 2-5 times per month) a serious toll on our family time and I really cherish the better times now. Those great days together are motivation for getting my zz’s. Be well.

  • Nicole Franzen March 27, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    So totally off the subject of this post, I finally got my hands on your cookies. Divine and delicate, I love them and am now addicted. haha I also think I scared your husband when I recognized and pointed out how I read your blog etc. haha I am sure he gets that everyday. Nice to finally taste what I have been reading about.
    x
    Nicole

  • Whosit March 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Reminds me of the myth of Sisyphus pushing the rock up the hill only to have it roll down the other side. Although, I am sure the me-time at 2am is more productive than pushing a silly rock. Time and space are precious gifts. Sleep is just as precious and essential but I think a lot of us just talk and think about how important it is. If sleep were a person she would probably think we were pretty shabby friends since we are always avoiding her. Can’t have everything but we are supposed to try, right?

  • Amina March 27, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Not sure how you function on so little sleep, Jena. Any tips? I love to stay up though after my kids and husband go to bed, because it is the only time in the day when I have free time. That very thing you talk about, as if I am childless. I think we all long for time alone, and night time is perfect.

  • Jenna March 28, 2011 at 1:20 am

    @Amina. I don’t have any tips, mostly because it’s not something that I’m advocating or recommending anyone to do. I will say that some people need less sleep than others. I seem to fall on that half of the spectrum.

  • Jenna March 28, 2011 at 1:21 am

    @nicole that is awesome. so glad you stopped by, and thank you! We appreciate it!

  • hyzen March 28, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Yes, your post describes me, too. I’ve always been a night owl, but it’s gotten worse lately. I work full time out of the house and have a 2 year old and 5 month old, so I feel like after they go to bed is usually the only time I have to get anything done–not even “me time” necessarily, but dishes and laundry and packing lunches and paying bills and whatever, and then after THAT it’s like midnight or later and THEN I want to stay up and unwind and have some me time. It’s exhausting, and I’m not sure how well I function–when I get to work in the morning I’m tired and I do have a hard time focusing. I don’t know what the answer is–there literally are not enough hours in the day.

  • Dawn March 28, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    I’m totally like this. I never used to be a night owl (I was all about being a morning person… ha!) and then gradually, my bedtime has been getting later and later, only because I love having my time to myself, sans my 3-year-old. Recently. I’ve actually been trying to force myself to get to bed before midnight, but I’ve only been very mildly successful, but I’ll keep trying.

    P/S: I came across your blog a while back via Apartment Therapy (I think?) and I’m absolutely in love with it!

  • Sigers March 29, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Oh, yes. That’s me. Totally nocturnal. And nothing is better than those hours where you’re pretty sure nobody is going to try to cram a Viewmaster cartridge into your iPad.
    But then the husfriend started work and I have to get up and get the boy to daycare and going to bed at about 10 keeps me from turning into a crazed demon in the morning. Totally makes a difference.
    Of course that hasn’t stopped the clock from creeping backwards again … Californication is not going to watch itself …

  • bronwyn April 4, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Yes. I can totally relate to not wanting to sleep. Only I do it the opposite way. I often wake up at 3:30am just to have some quiet time to myself before the day starts and I have to go to work. I sometimes actually feel sad when the sun comes up. But I think it’s important to have time for yourself. I don’t see it as trying to have it both ways. It’s just so hard to fit it in.

  • Caro April 9, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I’m totally the same way. I work full-time and go to grad school part time (evening classes), so I often don’t get home until at 8:30 and end up staying up late just to have some time to myself and to be home at the end of the day. And then you get to wake up and do it all over again. 🙂 But I love those wee hours to myself.

  • Amy J April 9, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Sleep for me is the number one most important thing. I have two kiddies and after my second was born, I had postpartum psychosis brought on by extreme sleep deprivation. Now that I have recovered (three years later), it is a requirement for my health and well being to get a full night’s sleep!

  • audrey April 9, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Jenna,
    I totally agree, with a two year old and a two month old and a full time job the only time that is truly mine is after they are both in bed. I have to get up each morning at 6am to be able to get to work on time but I still stay up breaking china for mosaics, making jewelry or just surfing design blogs. It is not so much a desire to act as if I were still single and childless but a struggle against the corporate drone I feel I have become, that and I feel guilty if I take time for me while they are awake… sleep, what’s that?

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