Sleep and Early Mornings

I had an epiphany this morning to do with sleep and I thought I’d tell you about it. But I need to start at the beginning.

I have no idea what my sleep was like as a baby or toddler, the earliest I can remember is being at Primary School and getting dragged out of bed bleary eyed to get ready. School years were full of alarm clocks, early wake ups and lazy weekends where I would be able to sleep in until whenever I wanted. This was probably only about 9am but seemed like such a good long sleep! I remember watching Grange Hill on the telly whilst eating my Sunday breakfast – bacon, eggs, tinned tomatoes and bread and butter – the bread wasn’t allowed to touch the tomatoes though, on no no no, nothing worse than soggy bread.

I digress.

Pretty much after school I started working. This was even harder as a couple of days a week I had to be up for the morning deliveries at work – and a 5am start. More alarm clocks and even more bleary eyes.

It’s only now that I realise the start of school is really the last time you can sleep until whenever you want – school, college, uni, work. Whatever your path in life there is always something you need to get up for and it is usually a time earlier than we would like.

When you start school, college, uni or work, weekends are spent laying in bed until whenever you want, catching up on that precious sleep, in your PJs, snuggled in your duvet. The safest, loveliest place in the world. Bed.

Lay ins are amazing aren’t they?

After I’d been working full time for 10 years, getting shocked awake every morning by my alarm clock, I found myself pregnant with LP. The last few months of pregnancy I found myself waking often in the night and generally not being able to sleep very well. I wrote more about that here last year. I would get up regularly at 6am, have a cup of tea and watch the news (I hate the news, depressing!) When on maternity leave I would do this too but then go back to sleep at about 10am when I felt tired again!

When LP came along I found myself in that whirlwind of newborn feeds, changes, winding and a little sleep in between. At some point though, LP started sleeping through. From memory she was over a year old and having that sleep back was amazing. Even when she wasn’t sleeping through she would religiously sleep until at least 8am, often 8:30am and occasionally past 9am.

I know, we were spoilt. LP is not normal when it comes to sleep!

Roll forward to now. Little Man is here, and has been here for 4 and a half months. One of the only ‘routines’ that I have figured out is that he will wake consistently at 6am. Whatever time his last night feed was – 2:30, 3:30, 5am he will still wake at 6am. At this point I will feed him and occasionally he’ll go back in his cot and sleep for another hour. If he doesn’t go in his cot he’ll sleep next to me in bed. If he doesn’t want to sleep, after an hour or so of trying to get him to sleep, we come downstairs – normally with me moaning and groaning that it’s too early, I need my sleep and that I cannot possibly start the day at 6am.

I have realised today that a lot of other parents, probably most other parents, start their day before 7am. We have been incredibly lucky that LP sleeps past 7am and now we need to adjust to LM waking earlier than that.

So, I have decided that when LM wakes up in the morning, as long as it is past 6am, I am getting up. That is my start to do the day and I will embrace it.

I got up at 6am yesterday and 7am today. I have managed today to tidy the house, put washing on the dryer, have a relaxing cup of tea and write a couple of blog posts – all before LP wakes up. Little Man has dozed happily in the swing or lay on the floor smiling at me.

Any time before LP gets up can be incredibly productive. It takes me back to the time when I only had one child to look after and I now appreciate how easy that was – and I had a lot more time for myself than I ever realised.

I am now looking forward to early mornings, more time to do things and regular hot cups of tea!

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