E+E Column: Regarding Sleep

Dear children of mine, it seems as though some of you haven’t quite got the right idea about sleep so thought I’d lay out some truths for you here. I’ve made this letter public in case some of your peers are suffering under the same mistruths as you are…

Firstly, sleep is not the enemy. Nor is it a punishment. I’m not quite sure where this aversion to sleep comes from but I assure you that it is necessary and can indeed be quite enjoyable. In fact, I have it on good authority from parents of teenagers that in 10 years or so, you’ll be striving to meet with your good friend sleep much more often than is realistically possible if you want to get anything else done that day. But for now, each bedtime brings a battle. And I don’t know why! Sleep helps you grow, it helps you reenergise for the coming day, if you’re lucky it might bring some pretty good dreams with it as well. And the bedtime routine itself is quite enjoyable, stories, snuggles… I’m not quite sure why once your head is on the pillow you start the fight.

Because the second thing is, we know all your tactics. And I mean all of them. You’re not thirsty, you’ve just weed, the light is on, you can’t possibly have had a bad dream in the 45 seconds since I left your room. You, my dear child, are busted. And baby, you are not much better. Writhing and giggling, kicking and gurgling, whilst simultaneously yawning and rubbing your eyes. It is quite obvious that you are tired. So I’d like you both to stop messing about and just sleep! I promise you that if I was allowed to go to bed at 7pm each night with no more cares for 12 hours, I’d be grasping that invitation with both hands and succumbing to the peace that is sleep! So let’s stop fooling around and accept sleep when it is offered.

And finally, when it comes to waking up, there is a certain decorum involved. No one wants a 6am wake up call that involves elbows in ribs, a constant refrain of ‘is it morning time yet?’ or worse, hysterical screaming. Our neighbours especially will not appreciate any of the above. We are not opposed to a gentle sliding into our bed for a cuddle and you are most very very welcome to play quietly in your room for a while. Once over the age of 10, waking up isn’t a process akin to flipping a switch. It is more of a gradual emergence into a state of bleary eyed consciousness. Some parents may do it with more grace than others but none of us can muster the enthusiasm that you crazy young things posess from the moment your eyelids snap open. Just remember that tomorrow morning.

So if you could just take onboard the key points here and implement them accordingly, we’d be most appreciative. Ta.

Sincerely, foolishly hoping, your chronically sleep deprived Mum.


Blissful sleep!

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