Thursday, December 17, 2009


Our daughter has a sleep cycle wherein her rising time in the morning vacillates between early and ridiculously early. The "good" sleep days generally last between 2 and 4 weeks long; and then the "bad" sleep cycle returns, often lasting 6 weeks to several months.

Lately, we are in a bad cycle. She rises at 4am, typically waking me up (or my husband if it's the weekend and I am sleeping in after the show) every 20 minutes.

We have contemplated systems of change... discussed ideas for delaying interruption of our sleep, deterring her from getting up and turning on the TV so soon, lengthening her sleeping hours somehow. As of yet - to no avail.

The aftermath of the current sleep cycle has been particularly evident and difficult to ignore today, as it has produced a sort of vertigo. My brain is sluggish, my body heavy and thick, and my head has been spinning as if I drank heavily last night. I sway while standing - feel the weight of my head rolling slightly as if pulled by some centrifugal force beyond the length of my shoulders.

Today I will nap. Despite the number of things requiring attention, the intentions I had for my afternoon, and the persistent nagging of my inner critic (who stridently decries such laziness and insists I do something more productive with my time).

I don't always take such good care of myself. I push too hard, challenge my limits, ignore red flags, and often end up in a place of oversensitivity, emotional flatulence, and damaging stress. When I choose this path, not only do I hurt myself, but I end up hurting those around me as well.

So... today, I will try taking care of my needs. Remove my attachment to the shoulds and oughts, let go the disappointment over what did not happen, and slip (deliciously, thankfully, restfully) into sleep.

And although a nap may not be possible for you in this moment, I invite you to check in with yourself and where you are today... and see if a little self-care might be necessary in some form.

May you remain awake to the truth of your being. May you allow yourself rest and care when you most require them.


  1. Did you do it? We've been going through a tough patch with The Noodle (if 4 of the 9 total months she's been around can be considered a "patch"). I keep saying I'm going to nap but never do. But I agree about not taking care of myself...I find the result is low level, occasionally explosive, resentment toward the husband. Totally unfair. And bad for me, the marriage, the baby. Maybe if I take is slow...allow myself one nap a week...I'll finally be able to cut myself some slack.

  2. Hey Elisabeth!! I did end up napping. And slept quite late! Your comment about resentment resonated very strongly for me - it's a cycle I sometimes create as well, and I've tried to be much more mindful of those negatives patterns and choices lately. Of course, the sleep deprivation only serves to further deplete one's patience and clarity of mind!

    I would definitely encourage you to allow some sleep when you can. I know there are often so many things on my list of "to dos" and I am so reluctant to give up my alone time during those afternoon naps... but I often find that when I do allow sleep, I am much better off for it.

    Your idea of starting off slowly is great! Maybe if you think of it as something you would tell a friend to do, it would be easier to "allow" yourself the indulgence without feeling like you've done something wrong? Good luck - and more sleep my mommafriend!