In a not un ironic moment I saw this story at 4am – headline “bad sleep dramatically alters body”.
Researchers conducted a study where they forced people to sleep for less than six hours a night for a week (lightweights) – and found that over 700 genes were altered as a result. The lead scientist was quoted as saying, ”Clearly sleep is critical to rebuilding the body and maintaining a functional state, all kinds of damage appear to occur – hinting at what may lead to ill health.
“If we can’t actually replenish and replace new cells, then that’s going to lead to degenerative diseases.”
I am feeling pretty damn degenerate at the moment, but that’s probably because I’ve been surrounded by illness in the household for longer than I care to think about. In order to cope, I’ve done whatever it takes to help the littlest one to sleep well, and this involves feeding milk on a four-hourly basis and bed sharing. It’s like having a newborn again, except that this particular infant is two, and pipes up, “oi’ve been thinking that oi want some milk now mummy. Just milk and NOT water”.
This has led me to the conclusion that not actively trying to do anything about my child’s sleep is definitely stress-free on one level. I’ve mentioned before how trying to fit into a routine when my boys were babies definitely contributed to my PND. I suspect that Gina Ford and her acolytes would be up in arms at my current antics (as would most normal-thinking people too, I admit). And B is definitely sleeping well as he jabs his pudgy little feet of steel into the small of my back every 10 minutes.
Some people are brilliant at this co-sleeping lark. I’m just not one of them. I like the idea and wish I could sleep comfortably next to my child. But I can’t, and it’s totally doing me in. Last night he came into the bed at 12am, and I barely got a wink afterwards. I suspect “something must be done”, and find myself (yet again), facing the prospect of some form of sleep training.
But every time I approach it, I recoil. The idea of knowingly letting my child cry is anathema to me – and yet the “softer” techniques (gradual retreat, etc) just seem like pulling off a sticking plaster agonisingly slowly. If anyone reading this has successful experience of sleep training a two year-old, I’d really love to hear about it. Or, better still, come round to my house and listen to him yell while I bugger off to the pub.