I have a friend from highschool who to this day tells me I taught her how to sleep. The cool temperature, the dark room, the white noise, nothing is better. Having the right tools makes all the difference in the world – I’ll never understand the people who love to sleep in a fish bowl, eh hem my husband, with bright sunlight shining in.
Where I come from, there is no rise and shine – you wake when you wake. I remember, as a child, my room at bedtime was pitch black, the air conditioner was running (which provided the BEST white noise) and the blankets were extra fluffy. Sleep was, and still is, sacred on my little island of Jamaica. If you were to visit with my Jamaican family, they would make sure you “Rest your bones” in the afternoon and even turn the AC on a few minutes early to make sure the room was sufficiently cold by the time you were tucked in.
My own visitors can attest to my strict level of sleep comfort. Our house ‘shuts down’ between one and three o’clock every afternoon – I don’t care if you sleep, but you must rest.
My five year old could even tell you all about the importance of sleep and how your body needs to turn off for a bit so it can restore itself. She knows that darkness is best and that you get “very grumpy” if you have not had adequate rest.
The CDC believes that 1 in 3 adults do not get enough sleep. “As a nation we are not getting enough sleep,” said Wayne Giles, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of Population Health. “Lifestyle changes such as going to bed at the same time each night; rising at the same time each morning; and turning off and removing televisions, computers, mobile devices from the bedroom, can help people get the healthy sleep they need.”
This is a privilege many mothers and fathers do not have access too because of their infant babies and toddlers. I know first had what that is like and with my first born, I was exhausted and irritated and couldn’t settle myself to enjoy her infancy because my head was always spinning.
As soon as baby Emma was on a predictable schedule, and I had taught myself what to expect from her sleeping patterns, I could make myself more available to my own life. I was more rested, less irritable and I could enjoy my baby girl and not just sit around wondering when she may or may not go back to sleep. Giving the gift of sleep to someone can only enrich their lives and provide predictability for themselves and/or for their children.
Predictability and availability are the cornerstones of a thriving and successful way of life, for both children and adults. Routines and rhythms and a restored brain and body make for a calm day to day existence.
I want both parents and children to experience a restful sleep. Infancy goes by fast, if you blink, you may miss it.