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Is the eight-hour sleep really a myth?

At this present season of my life, sleep is a precious commodity which is in tremendously short supply for me. I am currently (just barely) surviving on a sleep deficit one day at a time. How I long for just one night of respite to have at least six hours of continuous unbroken sleep. I am begging for one night, please. Just ONE night would make all the difference, I’m sure.

I came across this article on the myth on the eight-hour sleep...

“...Historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech published a seminal paper, drawn from 16 years of research, revealing a wealth of historical evidence that humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks... a first sleep which began about two hours after dusk, followed by waking period of one or two hours and then a second sleep. During this waking period people were quite active. They often got up, went to the toilet or smoked tobacco and some even visited neighbours. Most people stayed in bed, read, wrote and often prayed...”

I for one think that ‘the myth of the eight-hour sleep’ is a myth in itself today. But maybe it’s simply because at the moment I am not given a choice: There is a great difference between waking up in a leisurely fashion in the middle of the night (preferably on a Saturday) and stretching your arms back pondering happily what you’d like to do, VERSUS having your gritty eyes painfully forced open at the sound of the baby monitor blaring loudly in one’s ear.

They say one should treasure every single moment of parenthood. EVERY single moment. Seriously? That too is a myth. There are plenty of moments of parenting that I truly treasure. But lack of sleep is really not one of them.

Yes, I know the years are short. I know this velvety milky baby smell will not last forever. I know my little ones will soon grow out of their little-ness all too soon. And I know the magic of their pure sweet innocence will someday fade away. I know.

But is it okay if I simply do not want to savour this feeling of sleep deprivation? In the end the image this bleary-eyed woman with dark shadows under her eyes staring back at me in the mirror will eventually be forgotten. And all I will remember are just the good ones.

For now, this is what I want most in the world: Sleep. Six hours of it. All in one go. That’s all.

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Linking up to Essentially Jess @ IBOT

Comments

  1. I think once you become a parent, you can kiss the dreams of 8-hr sleep away forever! Even up to now, I've not had a full 8hr sleep since Lil Pumpkin was born. It got to me a lot as a new parent because I do love my sleep and enjoyed it very much before she came around, but I've since learnt to deal with it and it doesn't really affect me that much. Most of the times :p

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

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    1. Forever is a very long time... but yeah, I know what you mean. Thats why I reduce my expectations to 6 hours instead of 8. Well in spite of that somehow we mamas manage to power on... *MOST* of the time anyway ;)

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  2. I really struggled with lack of sleep when my babies where small. I think some people are better at it than others and I am NOT one of those people. Sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture in POW camps! I used to beg for just one sleep in on the weekend, and it made a lot of difference. You are right, one day your little ones will sleep and so will you. Hang in there.
    xx

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    1. You are so right! I am training to be a POW! hahahaha... I'm finding that insanely hilarious and yet true. I shall use that thought to power me on. Thanks Mrs BC.

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  3. Here's hoping for that long sleep! You're right, one night can make a huge difference. Keep positive (though I know it can be hard on no sleep) - it will settle and you will soon look back and realise that broken nights are the exception rather than the rule.

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement Mamagoingsolo. Looking forward to next time when I can someday "look back" on these 'exceptional' nights :)

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  4. I hear you! And you are right - savouring EVERY moment of parenthood is a unrealistic myth. I love being a Mum, I love my kids, and I wouldn't trade any of it for anything... But I don't love sleep deprivation, or for that matter cleaning up someone else's poop ;-)

    Thanks for keeping it real. Here's hoping that uninterrupted sleep comes to you soon

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    1. Thanks for hearing me, Bec. Unfortunately sleep deprivation and poop is just all part of this beautiful package. But as you say I wouldn't trade any of this for anything either!

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  5. Yes, I don't know anyone who savours the 'lack of sleep' part of parenting. Hope you get some more sleep soon!

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  6. I got 5 hours in a row last night, that is as good as it gets for me with 3 kids under 5.5 years, they all seem to take turns getting up - it's amazing how we can function on such little sleep!

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    1. I know, we mamas are really an amazing bunch. 5 hours is as good s it gets for me too, every once in a loooong while. Just trying to push my luck to make it to 6 ^_^

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  7. I woke up this morning saying those exact words "Just one nights Sleep" please! I feel your pain its been 7 months now and the longest block I have had is 4 hours. A wise guy once said to me when you are tired you would pay for sleep and yes I think I would! Hope you get some rest soon.
    Found you on IBOT.

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    1. Haha... it somehow feels nice to make a connection over our common pain. Paying for sleep... now that's an idea! Well, we're allowed to dream can we... oops, I mean daydream, hehe

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  8. Wishing you a great night's sleep very soon. I don't know whether you have tried 'power naps' - hubby is a fire fighter who works shifts and he has got quite good at the quick sleep refresher.

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    1. Thanks Kathy. You might have heard this from other people before, but I am terrible at napping. I wish I knew the secret of being able to close my eyes and just fall asleep. I take a long time to drift off, even at night. I often look up articles on "how to nap" or "how to fall asleep quickly". Happy to hear any tips from you or your hubby!

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  9. Gosh I hope you get it. I know all too well the awfulness that is sleep deprivation! I did it for NINE years and have only recently been 'sleeping through the night' myself and it's as wonderful as I remember it. I know it will be for you too and sooner rather than later I hope!!

    RE your LSA comment on my blog - you can add any other grain, ground almonds, extra cereal or coconut or even raisins to make up the mix. I will make a note on the recipe on my blog, so thanks for your comment!!

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    1. I hope it comes sooner than that for me too! But you survived so I'm sure I will too :)

      And thanks for following up on my question about the LSA mix and the suggestions on other ingredients I can substitute it for.

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  10. Oh goodness. We have only just started having good night's sleep in the past few months with Dora (2.5yrs). Now, I am pregnant and finding that even though she is sleeping, my pregnancy aches and pains are keeping me awake! Argh!!! Wishing you some solid sleep soon :)

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    1. Ah yes! Sounds just like my case too... after enjoying a short period of sleeping through the night with baby #1, the pregnancy took it all away again, and after that it's deja vu all over again with baby #2. But we love them all to bits anyway! Sigh. Thanks, Kaz.

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  11. It's so hard isn't it! I always say how lovely it would be to rewind your children say 2 years after you've had them when you are fully recharged and recovered - imagine dealing with the sleep deprivation then - it wouldn't be so bad then would it?! My baby girl who is 10 months only started sleeping through about 5 weeks ago (if that) and I am in heaven now! I am recovering from Pneumonia and it happened around then thank god - I don't think I would have coped.

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    1. So sorry about your pneumonia... It must have been awful. I hope your recovery is going.well. Really good timing for your little girl to start sleeping through the night... must be providence!

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  12. Sleep deprivation sucks and there is no way around it when it is just you. 'You' at your wit's end and exhausted. It does get better.

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    1. Hi Trish! You are right... especially since I made the choice to exclusively breastfeed. Thanks for stopping by to say hi :)

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  13. I so understand where you are coming from. Last night Little Man slept just over 6 hours and that was bliss!

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    1. 6 hours is awesome! That is my target! Hope he keeps it up ^_^

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  14. It's funny, my 'baby' is 8 now, and I have trouble sleeping even though he sleeps through the night.

    I was desperate for sleep when they were babes, I'm still desperate, but it's just not easy to drop off OR stay asleep any more!

    I hope your wish for just one night comes true sometime soon :)

    MC x
    #teamIBOT

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    1. Oh dear... well it's 8 years of training after all... even before I had the babies, I never had the skill of switching my brain off to go to sleep instantaneously and I'm generally a light sleeper... which I suppose makes it harder with the babies in a way. Thanks for stopping by Miss Cinders.

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  15. How good is sleep???
    Can you imagine though, if we did the two sleep thing now? People would expect the grocery store to be open so they could get a bottle of milk before they went back to bed, and so others would have to work and it would get crazy! I'm so glad that is not a thing now!

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    1. It would get pretty crazy.... although we are staying up much later at night compared to our forefathers, which I'm sure they would think us crazy!

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