We all know what a struggle it can be to get enough quality sleep when you’re a parent, and some of us even have experience of insomnia too. I’m really pleased to have guest blogger Ashley Hayes writing for this week’s My Mountain feature to share her experience of how difficult childhood sleep issues can be…
As a mom of a 5-year-old I can understand how your heart melts when you go to wake up your son in the morning and he croons in for those 5 minutes of extra sleep. But… what if you go to wake up your little heart and see him already awake toddling with his teddy?
Hi…I am Ashley, a part time music teacher and a full time mom who messes up with cookies in the oven, forgets to do the laundry at times and often leaves the garden hose uncoiled on the grass bed…an imperfect mom but one perfectly in tune with her little boy Aaron.
And yes…this is my story of a young mom who is battling sleepless nights only to leave the bed with the morning sun and find her little boy also struggling for sleep in bed. This was my everyday story when Aaron was about 5 and a little older.
At first I thought that it was just a couple of those quirky days when you and your little one feels under the weather, but gradually it became an everyday ritual making me more worrisome and compelling me to think what lay behind those sleepless nights. It was not long that I realized that little Aaron and me were both unconsciously struggling with insomnia-a medical condition of sleep disturbance where one has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep all night.
For the next one month I shifted my sleep spot to give company to my little heart and observe closely, the truth behind the story. To my horror, till now it was me who would turn sides, check my smart phone messages umpteen number of times and stroll down the kitchen to pass those horrifying hours of sleepless nights, but now I saw my son struggling in bed, changing sides, counting the tiny stars in the night ceiling formed by the new luminous light shade bought by his dad last week and making pillow mountains to pass the hours of the night.
Trust me…seeing little Aaron not get his share of peaceful sleep and waking up with those ugly dark patches under those almond eyes was perhaps the worst nightmare that I could imagine with my eyes wide open!
Of course, I couldn’t settle down with this and decided to get to the depth of the matter. Thankfully, for the next couple of months Pierre-my husband was away for a client’s project to Mexico and I had all the time on earth to uncover the reasons for this abnormal condition and resume things to normalcy.
Yes! Believe me I drenched myself in the study of insomnia, read journals, surfed the internet like an insane, talked about it with friends, colleagues and even experts. I surveyed people around me to learn about sleep patterns and in a month or so I was good enough to host a talk show on sleep…if ever there was one!
One thing was for sure…hitting the doctor’s desk and ending up with a prescription full of nasty pills was the last thing on my list. I was dead clear, that I would fight insomnia the natural way through some healthy lifestyle changes. So…almost after a month of research and study here are some changes that I adopted in little Aaron’s and my life. Take a look:
- Aaron had to part with his night milkshake loaded with marshmallow fluff and I had to give up my black coffee. In place, we both had a glass of warm milk with crushed almonds. Almonds are not only good for the brain, but this lukewarm drink soothes your nervous system inviting sleep.
- Aaron loves his warm showers and so do I. The only change in the shower was the introduction of a few drops of lavender oil. The essential oil has the magic to release stress and soothe you…and trust me even five-year-old kids do have stress!
- All my readings found way in the kitchen menu. Yes, for the next couple of months the mom-son duo feasted on green leafy vegetables absorbing them not only in salads but also sandwiches, pasta, toasts, tacos and everything that could embrace it. Not to forget, we generously sprinkled our salads and sandwiches with pumpkin seeds, nuts and wheat germs to increase our intake of magnesium, the quintessential element that plays a key role with sleep.
- Aaron also bid goodbye to all TV shows and cartoons post 7 pm and I was never a TV buff, but yes, I had to constrain my habit of picking up my phone and checking mails. So, a couple of hours before our designated time of sleep we were completely away from all electronic gadgets especially those emitting bright light and sound.
Guess what…these were the only tricks and changes in our lifestyle that we opted. Honestly, I was not very sure of the end results when I started with them but…after 4-5 days of sound, undisturbed, restful sleep I couldn’t thank myself and all the people who had advised me to opt these tips.
Gradually, these tips became effortless and a part of our everyday life. Two months later when Aaron accompanied me to the airport to see dad who was returning home, Pierre could not resist staring at Aaron and say that he looked much healthier and well slept. No doubt…the ugly patches under the eyes had now turned into the bright gleam that shone from his dark almond eyes. Fairy Sleep had finally blessed Mom and Son!
Ashley Hayes is a young Mom who takes lessons in music and loves to play with her five year old son. She has suffered phases of insomnia during her teens and later with her toddler son. So, in a way she is determined to fight sleep issues and help all those who suffer from this sleep disorder. She has worked extensively on the subject and her site www.sleepheavn.com unfolds every truth and fact about sleep which can intrigue your mind on this curious subject of which we are practically unaware while we practice it every day. One day Ashley wants to travel around the globe with her better half and son and unravel the mysteries of the world while sharing her wisdom on perfect sleep. You can also catch Ashley on Twitter @sleepheavn
Do you have a parenting challenge you’d like to share? If you’re interested in contributing to the My Mountain series please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.