My babies sleep fine, I’m the one with the problem!

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Out of fairness to my children, the sleeping problems in the house are all mine. Both kids wake up once in the night for a feed. For the past week, this has been a tandem feed around 1 am. Tandem feeds require both moms, because the aim is to keep them as quiet and calm as possible and that can be hard with two babies sometimes.

But they generally eat and then go back to sleep straightaway – this week has been a bit of a bitch, but I don’t know how coloured that is by my little issue. Namely, I cannot fall back asleep once I have woken up.

Last night for example – a textbook, lovely night. Both woke up to eat around 1:30 am. I fed Coconut – total time for waking up, making bottle, eating, and falling back asleep was probably less than 15 minutes. I put her down in her cot, left Snort with TMD, and headed (fearfully? reluctantly?) to the bedroom.

My ass didn’t sleep until I heard birds outside and the sky was lightening. I figure I got about 30-40 minutes of sleep, and that’s probably being generous. So while the babies are the reason I did get up in the first place, they certainly aren’t the reason I stayed up. This has happened every single night this week, this bizarre baby-induced insomnia.

It turns into a vicious cycle because I then am literally falling asleep at 7:30 pm for the evening (once at 4:00 pm this week!) because I cannot keep my eyes open. So I guess by the time I wake up around 1ish, I’ve had a good deal of sleep – at least for a twin mama.

Two nights ago I used burning amounts of Tiger Balm (good shit, good shit, good shit) on my forehead – the burning sensation totally made me focus on that (slightly worried I was burning my skin off and would be left looking like a smiling and unsleeping skull) rather than my headache. This everlasting gobstopper of a headache probably is related to the fact that I am starting my days at like 1:15 every morning. Who wouldn’t be tired and headachey by the next afternoon?

So, what do I do? My usual trick of having Friends on quietly in the background while I fall asleep isn’t working – I find myself lying awake and listening to every episode on a disc (all 6 of them, on repeat) all night long. Reading doesn’t help; my thrilling cave woman books don’t make me sleepy, but nor do they particularly rouse me to new heights of wakefulness. The Tiger Balm has scented our whole bedroom till it smells like we are on an authentic filmset for an exotic smell-o-vision movie of the far east.

How do I get back to sleep? My plan for today is to treat this shit as jetlag – force myself to stay awake today, force myself to do more than just lay or sit in a stupor today, and then maybe I’ll be tired when I get to sleep. Tired enough to go back to sleep after the middle of the night feed. Of course, if I still don’t sleep, I will curse myself all the hours I missed out by pretending this was jetlag rather than…than…lifelag.

Any suggestions? TMD said I shouldn’t stay in bed, but I’m at a loss of what else I can do. She is now sleeping on the couch (in an effort to let me sleep unmolested by babies and things), so the only rooms in the house with no babies are my bedroom, the bathroom, and the kitchen. Though the kitchen is tiny and connected to the lounge where TMD is sleeping.

So it’s like – sit on the toilet and read? Set up a tent in the backyard and hope the physical exertion and challenge of tent erecting in the dark tire me out? Or….stay in my room and read cave people books, pretending that the Tiger Balm is some sort of rendered mammoth fat I have invented in my role as Head Magical Cave Woman?

Help, please. Anyone else get this happening to them?

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15 Responses to “My babies sleep fine, I’m the one with the problem!”

  1. Pshouseblog Says:

    I think…have a normal day. And when insomnia hits at night start some sort of physical regimen. It may be your bodys way of telling you it’s ready for new activities. Start doing gentle stretches and really try to strengthen your muscles for 15-30minutrd, don’t get online or watch tV (I swear I read a study that said tv screens& computer screens act as a stimulant) maybe treat yourself to a long hot bath (relaxing activites in other words) and then try again to lie down for sleep after an hour of that.
    Good luck mama!

    • existere Says:

      But the exercise during the day, right, because that would wake me up too?? I guess stretches and breathing ones would calm me…but I think you may be right about being ‘ready for more.’ Part of me rebels against that because of how active and hard my days are, but a smaller part really does think you’re right.

      I may try a bath tonight. Don’t know why that didn’t occur to me before. TMD also suggest4ed a walk outside but she knew I would get freaked by that, so maybe I’ll try sitting in the backgarden. At the very least, it’ll be a way to cool off.

  2. Katie B. Says:

    I agree with more physical exercise. I know it hurts! Chamomile tea? Sitting in the garden sounds good.. Can you find some gentle yoga or something that focuses on core strength?

    Beyond that, *hugs*. I have pregnancy insomnia that’s manifesting as lying awake for an hour or so after I go to the bathroom during the night. Every time. Which results in me *not* getting up to go, because I want to sleep. It’s not pretty.

  3. Lara Says:

    If I go to bed at 7:30 (which I sometimes REALLY want to do) and I get woken up after a good amount of sleep (1 am would DEFINITELY do that) then I would not be able to go back to sleep for hours. I need to be REALLY tired to fall back to sleep, and that qualifies as about 3 nights’ worth of sleep 8 months ago 😉
    So, my advice is to do your best to not go back to sleep until later in the evening. I know it’s ridiculous, but I generally don’t go to bed until 11 or midnight. But I always fall back to sleep when I’m up with the babies if I’ve only been asleep for a couple of hours.
    Hope this fixes itself soon!!

    • existere Says:

      Yeah, I think the whole twin mom thing (you know, six hours is a TON of sleep) may be what is screwing me up, though I seem to have taken screwed up to the next level…

  4. Sarah Says:

    Oh, I feel for you! I went through a stretch where I couldn’t sleep after a feed 2-3 times a week and then it went down to one. It went down to once a week, then once a month, and then….well I don’t remember when my last bought was. This probably means I am due for one soon.

    When the sleeplessness hits, I get out of bed because if I stay, I get irrationally angry that Steve is still sleeping. Even though I know screen time is supposed to be a no-no, I watch TV or play online. Typically, I’m back asleep within 2 hours. The next day, I resist a nap if I can. IF I absolutely must sleep during MP’s nap, I try to hit the AM nap. I don’t nap after 3 pm- it messes with my night too much.

    Other things-
    – During pregnancy, I discovered my insomnia was most often related to being hungry.It seems that at that time of night, my brain is on the “Dude, it’s night time not eat time.” train of thought and this overrides my stomach trying to signal otherwise. So if I can’t sleep, I tune into myself to find out if I could be hungry.
    -Along those lines, my brain will keep me up racing if I have a headache. Take a tylenol and I’m out in 30 minutes.
    –I cut myself off of caffeinated drinks after 4/5pm.
    -I do find that although mentally I am drained, I don’t burn enough physical energy. The days I am able to get out for a walk (or even just running errands), I sleep much better.
    – I also agree with Lara- resist going to bed until later. The earlier in bed I am, the harder it is for me to wake if I am roused. This seems that a very cruel joke.

    Hoping the insomnia dissipates!

  5. boo Says:

    lots of sympathy coming your way – its bad enough when you can’t sleep because of babies but when your body conspires too…
    these work for me, so maybe they’ll help you too –
    peppermint oil rubbed on your temples for the headache and drinking lots of water through out the day.
    as much fresh air as you can manage, allowing for babies and pain.
    lists. lie in bed and concentrate on having calm, slow breathing. then start a mental list of alphabetical stuff, eg a is for (apple, anise agapanthus, aardvark…)choose some catagory that you know well and just run through the alphabet. i usually find that after about m or so i’m asleep although on a bad night it might take two catagories… i know it sounds dull but that’s the point – switch off the over active brain, calm everything down and relax into sleep.
    when i was pregnant and dad was dying i was a little tense and i found this worked very well, within reason… just remember not to wake up SO to ask for an answer to the hard ones…
    good luck!

    • existere Says:

      Hey, I don’t judge ‘dull’. Last night I tried counting sheep but then got caught in in visualizing all different sorts – cartoon, claymation, real, etc. I am crazy.

      • Winnie Says:

        That is AWESOME. I’m so sorry that you weren’t sleeping well and had to resort to a time-tested tradition, but I really do think it’s cool that you made your sheep unique! 🙂

        xxx I’m sending you lots of sleep vibes!

  6. The Barreness Says:

    Yep – I get that a lot, and The Baron snores, and I lie there hating him and planning how to hide his body…1, 2 hours tick by… I really probably should get up, but I find (sometimes) listening to podcasts helps, and sometimes white noise, and sometimes (when I’m very desperate) my hypnobirthing relaxation track, which leads you through body relaxation which I find focuses the mind on only one thing and that normally works.

    • existere Says:

      My podcasts are my traditional fallback – used to sleep to them every night. But I found last night I listened to two 45 minute lectures on Buddhism and was awake the whole time. I learned a lot, but would have rather been sleeping!! I also tried a mindfulness meditation relaxationy thing – you’re not supposed to fall asleep during it but I do every time I use it. I think that is what eventually got me snoozy. I am glad I’m not alone, and not the only one wanting to kick their partner’s ass for sleeping!

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