Time was that sleep was an irritation, a necessary interruption to life’s great adventure.
Nights out would begin with a phone call or knock at the door and end sliding off a night bus in time to grab a shower and a piece of toast and head off into work. These days if the phone rings after 10pm it’s safe to assume that it’s an emergency and not the beginning of a round robin about where to meet.
This isn’t going to be a nostalgic post about lost youth or freedom but the reflection is a vital part of laughingly acknowledging that when we’ve got it we’re always desperate to throw it away…
In February it will be 8 years since I officially signed my life away to the sleep demons.
It’s not just that your nights become fractured by night feeds and crying babes – there’s actually something magical about being the only person awake in the world when you’re breastfeeding in the wee small hours – it’s the fact that your complete structure of sleep changes, deep sleep becomes a long-forgotten friend – you raise a forlorn glass to them whilst singing Auld Lang Syne but you’re certainly no longer on speaking terms. Sleep shifts to No1 on your ‘Top 10 things I want to do this year’ list and it laughs mockingly at you as you doze off on the sofa just as ‘Stenders begins.
There are some benefits to this life of deprivation though. A permanent excuse for being a bit dim is just one. For me it’s those stolen moments I cherish the most – falling asleep with my youngest when she insists that I stay for a cuddle at bedtime, snuggling back down at the weekend with the kids playing happily in their rooms (or more likely spilling cheerios all over the kitchen floor), and summer afternoons when the sun slashes across the bed and you curl up ‘just for a minute’ before the urgency of the school run kicks in.
I wonder if there’ll ever be a return to a proper night’s sleep or a morning where I don’t feel as if I’ve been spewed straight from the hellmouth? Smiling ironically I’ll say “Only time will tell”.