Dark and Silence. Do you have either? I don’t. The only time I am in complete darkness is when the lights go out at my office. Because there are no windows, the office is completely dark if all the power goes off. I am always shocked at how disorienting it is to be in complete darkness. And silence? I definitely don’t experience that. Again, the time when I have the most silence in my normal life is at home if the electricity goes off. Then I’m struck by how much noise is in my daily life (fans, humming refrigerator, air conditioning, etc.)
I’ve been wondering about both the noise and the light and how it might be keeping me and my family from sleeping as well as we should. Nicholas’ room is probably the darkest at night since we have black-out curtains on his window, but he does have a nightlight. Our room, which is where Tobin’s crib is as well, has way too much light at night. Between the light coming in from the courtyard outside and our digital clocks, our room is pretty well lit. It’s lit well enough that we can easily change a diaper without turning any additional lights on. I wonder if it’s keeping us from sleeping more deeply.
And the noise? Forget it. We live in an apartment complex with neighbors who are on shift work. We hear alarms, airplanes from the nearby airport, cars pulling in to the parking lot, and all of the other noise I talked about before. There is a good bit of snoring as well. I’m a light sleeper unless I’m exhausted, so all of that is pretty difficult on my sleep. To make matters worse, I worry that if I do something to actively block noise (like earplugs) I won’t hear T if he needs me. And before you freak out, William is up just as much as I am with the kids, but he is a deeper sleeper than I am and I hear the kids before he does. I always feel if I can keep T from completely freaking out before I get to him at night, maybe he won’t wake up all the way and will be easier to put back to sleep.
I recently read about the problems related to noise pollution in this month’s issue of Real Simple. I’ve heard it before, that those who don’t get enough sleep often get sick sooner and worse than those who do. Based on my sleep from before having kids and being exponentially less busy, I seem to need a good 9 consecutive hours of sleep to feel really rested. I’d say that I get about 6 hours now, and it’s interrupted pretty regularly.
I am not blaming my lack of sleep on having kids, because I know it gets better (and I know it could be a *lot* worse). I do think I’m going to try to make some adjustments to the elements I can control though. I’m going to try some of the suggestions in the article in addition to cutting down on the light and noise before bed (and in the bedroom). Who knows, maybe Tobin will sleep better too.
I would love to hear how you get a good night’s sleep. If you don’t already, what would you do to try to make your sleep better?