There is so much I would like to write about including our upcoming race, a new attempt at sleep-training for the girls, and the fact that I’m sick, again, but I don’t have enough time. It’s already 10:30, and because of my recent decision to try to prioritize sleeping, I need to be heading for bed now.
So that is what I want to write about, briefly, recommitting to sleep. Maybe recommit isn’t the right word because I’m not sure I’ve ever fully committed to sleep in the first place. I have NEVER gotten enough sleep. Not since middle school, anyway. In high school and college, I realized that to do the amount of homework that had to get done, I would never have any social life if I didn’t sacrifice some sleep. Not that I was ever out enjoying an especially active social life, but I used to try to see my friends more than once or twice a year like I do now. The sleep deprivation didn’t bother me too much because I could usually “catch-up” (even though the experts say that you can’t) on weekends or during periods of less activity, such as during the summer, on holidays, and over breaks.
Then I began teaching, and again, I was frequently severely sleep-deprived. I got into the habit of coming home Friday afternoons, going to bed around 4 or 5 p.m., and then sleeping until the next day. This wasn’t the ideal system, but I managed to function.
Fast forward to life with children. There is no catching up on the weekends because those girls are up and raring to go at 5 or 6 a.m. I can’t ever go to bed early because I always have work to do for school. And if I’m trying to get any kind of exercise at all, that sucks up any potential “free” time or time for extra sleep that I might have had. But after 2.5 years of living this way, it’s starting to take its toll.
I recently read in an article that stated that for new moms, the effects of sleep-deprivation can present themselves with the same symptoms as postpartum depression. I’m wondering if this is still true a couple of years down the road. Can a lack of sleep cause the same symptoms as depression? Please don’t take this too seriously. I don’t think I’m struggling with depression. But there are days when I just struggle. Having to wake up every morning is probably the worst feeling, physically and mentally, that I go through all day. Lately I’m very easily irritated, prone to crying, and am just all-around cranky a lot of the time. I think this is largely due to my lack of sleep. For awhile I’ve been trying to just recognize this, and have been doing some things to attempt to consciously put myself in a better mood, but I’m beginning to realize the futility in all of this, and I’m thinking it’s time to go right to the source of the problem and try to get more sleep.
This is especially frustrating because this contradicts other goals I have set for myself this year. I really wanted to increase my running and make progress on my speed. I wanted to increase my writing and start trying to figure out how I could possibly work more writing into my professional life. I wanted to clean up my house and organize my office. But I’m beginning to think that all of these goals need to take a backseat to sleep, at least for a little while, to see if it helps. I don’t want to be a cranky mother. I don’t want to lose my patience every day. I don’t want to snap at my kids and then regret it. I don’t want to feel like crying every time I have to wake up.
In light of this, I need to stop here and go to bed. I’ll try to revisit this idea soon.