Monday, January 25, 2010

Sleep damaged

Very awake

In case any regular bwb readers are wondering why I haven't moaned about Louis' sleeping lately I have a confession. Since about Christmas, we've actually had some nights that have been, whisper it, OK. Well, better than ok. I've clocked up at least six hours of sleep in a stretch at some points. (Oh, okay, well, once. The other couple of times he's slept soundly I, of course, haven't, waking, wondering what on earth is wrong.) 

I didn't want to mention it because I obviously didn't want to jinx it. But I'm safe now because Louis is still Louis: we've had plenty of shocking nights stirred into the mix. Including some classic evenings last week when I abandoned gave trying to get him to sleep after I'd passed the two-hour mark and just brought him back downstairs. One ended with him and DJ rocking around the kitchen at 10.30pm. Which was pretty funny. But I digress. The breakthrough, I'm sad to say, has all revolved around milk. Turns out there's a direct correlation between the amount he gets in the night (from me) and the amount he sleeps. Well, that and the number of hours Daddy J spends rocking him and singing the Gambler. (Thank you!) 

The reason I'm writing about sleep is because (as ever) it's on our minds. In particular, I'm curious: what kind of a toll does missing all that sleep take? (Some nights he barely manages eight hours and he doesn't exactly catch up on it during the day.) Compare that with his cousin, Tommy, who we reckon clocks up an extra three hours shut-eye in every 24 to Louis'. Which, by my rough calculations, means by the time they hit two years, Louis will have spent four MONTHS more of his life awake than Tommy. Four months! (As will I......)

Now consider that scientists reckon kids' brains do most of their most crucial developing at night, while they are sleeping. And that research is now blaming pretty much every modern disease - obesity, hyperactivity (ADHD) etc - on a lack of sleep. An article at the weekend on this very subject even claimed that some scientists believe that sleep problems during formative years cause brain damage. Now can someone please tell me what I'm supposed to do when Louis just won't go to sleep before 10pm? And, more importantly, how much I'm meant to worry about it? 


solveig said...

I remember when my daughter was a baby that hardly slept at all during the day (and wasn't much better at night either) and I was totally convinced she was going to be developmentally impaired because of it. I really, really worried about it. But what can you do - you can't force them to sleep!

She sleeps well now - light at the end of the tunnel, and all that...

You have a very cute little boy!

The Dotterel said...

Get this.... I put Charlie down for an afternoon nap (rare, these days) at four yesterday afternoon and he didn't wake 'til half-past-six this morning. No tea, no bath, no nappy-change, nothing!

I read that article too, but as Solveig says, you can't make 'em sleep; you can't 'make' anyone sleep (except chemically). Personally, I just think some kids - like some adults - need less sleep than others. If they're getting the right amount for them, they'll be fine.

Iota said...

Psssh! What do 'scientists' know?

Babies who brunch said...

Thank you Solveig! Am sure I should stop posting pics, but this blog was born to post pics when we were living abroad so I figure I either have to delete it or just carrying on posting them! (Which I like doing anyway....)

And what???? Charlie slept through from 4pm until 630am? I don't believe it. Weren't you going frantic??

And thanks Iota. Agreed!

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

I'm with the Dotterel. Some kids do just need less than others. My second being a PRIME example. But, we have got there in the end with him, and he now sleeps most of the time from 8pm to 7am and it is Blissful. It only took 3 years to achieve it though.

Louis is a total sweetie though. What a cheeky munchkin. Love it!

Babies who brunch said...

Great! Sweet dreams in, um, 17 months!!

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