The other day as I was getting out of bed, I realized I do the exact same thing every morning: think about sleep (or lack thereof).
The first thing I do is plan how soon I can lay down for a nap. I wonder to myself: will Samuel go down for a morning nap? How long will he sleep? Will he and Lauren be sleeping at the same time so I can catch a few minutes of shut eye?
I feel like sleep has become an obsession these days.
I think about sleep.
I pray about sleep.
I want nothing more than to sleep.
I did some reading on sleep, and found this: "Sleep is essential to normal biological function. The immune system doesn’t work well if we don’t sleep. Sleep researcher Eve van Cauter at the University of Chicago exposed sleep-deprived students (allowed only four hours per night for six nights) to flu vaccine; their immune systems produced only half the normal number of antibodies in response to the viral challenge."
Since I am now fighting a cold, I absolutely believe in the validity of that statement! I know my immune system is struggling with my lack of sleep.
I also read that a parent loses about 350 hours of sleep at night over her baby's first year. Most people talk about the lack of sleep during those first few days and weeks. I say it's really the first 3-6 months that sleep deprivation is at its peek.
When people ask how I'm doing all I want to answer is, "Tired. Exhausted. Sleep deprived." But that answer gets old after three months, so instead I just say, "fine."
I often wonder how mothers of 4, 6, 8 children survive? Do they need less sleep than the average person, or do their bodies eventually adjust? Or do they just live in a constant state of fogginess for a few years?
I knew the lack of sleep would be one of the most difficult aspects of having a newborn and I asked for prayer about that prior to Lauren's arrival. I'm not sure I understood the obsession I would have about sleep or to the degree that it would impact my days.
In fact, in my sleep-deprived state I tried to unlock my front door yesterday by pushing the button to unlock my car. I hit it a number of times before I realized that button was not going to unlock my front door! And that was followed by looking for my cell phone as it was ringing only to discover it was in my back pocket.
I know it will get better. I know I will survive. And, yes, every sleep deprived minute is worth it when I see my baby girl smile at me.
So for now, I claim the promise of Proverbs 3:24, "When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet."