Healthy Sleep and Mental Health

When I visited my psychiatrist’s office this week, I was just not sure if my high general anxiety level lately was a sign that my medication needs to be adjusted, but I did feel strongly that it had begun before the rather dramatic events of my son’s illness, mine and some bizarre and hurtful behavior by my father. As I was talking to my (awesome!) psychiatrist, I realized that I had been having trouble falling asleep, even before anything particularly stressful had happened. The Plague that descended on my household (Hand, Food & Mouth Disease) extended that stretch of wakefulness. Anxiety about my relationship with my dad didn’t help. We don’t have a lot of room to go up on my Klonopin dose, so if we do, we want to be sure. She asked me how I could ensure four consecutive nights of healthy sleep (at least six hours in a row). At first, I didn’t think it was possible, but then I read some tips on the Sleep Junkie website.

Why wasn’t I taking benadryl to put me to sleep? Well, my son began waking up to nurse a few extra times each night again recently, and is again refusing to sleep in his cosleeper. That means that I have a sweaty, clingy, hungry, growing baby interrupting my sleep, and it means that any sleep aid I take puts us in dangerous co-sleeping territory. Could Nathan take over and give him a bottle for one of the night feedings? Well, no, because it takes so much noise to wake Nathan that I would most definitely be awake, by the time he got the bottle to the baby. Could I sleep in another room in the house? My “house” has four rooms. Total. Including the bathroom and kitchen.

But wait…

Friends and family have stayed over and slept on a comfy, queen-sized air mattress that we keep for just this purpose! It fits in the living room! And if I leave a bottle of breastmilk in the bedroom, with the sleeping males, Nathan could feed the baby before said child woke me up! It was worth a try!

Last night, it worked. I slept for over eight hours. Over EIGHT glorious hours. And do you know what today was like? It was much less anxious. Tonight is a very anxious night, so I’m really sold on this “four nights in a row” thing. Did I mention that my husband is awesome? He is so on board with this idea. And he does not get enough sleep. But a sleepy Nathan is, even to Nathan, much preferable to a super-anxious me. Here goes Night #2! Wish us luck.

Nope. Sleep is necessary. (Also, A Beautiful Mess iPhone app is fun.)
Nope. Sleep is necessary. (Also, A Beautiful Mess iPhone app is fun.)


  1. Brenda said:

    I agree. Healthy sleep is so important. I hope the rest of your nights go as well!

    July 4, 2013
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I knew it was important, but it just seemed so impossible. We really need to stop telling new parents to just live with sleep deprivation. I was ready to start taking more medication! But what if I just need more sleep? Sleep over meds, please!

      July 4, 2013

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