THE SHATTERED PARENT
Partying and weekend lie-ins come to an abrupt end when you have a child. While we know that parents of newborns have no hope of getting a good night’s sleep, it only gradually dawns on you that eight hours a night will remain a dim and distant memory for some years to come.
From toddlers waking up at 5.30am to start the day, to bed-wetting five-year-olds and sevenyear-olds crawling into your bed after nightmares, the primary school years can be just as tiring as the early days.
“I struggled with my sleep throughout my pregnancy and after the birth of my twins,” recalls Katie Brindle. “I had complications and was in intensive care and then I breastfed for six months. It was exhausting. By the time the twins started
HOW DO YOU SLEEP? BEE BERRIE, 37, BESPOKE CAKE MAKER AND MOTHER
“I used to love a good long sleep. But since having my daughter 20 months ago, that has become a distant memory. On a very good night, she’ll just wake up at 3am and then go back to sleep until 6am. On a bad sleeping through, my sleep patterns were so off whack that I needed help, and that’s what drew me to Chinese medicine. Even now, when I’m off balance my sleep is the first thing to go.”
“So many parents are walking around like zombies in the workplace,” Cohen agrees. “Businesses need to work out how to help and support parents, because they are not getting the best out of them in their sleepdeprived states.”
In one study, it was estimated that employed parents miss out on a total of 645 hours of sleep night it will be 11.30pm, 1.30am, 3.30am, 5.30am… she has only slept through the night once since she was born.
“My husband and I go to bed at 9.30pm. We do split shifts; one of us sleeps in our bed and is on call, the other sleeps on the sofa bed with earplugs in.
“I don’t like to complain about it, because sleep deprivation as a new while raising a child for 18 years, compared with those who do not have children. “For someone who needs eight hours of sleep each night, that’s equivalent to missing out on more than 80 entire nights of sleep,” Gregory says. “As a parent, I can tell you that it sometimes feels like a whole lot more.”
What can they do? Cohen works with workplaces to offer one-to-one sleep consultancy services. “The employers who offer this are really enlightened,” she says. But it also makes good business sense: according to US studies, sleep deprivation costs American companies
$63.2 billion (£48.8 billion) a year in lost productivity. “Getting help with your child’s sleep can turn your life around,” Cohen says. Gregory recommends the free website babysleep. com for advice from top paediatrics. parent is normal. But it does feel debilitating at times; I don’t feel I am functioning as I used to.
“Luckily my job (beesbakery.co.uk) is my therapy. I love baking; it’s a massive stress relief.
“This morning, after a 4.30am start, I felt so much better for having baked something; I could bake a sponge cake in my sleep.”
Bee Berrie must cope with the sleep demands of her toddler daughter