When I had Charlie, I was firmly in the Attachment Parenting camp. He slept in a crib next to my bed, and I made no attempt to regulate his sleeping. At night, when it was time for bed, I would rock or hold him until he fell asleep.
With the twins, I did much the same thing until last March. The twins picked up a small virus in January and for the next TWO MONTHS one of them awoke every at hour. At least. I was also six months pregnant. To say I was tired does not even begin to cover it. I was a zombie. I was half a human. We had a college girl come to help out during the day with the twins and I pretty much just slept the entire time she was here.
I started to seriously consider sleep training. A big problem with that, however, is that if one twin wakes up and cries, they often wake up the other one. Next thing you know, you’ve got screaming in stereo, and if Charlie gets woken up? He doesn’t go back to sleep.
I eventually did what I would call “Ferber Lite”–gradually reducing the amount of liquid in their night bottles until they stopped crying for them. I got them down to one waking a night and considered that a blessing. Last month, when I started implementing a routine, that was the first time they both started sleeping through the night consistently. At 19 months.
To prepare for this month I read a bunch of books about sleep training. A LOT. I could go on and on, but today I’m just going to tell you a few of the most interesting things I’ve learned:
- Babies don’t wake up at night because they are hungry. Even babies who are fed continuously via feeding tube will wake up several times during the night. (This one actually blew my mind a little bit)
- People sleep in 90 minute cycles and wake up often during the night–we usually just put ourselves back to sleep without thinking about it.
- Sleeping pills help a person sleep, on average, about twenty minutes more than if you weren’t to take a sleeping pill.
- Human used to have two “sleeps” with a break of about an hour in between. If a person is deprived of all external cues they will gradually start to sleep this way again.
- Before the invention of the light bulb, people slept about ten hours a night.
Hmmmm. . . have I piqued your interest? What sorts of things would you like to know about sleep?