Coping without sleep


 carers humour

I used to think I knew what it was like to be tired; after all, my first child, Gina, did not sleep for six hours straight until she was two-and-a-half. Then I had my second little beauty, Tanya, who decided to beat her sister by going without a full night’s sleep for four-and-a-half years!

When Tanya was less than a year old their father, Steve, had a severe stroke and the little bits of sleep I had been grabbing became a faded memory. In fact, everything was pretty much fading. I could hardly remember what I was doing from moment to moment.

I thought it would be a good idea to write things down. At the end of each day, I would find the same notes in several different pockets. It reached a point when I was driving to the hospital and saw the road change shape and float up towards me. I realised that it was time to try to get some sleep!

When you become a carer people are full of good advice: “sleep well”, “eat healthily”, “take some time for yourself” and I used to reflect on this advice as I took my shower at 2am while listening out for a big or a little voice calling for my help. It is easy to be aware that these things are important; it is not so easy to do something about them.

In this issue, we look at some of reasons why sleep has to be a high priority and how it may be possible to get some much needed rest.