(As featured on the Today Show Parenting Team: Sleeping Challenges) Today Parenting Team Contributor


Okay, before you start throwing stones, it’s not my fault. I didn’t do anything particularly special to get her to sleep. She just did. My daughter Channing has always been a great sleeper. Since the day she was born she slept in 3 hour intervals and like clockwork, woke up, ate, and went back to sleep for another 3 hours. Then by 2 months, she was sleeping in 6 hour chunks at night. No joke. We used blackout curtains, a sound machine and lots of ball bouncing. Nothing out of the ordinary. I asked my doctor at her checkup if I should be worried. She said “No. But you should keep it to yourself because other moms will hate you.” Fair enough.

CHAN SLEEPINGI never experienced the hate, but I could definitely see the envy in the eyes of other moms. Or they would hint that maybe I was not being truthful about her sleeping patterns. I get it. I’d think I was lying too. But I can’t be the only mom who’s experienced this, right? (crickets…) What I always told them, and still do, is that she’s a great sleeper, but I’m not. I haven’t slept more than 4 hours straight in probably 10 years. I would like to be able to blame my exhaustion on my child, or being so worn out from activities with her, but the bottom line is I don’t get enough sleep at night. And it’s a common problem millions of women face every day.

The National Sleep Foundation says women need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Talk about a dream! And many women are also very light sleepers and suffer from sleep disorders. My problem is I can’t seem to turn my brain off at night. The NSF says 63% of women experience symptoms of insomnia a few nights a week. Bingo. My mind is constantly ticking away on the list of things I need to do, or conversations I had, or things I want to accomplish. I’ve tried warm milk, hot baths, Melatonin, Ambien and a sleep study among other things to get to the root of why I can’t sleep. My doctor suggested a sleep psychologist which sounds very lovely if I had the money or time for such a luxury. But now I’m beginning to think I need to make this luxury a priority because my health is on the line.

Doctors say lack of sleep can lead to obesity (check) diabetes (not yet) and memory loss (huh?). All of which truthfully could happen to me at any moment. I don’t think we as a culture understand just how important sleep is for our everyday life and health. While I’m relieved and grateful I have a child who gets good sleep, I find myself being envious of her and praying that she never has to struggle with sleep problems. But if she does, maybe by then I’ll have learned some ways to help her through it.

I would love to hear what other moms are doing to get good sleep. Or is everyone in the same boat as me?

Okay, you can pick your stones back up now. But please use them for notable crafts and not nasty comments.