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Sweet Dreams and Goodnight Moon

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Once you join the motherhood, you will forgo your sleep! I love this quote by Leo J. Burke: People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one. Even though we may complain about a lack of sleep, I think most mothers would say we would trade a lifetime of sleep for our children. I remember feeling no guilt in sending my second child back to the hospital nursery after I fed him. I knew I was going to need the sleep. There were many newborn nights I wished for those nurses to come take my baby to the nursery for just a little bit so I might get some sleep. We are all working mothers in the sisterhood sleep deprivation club!

We need sleep like we need to eat healthy and exercise; it's just as important for our bodies. If we want to look and feel good, we need to get our beauty rest. I read that up to 70 percent of Americans are sleep deprived. Bad things happen to those who do not sleep: weight gain, diabetes, heart attacks, depression, and high blood pressure. You know the song, "I like to move it, move it?" Well, our bodies do like to "move it" but we also need to "rest it, rest it!" We are programmed to follow the sun; getting up when we see it, going to bed when we don't. Staying up late can damage our physical and mental wellness. I have a hate hate relationship with my alarm clock. I love when I can beat my clock and wake up before hearing that cruel loud noise.

I'm a fairly light sleeper but I still manage to stay half asleep even when awakened. I remember visiting my husband's sister in Atlanta. I was the first to go to sleep and in my dreams I could hear Dana calling for Dixie (their dog). I threw my arm over onto my husband's side and told him to go help Dana find Dixie. I was surprised to learn that I had simply covered up Dixie with my arm. I had no idea she was there!

Getting up in the middle of the night to nurture my babies was a bit like sleep walking for me. I wasn't asleep, but I wasn't awake either! When it's your child, you force yourself to try and wake up a little so you don't do anything silly. I'm happy to report, I have never mistaken a basset for a baby.

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I don't have a problem falling asleep; I have a problem not getting enough sleep. Whenever I get a massage, I fall asleep and need to wipe the drool from my face. Needless to say, I don't have a problem relaxing! We have two basset hounds that sleep all day long, yet they still look exhausted! They are always "dog tired!"

I love yoga; but after all those downward dogs I always wish that savasana (corps pose) would last thirty minutes instead of ten. Yoga is already so restorative; it's a big bonus that you can arrive in flip flops, get an awesome workout, and then take a little nap at the end.

When I'm working I tend to wake up early, and when I'm not working I stay up late. Mornings seem to be the very best time for me to read. I make sure I have a handy supply of pens, paper, books, newspaper... If I get up early enough, I can literally "take my time."

It's funny that as I write this it's 11:30 at night and I can hear my baby's sound machine of ocean waves in the next room. It makes me feel good to know he's sleeping so peacefully. How I would love to crawl into his crib with him, but I aspire to push myself a little bit more because I know it won't be possible during the day. I love the silence of the night! It's as if the world is mine for an hour or two. It's a time when nobody needs me. Moms need time to ourselves, and that time must be quiet!

I'm assuming I'm like most moms and truly enjoy the nighttime; when everyone is asleep I get things done at my own pace. If you're a mom of young children you know how time consuming your day is. I save a lot of things for later. What usually happens is I'll start something and not finish it.

Productivity for me comes either late at night or early in the morning, These are the times that I'm most creative. When do you get your best ideas? I am most relaxed when my children are sleeping. Nobody needs Mommy and I can be "off duty" for the evening!

My four year old daughter stopped taking a nap a while ago. When she does nap, it's an accident (falling asleep in the car or watching a show). I will always remember a magical moment when we took a family nap at the beach. It was so blissful; the ocean waves, breath of babies, afternoon sun... Naps are exhilarating! You awake restored and rejuvenated! Think about Italy, Greece, Spain and Mexico where they have siestas. This is so healthy; no wonder they're so beautiful (they get plenty of beauty sleep)! So what if they eat at 11:00 at night, they have a long afternoons rest. Oh for a siesta culture!

I imagined Japan works their culture to death, well they do actually! Because of this they are implementing "inemuri" sleep while present. There are times when I feel present but am asleep!

I remember once a janitor we had at our school would take naps in the utility closet. Teachers would open the janitor's closet to get something out and we would often find her asleep in there. She had a special chair that clued her into relaxation. It was so funny but the more I think about it, the more I wish we really had an official siesta! I've read midday naps increase productivity and alertness. Sleep at any time of day is like opening the gate to release the stress of everyday life. Maybe a special chair or special place would help.

I recently had a school workshop and had to wake up earlier than usual. This meant I also had to wake my children instead of them waking up on their own. It was sweet to hear my daughter Zooey stretching and say her first thoughts. She told me about her dream, she was swimming with a "pepper" (puffer) fish and it popped!

I usually don't remember my dreams and when I do, I know I'm well rested. I've heard some people keep notebooks by their beds so they can remember their dreams. When I was pregnant with both my children I often had dreams of my teeth falling out. I remember researching what this meant and it made total sense because that dream symbolized a fear of change. The change being, I was about to lose sleep for a loooong time! I read so many books on how to get your baby to sleep. What I need to do is practice what I preach to my children and get myself to sleep, but there's always something more to do.

When I finally get to bed I recite in my head, "Goodnight moon, goodnight room, goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere! Just like a child, that's all it takes! Counting sheep was always overated.

We all need to get more sleep, but here's to doing the best for us! If that means we're up a little late, then try not to be the next night. If you're lucky enough to have a siesta, relish it! And on that note, I'm going to say goodnight moon.
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Photos: Mary Cassatt's Breakfast in Bed, Besame Mucho (one of Ashley's basset hounds), Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon Niki Sands' In My Bed

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