The Big Chill predicted by weather forecasters hasn’t really hit. By the 12th November they’d anticipated us to be under snow. The extremities of the U.K. may have been tickled by some flakes but here in the outskirts of London it’s just got that autumnal bite. And rain. Which was actually quite welcomed as I dropped Harry off at nursery this morning in his PJs (it’s dress up day for ‘Children in Need’) and took to the forest for a bracing run.
One thing the weather predictors missed however, was our tiny corner of South East England. Specifically: our bedroom. It seems to be in a climate zone of its own. No matter how high we ramp up the heating, you still require a chisel to help defrost in the morning. For some reason, it will not retain any heat – be it lack of cavity wall filling or just the two exposed walls that get buffeted by the wind on our corner of the road. You kind of lose the romance when you both head to bed in full body thermals and balaclavas.
For this reason, we have decamped to the spare room as it is a little more temperate. The bed in there was a cheaper IKEA number and the mattress not comfortable. Last winter we moved our lovely, comfy superking in but it was a massive faff. So this year, we capitalised on the sales in Warren Evans and bought ourselves another shiny new big bed to install in the spare room. Organic pocket sprung joy!
When Daddy Unyoung and I are sparring on a daily basis about the challenges of our assigned role (him: the Bank, me: the cook, cleaner and care-giver) it is inevitable that the thorny subject of sleep comes in to it. Let’s face it – neither of us are ever going to have enough. We are both longing for the teenage years when we have to forcibly expel Harry from his bed. Until then – we need to grapple for every bonus minute we can spend buried under the duvet.
Today’s top three are the top three ways to maximise your sleep satisfaction when co-habiting.
- Double Duvet: This doesn’t mean doubling up the duvets for extra warmth. This is about stopping the battle of “you’ve got more duvet” and the ensuing tug of war. I run hotter than a ‘Twilight’ Werewolf at night but no one wants to be hanging on to the edge of the duvet in a bid to avoid full exposure to the elements. To this end, can I recommend a duvet each. He gets to do the full cocoon and I can kick my feet out without fear of losing the entire cover to his side. This also helps when a little person decides to play “Three in the Bed”. Wrapped in his sleeping bag, he doesn’t need the duvet so he can wriggle to his heart’s delight between us both without whipping off my insulator.
- A mattress of two halves: Put the saw away. This is not a time for DIY. Our new mattress is a ‘zip and link’. The sheer size and weight of the beast makes it nigh on impossible to lift unless you are competing for the ‘World’s Strongest Man’ – which my husband clearly isn’t (not much arm girth needed for lifting a golf club – every weekend – on Saturday – and Sunday). The central zip has a much loftier purpose though. We now have a territorial border. When I get up to deal with a little night terror (a dream – not a description of my child… err, hang on…), then it’s a bed free-for-all. I get back to find the husband sprawled across the width of the bed. You ain’t no starfish honey! Get yourself back to your side. The battle of the border then commences with a light shove and then a sharp kick to the ankles! We are then both wide awake and engaged in a healthy 2am debate about where the middle is and who is taking up more than their three feet. No more! Now I have a physical line with which I can genuinely enforce border politics. If you are investing in a new mattress, I would say the zip and link is the way to a happier, healthier marriage (with less bruised ankles).
- Tape it: I’ve always been a good sleeper. If we discount the trips to the loo, that are far more prevalent since pregnancy and birth, then I will generally sleep through the night without insomnia. There is one thing, however, that is guaranteed to keep me awake. The snore! Or to be fair, the heavy breathe. Or, well, just breathing. When you’ve been abruptly woken from your slumber with a demand for a rabbit hug, found the damn bunny that was left downstairs, provided the water, located the dummy and administered some calpol, you just want to get the feck back to sleep! And that, my friends, is when Darth Vader strikes. Another sharp kick to the ankles, a theatrical “shhhhhhh – you’re snoring”, a brutal finger prod and then he rolls over. The revelation in dealing with his nightly disruptive behaviour was stumbled upon as Mr Unyoung loves a podcast on his fifty minute tube journey to work in the morning . As ever, he got home and burbled on about some new learning he had done around breathing (whilst I changed a nappy, stirred the casserole and tried to prize a kitchen utensil out of Wrigglet’s grasp). It was something along the lines of mouth-breathing being unnatural and bad for us blah, blah, blah. So when he reached for the Micropor tape at bedtime and taped over his mouth I looked on with scepticism. But I am a convert! It wasn’t perfect but the snoring stopped and the breathing was far less… breathy. All hail the tape! There have been times when I’ve been tempted to tape over the nasal passages too but he does pay the mortgage… and is a great Dad.
I think my husband would happily stamp on my Fitbit as I throw him my morning statistical analysis of the times I have been restless, thanks to him and awake, thanks to the Wriggles. I have less data to berate him with though courtesy of the somewhat pricey yet effective measures we have put in place. I can however, look forward to a Fitbit tick on my sleep figures tonight as his visa will not allow him border access. Ooh er! And who said romance is dead?
How do you survive co-habitation when sleep deprived? Are you a spoon advocate or does the double duvet option float your boat? Here’s to luxurious lie-ins for us all.