April 17, 2024
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April 17, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Sleep is good for us. It helps us heal, it helps put us in a better mood and it helps put a spring in our step. The National Sleep Association recommends different amounts of sleep for different age brackets. I always thought it was funny when I would read how infants can sleep up to 12 hours. Then you give birth to said infant and the 12 hours turns out to be non-consecutive. I recall fondly that first night home from the hospital when son #1 slept for 15 minutes out of every hour. Eventually, that added up to 12 hours. Over the course of a month. Or possibly two—I was so tired I couldn’t even count to 12. Then the babies who won’t sleep turn into teenagers who won’t do anything else but sleep. Unless, of course, you live in our house, where my husband has raised his sons to follow in his minyan-going footsteps. The one good thing that came from Hurricane Sandy was that son #2 slept until about 1 p.m. because it was too dangerous to walk to shul.

And who doesn’t enjoy trying to wake their kids up for school? That is secretly why we all want to become parents—just to see the joy on our kids faces when we tell them it isn’t a snow day and no way are they missing that bus. You can feel the love.

Some of us, over time, have trouble sleeping. This could be because the person you sleep next to snores like a bulldozer (not speaking from experience) or because you have too much on your mind (also not speaking from experience). Whatever the case may be, it is always good to figure out how to get a decent night’s sleep. Since coming home from Israel, my sleeping has not been up to par. It could be because after not sleeping on the plane, I spent the next night not sleeping in the hospital and the nights after that were restless and included a 4 a.m. I-have-had-it-I-can’t-sleep-I-am-up-for-the-day wake up.

Now when you are in your own home and you wake up at odd hours, you can walk around, watch TV, iron, clean and organize the pantry, fall asleep on the couch. But on one of these nights, we were at a beautiful apartment overlooking New York City. When you wake up, you cannot wander around because you don’t live there. So you stare out the window at the beautiful scenery and count sheep. Or windows, whatever works for you, just hoping to fall back asleep.

But last night (or last week, doesn’t really matter), I finally slept through the entire night!! After weeks of waking up at 4 in the morning to eat a bowl of cereal, I slept through the night! I had a big smile on my face and I couldn’t wait to tackle my day! I wonder if this is how babies feel. The first morning that they wake up all rested. They look around the inside of their crib. “Hmm, my blankie is here, that squeezie thing I like is here … what is so different? Wait a second—what is that light coming through the window? I have never seen that before. Is that the sunshine that everyone is always singing to me about? And why do I feel such a sense of calm? I feel great! But what is that smell, oh yes, I need that nice lady who sings to me to clean me up and get rid of that smell. Probably shouldn’t have had that second jar of green beans. Guess it is time to scream again.”

Sleeping through the night is something we take for granted … like most things. As we get older and our various organs start to work differently, waking up a few times during the night becomes part of our routine. We look back on our youth when we could sleep for hours and hours on end and nothing could wake us up. The second I had son #1, my ability to sleep soundly changed forever. Like the saying, “If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound?” my saying is, “If my son is six thousand miles away and he starts coughing in the middle of the night, can his mother hear him?” Yes, she can. That is what becoming a parent does to you. So even though sleep might never be the same, you wouldn’t want to change that either. And truth be told, that is what Ambien is for … Happy Dreams!

By Banji Latkin Ganchrow

 Banji Ganchrow is now referring to her spouse as her “husband.” She received many clever suggestions, but that one is the winner.

 

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