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Has Your Family Suffered From the Bed-Rotation Syndrome?

Well, there is a high chance that if you have little kids at home your family has experienced this at some point of your life as a parent. When children are young most parents suffer sleep deprivation to some degree.
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Well, there is a high chance that if you have little kids at home your family has experienced this at some point of your life as a parent. When children are young most parents suffer sleep deprivation to some degree.

Research shows that a new baby typically results in 400-750 hours lost sleep for parents in the first year.

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My experience and what I see from other fellow sleep deprived parents is that we tend to try crazy things in our desperation 1) to cope with our exhaustion in the middle of the night and 2) to reduce any further lack of sleep.

Although I never intended to and was not in my parenting plan, I now have fallen into co-sleeping and into what I called the bed-rotation syndrome.

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We all know what co-sleeping is about but to be honest it has hardly worked for us. Our bed is not big enough for all the family and our girl would generally spread her little body in a horizontal way so only she could fit there. Usually we are kicked off our own bed, others nights we need to stay in our girls bedroom and that is how the bed rotation syndrome was born at our home.

So what is exactly the bed rotation syndrome?

It is about going to sleep to your bed at night but not knowing where you will wake up and who will be next to you.

It is about going with the flow and adapting to circumstances with only aim in mind: to get as much as sleep as you can no matter where.

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You can expect it to happen more often when there is:

•An illness
•A change of routine (like holidays)
•When kids are scared, stressed or too tired.

Normally we don't want to admit to others what is going on at our home but if you were honest and happy to engage in conversations with other parents (as I have lately), you will see there are many going through the same struggles as you are.

We feel a high social pressure to raise kids as a textbook and seeping with your children is not always well accepted in the society, so being displaced by your children is probably worse. . However, let me reassure you that you are not alone. In fact, many families do crazy things to cope with disrupted sleep

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Our story:

When my oldest was two years old, she used to wake often at nights and once she learn to jump out of her cot she would come into our bed. She will then put herself comfortably and only she could fit there. At that time I was pregnant with my second girl and to help me rest my hubby decided to move into my girl's bedroom and slept on the floor for nearly 4 months to stop her for leaving her bedroom. We joke about it as he was on 'camping'. Of course, my hubby was tired without a doubt but I am forever grateful. I had the bed for myself and I was able to get great sleep before second baby was born.

Recently we went on holidays overseas and both girls were waking up a lot after our trip. It could had been because the drop of temperature in the early morning, the jet lag or simply because they missed mommy who was back at work. So lately it is becoming quite normally that we all wake up in a different bed (if we are lucky) or the sofa bed or some cushions on the floor, sometimes alone or with little bodies on top of us.

Is there an alternative?

No doubt rotating beds and sharing your own bed is uncomfortable for parents but is much easier, less tiring and quicker than the alternative of:
  1. Taking the child back to their own bed
  2. Comforting her
  3. Forcing her to lie down and stay in her bedroom
  4. Tolerating a tantrum at midnight and
  5. Praying for the their sibling who lays quietly and peacefully asleep next to them not to wake up and repeat the same cycle

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Yes, some people who won't get it. Only you know why there are nights when you can't follow the steps above and simply surrender (or give up) to enjoy some peace at night.

Here are my suggestions to help you cope with broken sleep:

  1. Find ways to get that extra sleep you are missing, like going to bed earlier than you used to. The best and most restorative sleep happens before midnight, so follow experts advice to go to bed before 10pm.

  • Create a night routine for you, similar to the one you have for your little ones. This should involve some time for relaxation and unwinding with no electronics. A warm bath and a novel are good idea too.
  • Simply do what you have to do to rest and get some sleep. It makes ALL the difference in your life.
  • Remember it shall pass. Sooner or later your kids will grow and won't even say good night.
  • Do not fight reality, follow your intuition and heart and do what feel better for you.
  • Surrender and go with the flow whatever that means.
  • Enjoy those little warm bodies breathing next to you and cherish the moment if you happen to wake up next to your child in your bed or hers.
  • Ignore parenting books, mothers groups and online forums if those are making you feel you are being a bad parent.
  • Expect others to call you lazy and to critique your parenting and discipline methods. Ignore them too
  • Do what feels right at that particular time and what benefits everyone in the short term.
  • If you can't cope with lack of sleep, sharing your bed or waking up on the floor, please seek professional advice.