Getting a good night's rest when you've got over-excited little ones is a feat that should never be under estimated. And, super-mum of three under ten year olds, Susan K.Mann is one lady who knows the meaning of a good night's sleep. We speak to the blogger and working mum to gain a little insight to what sleep means to her and her little ones.
What’s your trick to getting the little ones to bed? Do you find that Lucas, is easier to put to bed?
I find that setting a routine is the best way to get your little ones into bed. I don’t bathe them every night, but we go to bed around the same time just after 7. It’s into pyjamas, toilet, brush teeth, wash hands and face and then it’s all about bedtime reading. As he gets older; Lucas has different activities on that sometimes have him going to bed later than the other two. He likes to help when he’s there, especially by reading a story to his little sister.
What was the worst night’s sleep that you’ve ever had?
Oh, there have been so many. The ones that stick out most, are when you first bring your baby home from the hospital after giving birth, or when your children are poorly. It took a lot of trial and error. With Lucas being my first, I had no experience, at 3 months I found swaddling. Why oh why hadn’t I used it earlier? You learn as you go being a mother. I know I have.
Lucas didn’t like to sleep much. He was very unsettled and to begin with he only slept 15 minutes in 24 hours. He has never been a good sleeper.
Do you find that there are any definite “don’ts” when it’s bedtime for the family?
Screen time or being very active in the half hour to an hour before bed time. Their minds are active and it makes getting them to go to bed and ready for bed that bit difficult. They aren’t relaxed and don’t feel ready. It's not always doable as they get older- my oldest Lucas plays football a few evenings a week. But, he usually drifts off quite quickly even though he doesn’t think he will. A few pages of reading helps.
What’s the best night’s sleep you’ve ever had?
I think the best night’s sleep I ever had was the first night that my second child Tyler slept through the night. Lucas had just turned two and was sleeping the odd night, right through. Tyler was just six weeks old and I was exhausted. I’d had an emergency C-section and had a rough time. I slept all night and woke up in the morning, saw the time and panicked.
Instantly looking over at my peaceful sleeping baby, who was fine. I felt more human that day than I had in weeks... months even.
What’s your first thought on waking in the morning?
I work out what needs to be done that day. What the boys need for school and what I need for work. I am usually woken by the boys, they are early risers. I give them a hug and they go downstairs, until I head down with them.
If there’s anything that tends to wake you up, what is it? And how do you get back to sleep once disturbed?
Right now, the boys are 7 and 9, and they only tend to wake me if they have had a bad dream or are poorly. Aria who has just turned 3, still wakes me during the night. Often to put her covers back on, or one excuse or another. I am a worrier by nature, and can often be found lying awake at night worrying or going through different things in my head, maybe a new idea when I’ve been woken up. I try to stop myself and use a deep breathing technique to try to clear my mind and get back to sleep.
Reading always works for me.
What do you do when you can’t sleep when in a new bed?
I make sure that I have comfortable pillows and always have a good book to hand. If it’s too warm, I’ll open a window, and a scent sometimes helps like lavender oil.What’s the main thing that you look for when buying a new bed?
The mattress is firm, but not too firm. The cost is always factored in and then it is the look of the bed. Does it fit? Can I have extras, like storage underneath?How do you get into a mindset where you’re relaxed, and ready to sleep after a draining, hectic day?
Before going to bed I will have a drink and sometimes watch a bit of TV. I try to write for a bit when I first go to bed, I then read or watch an episode of something on Netflix.What’s your favourite thing about your bed?
I love nothing more than curling up in my bed, pulling my duvet up to my chin and reading a book. It is one of my favourite things to do in the world. I’m easily pleased. And weekend mornings where the kids all come in and we chat, laugh and enjoy being together.
I love pyjamas. They are so comfortable.
Find out more about Susan and her family on her blog, Susan K.Mann.