Back in April, I wrote a post entitled ‘Sleep is for wimps,’ which was basically about the fact that Mushroom doesn’t sleep so well, and my inability to decision not to ‘train’ him to sleep better.

Well, last month I reviewed that decision and thought I would give one of the ‘no-cry’ sleep training methods a go. I was planning to post my progress here, and even kept a detailed sleep diary – for 21 days! – so that I could share my ‘success’ with you. Well. Here’s a synopsis:

It was promising to start with:

Day 1:

Ferber method. Didn’t work. Ended up cuddling him over the cot. Not great for my back. Didn’t pick him up! Still woke up three times…

Day 2: 

Tried patting him to sleep. Took just 15 mins. He woke up several times

Day 9:

Was asleep in 25 mins – by 7.15. Woke just once at 1.45am! Progress

We had ups and downs, but he was putting himself to sleep and waking up 3 times or less… Until:

Day 18:

Had a fever. Asleep at 5.45. Up. All. Night

So we went back back to cuddling to sleep, and I have just last night started over with the patting to sleep routine again.  Just because Mushroom is heavy and my back needs a break.

Anyway, last week someone showed me this article (which I somehow missed when it was published back in February), that dispels the myth that it is necessary to sleep for eight (or more) consecutive hours a night. Here’s an excerpt:

“For most of evolution we slept a certain way,” says sleep psychologist Gregg Jacobs. “Waking up during the night is part of normal human physiology.”

So… Perhaps the goal shouldn’t be to get Mushroom to sleep through the night, but rather, to wake up just the once, and – crucially – amuse himself until he’s ready to go back to sleep.

To be fair, even before I had Mushroom I never really slept through the night myself, I’d often get up – to go to the loo, or to go and read a book, just because trying to get back to sleep made it harder to do so. My Nan tells me my Mum was the same as a child – she would get up and play in her cot for at least an hour in the night, going back to sleep in the early hours of the morning. She was never ‘sleep trained’ but there came a point when she just stopped needing attention when she woke. Knowing this has helped me to relax a bit about the whole sleep issue, and just go with the flow.

What do you think? Should we all relax a bit about the whole sleep issue? If you wake up just once in the night, are you laid back about it or do you feel that a full eight hours (if you can get it!) is crucial? Do you have a child that sleeps well despite never having been ‘trained’? I would love to hear your stories, especially if you fall into that last category!