Running, babies and sleep

This post is in conjunction with TEMPUR® but all thoughts and sleepless nights are my own.

Sleep! If there’s one thing new parents love to talk, compare and commiserate about, it’s sleep. This is something I wouldn’t share with my mum friends because 1) I don’t want to jinx it and 2) nobody wants to hear it when their own child has been crying half the night, but my baby is actually sleeping pretty well right now.

That’s great news for my mood, my stress levels and my running. He hasn’t always slept well, and there’ve been occasions when I’ve been so tired from a sleepless night that I’ve laughed in the face of scheduled runs. I’m just not motivated to do them and I don’t think they’d be good for me.

Baby or no baby, you can’t perform well and you can’t recover well if you don’t sleep well. That’s something that the past nine months have emphasised for me. I still sleep with a pillow between my legs when I sleep on my side, the legacy of pregnancy hips and habits. I also like a hard mattress, so sleeping in a different bed last week on holiday meant a bit of tossing and turning.

I had a baby around the same time as some pretty incredible sportswomen. Serena Williams (Tempur brand ambassador) Tweeted for help to deal with her daughter’s teething problems which was causing her stress and sleepless nights.

Cyclist Laura Kenny shares the burden with her husband Jason. She told the Guardian: “As a cyclist, I need as much as I can get so my husband and I go to bed between 9 and 10pm. When Albie wakes, I co-sleep with him in the spare room until 5am when Jason takes over so I can get two more hours.”

If you haven’t had a great night’s sleep…

  • Go easy on yourself. Running a few miles can be a nice way to shake off the cobwebs and feel more awake. But don’t do any intensive training.
  • Go to bed earlier. For me, the old “nap when the baby naps” advice has been useless. When the baby naps there’s 1 million jobs that need doing around the flat, I need to find something to eat and if it’s a day when he’ll only sleep while I push his buggy round the park, that’s not going to work. So, when he’s asleep for the night, resisting the temptation to watch Netflix and going to bed earlier is how I cope.
  • Accept help. It’s not something we’re always keen to do. But if people offer to help by watching the baby for an hour while you sleep, or doing some tidying while you both nap, take them up on it. They wouldn’t offer if they didn’t want to help.

Thankfully we’re into a bit of a groove now and if I go to bed at 10, I can get a decent amount of sleep. Though I’m fully aware that this could change at any point. Fingers crossed my son has got a copy of my training plan.