Why Sleep Deprivation is a Form of Torture.


If you have small children under the age of four, it is probably best that you look away now. If you read on, then I run the risk of you declaring me a smug, sleep-filled swine, with more shut eye than I know what to do with.

So, here it comes. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

On Sunday, our children let us sleep until 9.50am! All together now, to the rousing tune of Handel’s Messiah, HALLELUJAH!

Until our eldest was born, my husband and I had no idea as to why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. We told ourselves that, as two hardcore partiers who were used to crawling out of a taxi and into bed at 4am, this night-feed malarkey would be fine.

What a couple of deluded plonkers we were.

In fact, I had entertained the fantasy when first pregnant (back in the days when we planned to have FOUR CHILDREN), that on Sunday mornings I would rise first, creeping with stealth into their bedrooms. I would gently wake the darling creatures, and they would bestow beams of joy upon me as, clasping hands, we would tiptoe back to mummy and daddy’s bedroom.

My husband would stir at the sound of their approach, and he too would be filled with an overwhelming sense of joyous peace at the sight of their sleep-tousled little heads approaching, whilst I moved downstairs through pools of morning sunlight, to pop breakfast on and start our day.

I would call up to them when our morning feast was ready, and we would sit around the table together, smiling beatifically at one another, filled with anticipation for the day ahead, and leafing through the Sunday papers.

Back in the land of reality, and I’d have been hard-pressed to tell you what day of the week it was, or possibly even my own name.

My eyes felt as though they were swinging from my face on strings, and I wondered if it was actually safe for me to be driving a car. In fact, upon reflection, it is probably as sensible to allow new parents to operate vehicles, as it is to send your offspring for a sleepover with Jimmy Saville.

It is unlikely that our daughters will leave us until that time again, but it’s better than 2am. Either way, I can confirm that the Sunday paper myth still eludes us. We live in hope.


First published in The Portsmouth News, Tuesday 13th January 2015




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