The Guilt of Popping Sleeping Pills Keeps Us Up At Night

by Trisha-and-Amy on November 7, 2011

So in today’s New York Times, there was an interesting article about the increasing number of moms taking sleep aids to get to sleep. Whether it’s Tylenol PM, Ambien (the #1 prescribed sleep med for moms), Xanax or Melatonin, it’s another one of our ‘dirty little secrets.’

And increasingly, it’s not brand new moms who are popping pills — it’s moms with school-aged kids who, in their quest to do everything and everything perfectly, have to do lists that stick to them like glue and literally keep them up at night.

Trish was in my kitchen this morning and in discussing the article, we both confessed to using some sort of sleep aid with increasing frequency, and talked about how guilty we feel about it. It’s just that…the fear of NOT sleeping is so real and tangible and unexpected at this stage in our lives. We never expected that, with our youngest child being 8 years old, we’d STILL be faced with a lack of sleep. We both suffer from the same affliction: Drift to sleep just fine, and then, at precisely 4 a.m., our eyes POP open and that’s it. There’s no going back. Many times I’ll just get up and start my day — and power through, with an even greater fear of sleep the next night.

So what to do? We know, meditation or something, right?


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous November 7, 2011 at 7:07 pm

It’s the sugars in the wine/alcohol. After the alcohol metabolizes the sugar kicks in and wakes you up. Aside from cutting back on wine (yeah right), try moving your work out to the opposite time of day than usual. -Sean

wonderwoman November 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm

I think you hit it on the nose when you said that we strive to be perfect. My youngest is now 4 and I still can’t sleep through the night without a sleep aid. I’m going through my to-do list as a mom of 4 and my full time job. I’m hearing all the things in the news that tell me I’m doing something wrong that will scar my kids for life. I’m trying to turn all that off and sleep. It just doesn’t happen anymore.

Anonymous November 7, 2011 at 7:55 pm

i took benadryl every night for 4 years. i recently decided to go cold turkey and try to stick it out. Its been 3 months and i wake up at 430 every morning exhausted. i work out almost every day and i don’t drink!

Sleep is the new sex November 14, 2011 at 5:20 pm

My oldest is 5. He was a really sick baby and I really have not slept well since he was born. My daughter is 3 and still wakes me up at least once a night and sometimes my son. I take melatonin every night and sometimes a prescription sleeping pill. My days are busy and I work out and eat well. Still, on the rare occasion that I am not woken by my kids, I wake up in the middle of the night and cannot go back to sleep. I have come to the conclusion that my sleep will never be the same as before kids and being tired is now a way of life. There is not one Mother that I know that is not in the same boat.

Carin January 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Tylenol PM is where it’s at… The only thing that allows me the ability to be nice to my daughter:)

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