Chatting about children often take us through wide ranging swathes of topics. Over the weekend a mother and I were talking about her son’s sleep habits. He is a very bright boy and does not appear to sleep enough. On some occasions he goes to sleep very late and is tired and grumpy in the morning. The mother was worried that he would not get enough sleep on the night before his Eleven Plus examination.
I went through the usual questions like: does he sleep using a pillow? Does he feel sleepy at school? We then started asking questioning him. I am not sure if all the questions are in the right order:
Do you feel sleepy during your lessons first thing on the morning?
Do you feel tired over the whole day?
Do you feel worse at the end of the school day?
Are wide awake in the classroom?
Do you feel sleepy when you are trying to do your homework?
Do you feel sleepy in during your lessons?
We know that Winston Churchill used to have cap naps during the day.
We know that Margaret Thatcher only slept for around four hours every day.
So it looks as if you want your child to be a potential prime minister you may find that you have to support long periods of wakefulness. The irritability may come with statesmanship – or simply because he or she did not get enough sleep.
So we worked out that if the boy did not have a sleep disorder he may simply need less sleep than others.
The boy took an active part in the inquisition – and in the follow up discussion. He explained that he thought it would be unwise to try to change his sleeping habits just before an examination.
He said too that his mum saying: “Go to bed and go to sleep” just made him feel upset.
Parents do have a hard time – don’t they?