Back in March I was contacted by Web Blinds who wanted to tell me all about their sleep challenge. Now as many of you will know we had our first baby back in December and since Matylda arrived, sleep has been nothing but a challenge. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it has been the biggest challenge I have encountered in my life so far. Now I know that might sound melodramatic and as everybody knows sleepless nights are just par for the course when you have a baby, but I swear nothing can prepare you for the severe sleep deprivation that accompanies a new baby. So in my almost delirious state (at this stage I was still waking up every two hours to feed Matylda) I was intrigued about this so-called sleep challenge and had to find out more.
Basically, Web Blinds had put together a sleep guide aimed at helping us to get more, better quality sleep. This was just what I was dreaming of right now so I had to consult the guide to see what pearls of wisdom were awaiting me. I obviously knew that a lot of the advice wouldn’t apply to me at the moment as in my particular situation it doesn’t really matter what I do, there is always a little monkey there needing me to wake up and tend to her every need, which I gladly do, I might add, but it is taking its toll after six months. I trawled through the advice, all of which seemed very practical and helpful for those without a tiny new baby.
Many of these are already standard practice for me. For example I don’t smoke, I don’t drink at the moment, I don’t eat large meals at night, our neighbourhood is extremely quiet so there are no noise issues, and our thermostat has been set at 19c since Matylda arrived. On the other hand there are a few things I could improve: I’ve been too tired to exercise, I take my smart phone to bed with me, I often don’t leave the house til mid-morning, our bedroom is not blue, I don’t sniff lavender at night and understandably as a new parent I am often stressed. I’m not even going to comment on the last piece of advice in that list above.
So there were a few options open to me if I was to attempt to get a better night’s sleep. I do need a new mattress but sadly can’t afford one at the moment and it wouldn’t really help me get more sleep right now. Most importantly though I could ensure that the room is dark enough. One thing I have learnt since having Matylda is that babies wake up at the crack of dawn. No matter how tired they are or you are, no matter how much sleep they’ve had or not had, they always seem to wake up as the sun rises. Granted they often need a nap within hours of waking up but this is no consolation to exhausted parents at 5am. I have also learnt how much harder it has been getting to put her to bed at night as the evenings stay lighter for longer. And naps are a struggle when it’s light outside too.
Luckily though, as part of this sleep challenge Web Blinds was offering to help me get a better night’s sleep by either helping to improve my sleeping environment or helping me to try out the tips from the sleep guide. I knew exactly which tip would prove most beneficial to me at the moment…I needed a way to keep the light at bay! And the best way to do this? Yup, get a black out blind. So that is what I did. I had planned to put it up in the nursery in the hope that Matylda would sleep longer at night and wake up at a more sociable hour, but due to Matylda’s sleep issues (don’t ask!) she is still in our room at the moment. So for now we have installed the blind in our bedroom.
Installation was ridiculously easy, I must say. We chose a recess blind that fits inside the window recess and all we had to do was afix a couple of small clips to the window recess and clip the blind in. What could be easier? It also means that if we decide to get a blind for our own room at a later date we can simply unclip this one and move it to Matylda’s room and clip in the new blind. Simple. There was also an added bonus with this blackout blind. Not only does it cut out all the light, but it also has special thermal properties due to the pleats that prevent the heat escaping from the room. This is particularly useful for our house as the radiators are so close to the wall that we can’t tuck curtains behind them.
So how has the sleep challenge panned out? Well, the blind has been up for almost two weeks now and I am happy to report that we are getting (slightly) more sleep. Instead of waking up at 5am – 5:30am, Matylda is sleeping to 6am which may not sound like a lot more but as a new parent every minute counts. Whereas nap times used to be a real struggle, believe it or not Matylda actually gets excited when I release the blind and it gets dark as she knows it’s nap time. And bedtimes are also less painful. Whilst it may not be completely dark in the room (we have an internal window that lets light in from the hallway) when she goes to bed between 6pm and 7pm, it’s a whole lot darker than it was before we had the blind.
So all in all, whilst I am still regretfully unable to get a full night’s uninterrupted sleep, the blackout blind has certainly made a big difference for which I am truly grateful. I have no idea when Matylda will be able to sleep through the night but I look forward to that time. Sadly though, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to sleep deeply again.
If you are looking for ways to improve the quality of your sleep, do pop over and check out the sleep guide and its helpful advice. There is also a nifty little sleep calculator that tells you when you need to go to bed in order to be up at a certain time. It works it out by counting in sleep cycles to ensure that you don’t wake up mid cycle. Apparently if you need to rise at 6am you must go to sleep at one of the following times: 8.46pm, 10.16pm, 11.46pm or 1.16am. It’s just gone half eleven as I write this so guess I best get myself ready for bed. Night all!
Disclosure: This post has been written in partnership with Web Blinds who provided the product for us to review. However, all the opinions in this review are our own and we stress that we only collaborate with brands and companies that we genuinely like and believe that our readers will like too.