The seven types of 'parent sleep'

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The question, "Did you sleep well last night?" should be easy to answer. Either a yes (if you're lucky), or a no.

But once you're a parent you realise there are so many different ways you can sleep. These include:

1. The ping-pong sleep

First, you start off in your own bed.

Then, ping! Your baby needs you.

Before you know it, you've drifted off on her floor while trying to sneak out after settling her.

You wake at some odd hour (with an annoying crick in your neck) then, pong! You head back to your own bed.

Next, it's your toddler who needs you. So, ping! You find yourself squashed into his teeny-tiny bed.

When he finally settles back to sleep, you peel yourself off the wall you were smooshed against, and pong yourself back to bed.


In case you're wondering: Yes, Ping-Pong sleepers probably should wear a pedometer to bed.

2. The pretend-sleep-turned-real sleep

This happens when, after lying down next to your little one in an attempt to help her fall asleep, you nod off yourself.

Be warned: There ain't nothing pretty about this accidental nap.

When you wake from this sleep you may sport unusual markings on your face from the odd way you were sleeping on the floor, or drool dribbling down your chin.

3. The 'did I even sleep?' sleep (also known as the 'you call that a sleep?' sleep)

This one's tricky.

According to your calculations, time has definitely passed since the last time you looked at your watch. However, you could swear you've actually been awake the whole time.

You feel so unrefreshed and exhausted after this sleep, they need a whole new word to describe this feeling.

4. The nanna nap

It's afternoon. Three o'clock, or maybe four. And boy, are you beat.

So to beat that, if you dare actually stop for five minutes, you'll probably fall asleep.

Welcome to the nanna nap.

My husband knows that if I'm a) on a couch and b) quiet for more than three minutes, chances are I'm somewhere deep in la-la land.

5. The fake sleep

It's the middle of the night. You hear crying.

And yet, your bed is so comfy and your eyes are so heavy and you would pretty much pay anything right now for some more sleep.

So you lie there, silent as a mouse, hoping your partner will take one for the team and go settle the kids.

Yes, it's wrong to fake it.

But sometimes, just sometimes, it feels so good to be wrong.

6. The 'sent back to sleep' sleep

You've been awake since crazy-early in the morning (after another rocky night) and you're nothing more than a grumpy old troll.

You huff around the kitchen, flinging dishes in the sink and letting the world know how early you woke, and how damn tired you are.

The bags under your eyes are dragging on the floor and you're such a joy to be around that, if you're lucky enough to have a partner, you may just be sent back to sleep at this point.

While this concept may seem insulting (Is he saying I'm too grumpy to be around? How dare he?!), the truth is that nothing will cure your ills right now better than a nice, long snooze (or at least another few minutes in bed).

7. The dream sleep

Somehow, through some unbelievably rare twist of fate, a miraculous event has occurred: You went to bed last night, and woke up this morning.

That's right: you actually slept the whole night!

After such a sleep, you wake so refreshed, you feel you could run a marathon, clean the entire house, tackle the laundry and even do it all with a smile slapped on your face.

Hold on to this feeling, dear mama, because even though dreams can come true, chances are they won't happen that often.

But if they do, you can finally answer the question 'Did you sleep well last night?' with the most satisfying response of all: "Yes, I most certainly did."