My son is two years old and has an excellent sleep association. We did sleep training, which I think helped him learn how to self-soothe, and now he really loves hanging out in his bed. He hasn’t had a nightmare or night terror yet, and for that I am so grateful because I’m still working on my nighttime issues as an adult.
I’ve always slept fairly well, but it wasn’t until after I had kids and had more sleep disturbances that I realized I get really, really uncomfortable at night. I have spent a lot of time thinking about it—trying to dig deeper into my “issues” because I normally experience high anxiety right before bed.
I’m no professional therapist person, but I think I know why. My parents divorced when I was 10, and we had a minor break-in in the first house I lived in with my mom, brother, and sister—without my dad—when I was about 12. My mom tried to shield me from what actually went on, so I think the event seemed a lot scarier in my mind for all of these years.
I really didn’t think about it until recently, and my mom explained it further to me. Our sliding glass back door was broken and needed to be fixed. My mom temporarily propped it shut with a broom handle, and some random kid from the neighborhood broke in to steal her car keys and money from my purse. She caught him in the act and chased him out of the house. He stole our car and totaled it, and they found it later.
When I was younger, the entire situation felt very menacing and scary to me at the time. I guess it’s a relief to find out that the kid only broke in because he wanted to go to juvenile detention since his parents had kicked him out of the house; he had nowhere else to go.
Now as an adult, these lurking fears are resurfacing. Sometimes, I’ll go to bed by myself and read while my husband stays downstairs and plays video games for a few hours. If I’m feeling particularly anxious, I’ll turn on the light over and over again (with a remote) at every little noise I hear while I’m in bed. I’m not sure why I think someone is always out there to get me, but I pray to God I don’t pass this on to my kids.
(photo: Getty Images)