Sorry, I'm not about to tell you all the secret to waking alert and refreshed. I don't know the correct number of hours sleep we need, what time is best to get into bed, or how soft the mattress should be. What I do know is a little trick I've developed to stop my kids waking in the night.
Yes, you read right. If you have kids you will know, they wee in the night, they get upset, and they need changing. Not too bad with a little one in nappies, but for a toilet-trained toddler out of nappies, or lazy 5-year-old who refuses to get out of bed, it can mean new sheets and night clothes, and perhaps an extra bedtime companion if they won't settle in their room again.
For the past few weeks I've been woken every night by a small child needing a wee, in some cases, already having done a wee and coming to tell me. Not great at 1 am! My eldest is the worst; he won't get out of bed (despite leaving his door open and lights on) but will holler for me until I wake up and go to him. But I decided I had to do something after my daughter got out of bed sleepily to go to the toilet and managed to trap her thumb in her bedroom door, requiring a trip to A&E at 1 am.
I was chatting to some friends a few months ago now, and they mentioned "dream wees". A similar technique to "dream feeding", in which you part-wake a sleeping baby to feed him or her before you go to bed, thereby ensuring the baby doesn't wake hungry until a decent time in the morning!
So I took action. Just before I go to bed, I go and get my children out of bed and put them on the toilet. They are usually asleep or dozing. I gently ask them to "do a wee for mummy", repeating if necessary, until they go. Then, it's back to bed, tucked in tight, and they are back to sleep straightaway.
Bonuses are, no waking for me, no waking for them, a good night's sleep for everyone, and we're all happy! Bob's your uncle. Downsides are when I can't get their pyjamas back on and they wake up...it's only happened once!
A week into my new night time routine and we've had no wet beds, no waking at midnight, and no hollering for mum. Tried and tested, and highly recommended for all mums and dads.
So, time to sign off and make my kids dream about weeing.