Dear Father Hood: is it normal for a new dad to have really strange dreams?
Panic not, what your are experiencing is completely normal. I say this, because since becoming a sleep-deprived dad my nocturnal imaginings have become so vivid that I’ve considered advertising my little one as a cut-price alternative to LSD. I mean, why risk your life swallowing a funky tablet when you can babysit a newborn and get your hallucinations free of charge? Wait, maybe I’ve just stumbled upon the idea that could save London nightclub Fabric…
But back to your query. Having done some research into new parents’ crazy projections, it seems they are down to an increase in the amount of cheese couples eat when they are stuck at home with a baby. Yeah, right. They are actually due to an upsurge in the dream-heavy rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleeping, which is caused by the fact we’re only getting three or four hours a night.
But what should you be dreaming about? Well, after chatting to the boys in my NCT class it seems like the most common nightmare new parents have is best titled ‘Oh my God I’ve rolled over and crushed my baby.’
You’re probably nodding, because we’ve all been here. One moment you’re helping out with the latest nappy change or screaming fit, the next you’re awake in the bed with no idea how much time has passed or where your baby has gone. Is he between your legs? No. Is he under your ribs? No. Is he on the floor? No. Has he vanished into thin air? No. Did you inadvertently eat him? No. He’s snoozing merrily in his crib. Phew.
Apart from this, the dreams tend to be pretty personal. Mine, for example, go two ways. If I’m in a deep sleep, they usually involve being shot at, kidnapped or chased by a terrorist group or baddie out to kill a rarely contacted Facebook acquaintance. And if I am in a light sleep, they tend to involve some kind of dazed baby-related sleepwalk that ends with me waking my wife up by turning the light on, knocking over the Calpol or stubbing my foot on the end of the bed. Boy how we laugh when this happens. And by laugh, I mean argue for 20 minutes before passing out with exhaustion.