Sleeping on the Road, Website Launches: Sleep Secrets

Jeanne Sager
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Kristin Varela
Photo from Kristin Varela
Sleep -- we all do it, but talk about something personal! From side sleepers to wrapped in the covers on their tummy sleepers, we all do it differently.

We're delving into dreamland with moms' sleep secrets here on the The Stir, and today we're talking to Kristin Varela, the mother of two behind the wheel of MotherProof -- your one-stop shop for car talk that speaks to families.

She decodes the Motor City for Mom, and we wanted to know: How does she find time to put it in park and sleep?

What are your best getting to sleep tips?

I travel a lot on business (usually when a new car is being launched) and have always had a tough time sleeping in hotel rooms. They just feel, smell, and sound different from home -- and by different I mean bad.  

So, now I always travel with the same travel pillow that smells like home, I have a travel blanket to snuggle up with, and I use the aSleep app on my iPhone for white noise to drown out any rowdy hotel room neighbors or scary sounds I can't rationally justify.

Who's sleeping with you?

I'm a single mom so I typically sleep alone. Although my girls (ages 7 and 9) like to have one-on-one "slumber parties" with me from time to time.

We eat ice cream in bed, watch Project Runway, and attempt to sleep together. However, they're soooo wiggly there's generally not much sleeping involved -- at least for me. My 9-year-old tends to practice karate in her sleep. It's never pleasant.

What's the strangest thing your partner/spouse has reported you doing during sleep?

After my first daughter was born, I had recurring nightmares that she was in bed with my (then) husband and me, and she would fall off the bed or get pushed down to the bottom of the bed under the covers and suffocate.

One night he woke up to me grabbing his neck like I was trying to strangle him. I was having a dream that the baby was scooting to the edge of the bed and about to fall off.  

As any good mommy would, I was just trying to grab her waist and save her from harm. How I mistook his neck for the baby's waist, I have no idea. Let's just not over-analyze that one.

Who steals the covers?

Well, nobody since I sleep alone. However, I'd be thrilled to have that sexy guy from Sex in the City 2 (you know, the scruffy one the women encountered out in the desert four-wheeling on the sand dunes) steal my covers any night.

How do you wake up in the morning, and how long does it take you to get out of bed? What's the first thing you do?

My bedroom has tons of sun streaming in, so a combination of the bright sun and an unnaturally loud bird outside my window usually wakes me up. I've wondered before if that "bird" is actually someone playing a cruel joke on me since it seems to start chirping a good hour before any of the others.

I take a few minutes to get my bearings and have a gentle transition from dreamland to reality. First thing I do once I'm up is make my bed. It makes me feel like the day is off to a productive start.

Do you dream? Care to share one?

I definitely dream and they're usually very eccentric and bizarre.

The most important dream I've had is one part inspiration, one part creep factor: So, six years ago my daughter was starting preschool. I needed a new car so I could carpool. I'd been shopping around on the Internet, trying to find out which cars would work for my life as a mom. 

I was totally frustrated though because back then, the only info about cars online was gear head techie stuff that was useless and foreign to me. At the same time, I'd been home with my daughters for several years and was starting to get a slight case of mommy Jell-O brain.

I went to bed one night with all of that swirling around in my head (I need a new car, can't find one, I need to exercise my brain cells, maybe I should go back to work, etc.), and out came a very clear, vivid, and detailed dream unlike any one I've ever experienced before.  

I dreamt I would start a company writing car reviews specifically for women and moms. I woke up in the middle of the night with a strange sense of intuition. I grabbed a piece of paper and scribbled down every detail of the dream I could remember, and that became my initial business plan. I just followed the "plan" that I literally dreamt up, and here I am six years later. Crazy but true!

 

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