I know that you read that title “get more sleep as a mom” and either laughed out loud or rolled your eyes. Believe me, sleep is my Achilles’ Heel, too. Especially since becoming a mom. I call it “momsomnia“. Not that I was the best sleeper before, but I hit a whole new level of “awake”ning since becoming a mom.
It is not just infancy stage where you wake up every few hours to feed. For me, I continued to wake every few hours (if I even slept at all). It is all of those worries, whether they be rational or not, that keeps me up. My mind refused to shut down and my body rallies to stay up.
If you are caught in this conundrum of always being tired, but never being able to sleep, we have some much needed help today! Jane Sandwood is a freelance writer and editor. She began studying sleep and the effect of sleep on the brain after suffering from lack of sleep herself. Check out her tips below and hopefully we will will all take a trip to Dreamland!
How to Get More Sleep as a Mom
Making Better Sleep for Moms a Priority
Many moms are self-confessed night owls… and early worms… We often miss out on crucial sleep yet give our all to ensure our baby rests well every night. Moms should also aim to spend required time with the sandman every night, however, since research indicates that many of us are sleep deprived.
In fact, only 48% of women with children enjoy at least seven hours of sleep every night, compared to 62% of women without children. In a recent telephone survey of almost 6,000 people, women with young children said they felt tired around 14 days per month, with each child in the home raising the odds of insufficient sleep by 50%.
How a Lack of Sleep Affects the Brain
Poor quantity and quality sleep has more far-reaching effects than simply making us feel tired, short tempered or unfocused. After several sleepless nights, we become more prone to obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Moreover, if we drive, we can become so tired that we fall asleep at the wheel, potentially harming ourselves or others in car accidents.
The reason we can fall asleep so quickly is the ‘flip flop switch’ between sleep and wakefulness. A 2011 University of Wisconsin study found that specific nerve cells in the brain can suddenly go ‘offline’, entering a sleep-like state in seconds, even though the brain remains awake. During these short periods of time, we can lose control of a vehicle or even of machinery or home equipment that can result in injury.
Sleep provides positive effects for the brain; it boosts our memory by strengthening neural connections, clears toxins from our brain (especially those related to Alzheimer’s disease), improves our attention span and cognition, and is essential for creativity and learning. It also lowers the risk of depression, one of the most common mental conditions on a global scale.
Tips for a Better Sleep for Moms
Funnily enough, the tips that work for your child will probably work for you as well. Routine, for instance, is as vital for moms and dads as it is for their toddlers. Try to get out of the habit of spending “just 10 more minutes” online or watching television just before you sleep. Lavender essential oil is as relaxing for adults as it is for children; invest in a nice oil diffuser to fill your bedroom with this beautiful scent.
Quit using stimulants such as coffee and tea to maintain your energy levels in the afternoon – by sleeping enough hours and fueling up on a Mediterranean style diet, you will find you have all the energy you need to get you through your daily tasks.
Daily exercise is crucial – many studies have shown the link between regularly physical activity and obtaining a good night’s sleep. Scientists believe that the secret is the effect exercise has on our temperature, which rises when we work out and drops soon after, promoting a sleepy state.
Exercise also reduces the symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression, making incessant worrying less of a bugbear. Finally, if you haven’t already been bitten by the yoga bug, try making time for this mindful activity. Yoga has been found to significantly lower stress hormone (cortisol) levels and to instill a better mood – sounds like the perfect frame of mind to be in just before bedtime!
Make sleep an important part of your day; it is far more important than we sometimes give it credit for and is crucial for proper brain functioning and even for our safety. By following a routine, following a sound nutritional regime, exercising every day, and finding time for mindful activities, we will soon feel more rested, energetic and positive than we have in a long time.
Do you struggle with getting more sleep as a mom? Which of these tips do you think will help you the most? Any tips of your own? Please comment and share below!