Are You a Tired Momma?

by

Sleep.

It’s such an important part of our lives, but how much thought have you given to what goes into getting a good night’s sleep?

It wasn’t until I became a sleep-deprived mom that I truly appreciated the importance of sleep (for myself and my daughter). Not only is it unpleasant to feel tired all day, but I, for one, find that the quality and quantity of my sleep has a huge impact on my mood and my ability to regulate my emotions (and the same goes for our kids). Even moderate sleep deprivation (less than 5 hours) can impair cognitive and motor function to the same degree as alcohol intoxication!

So what’s a tired mom to do? While I don’t have any magical tricks for moms of young kids who are still not sleeping through the night….sorry, I wish I did. When my daughter was young, I read every sleep book I could get my hands on and I have yet to find a solution for making kids sleep. I can promise you that all kids eventually start sleeping through the night at some point….but what if sleep still doesn’t come easily?

Here are a few pointers to help:

1. Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even at weekends. Have you considered that by staying up late and sleeping in on weekends you are giving yourself jetlag every Monday? Going to bed later than usual also leads to less deep sleep which will make you feel groggy the next day. Consistency is key!

2. Turn off screens at least an hour before bed. The blue light emitted by screens suppresses the production of melatonin which can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Not to mention the fact that scrolling through social media or checking emails is not always the most relaxing activity.

3. Have a bedtime routine. Bedtime routines aren’t just for kids! Have a bath or shower, do some journaling, or listen to meditation to wind down to signal to your mind and body that it’s time to sleep.

4. Don’t eat a large meal too late in the day. If you are hungry, have a light snack. Things like almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cherries, bananas, kiwi, oatmeal, turkey, and chickpeas can have sleep-inducing properties.

5. Avoid working or doing other activities in your bedroom. Your bed should be for sleeping, not other things that will keep your mind busy and active. You want to create a strong association in your mind between your bed and sleep.

6. Be sure to get regular exercise during the day, but be careful not to exercise too close to bedtime. It’s not completely understood how exactly exercise helps us sleep, but I think we can all intuitively understand that a tired body will sleep better.

7. Make sure your bedroom is comfortable, dark, and quiet. A comfortable mattress, pillow, and bedding will make sleep come easier. Pay attention to the temperature too. A temperature between 15.6 and 19.4 degrees Celsius is generally recommended, though everyone will have an individual preference.

8. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Studies have shown that caffeine consumed 6 hours before bed can still affect sleep, so try to avoid caffeine later in the day. While having a glass of wine may help you relax in the evening, alcohol can interfere with your sleep quality and duration.

9. Expose yourself to natural daylight when you wake up in the morning. This can help to set your circadian rhythms so your body will naturally fall asleep and wake up at appropriate times.

10. Be careful with naps. Napping too late in the day or for too long can interfere with your sleep at night. If you do need a nap, the best time for your siesta is in the early afternoon, and the best nap length is around 20 minutes.

Sleep doesn’t come easily for all, so if you are still struggling with getting restful sleep, consult your doctor for further advice. Hopefully, you will soon be sleeping like a baby.

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