Getting more sleep as a mom… it almost seems laughable, doesn’t it?
With children who wake with the sun (or before), millions of chores, errands, and jobs to do each day; most moms use the precious time after the children go to bed to catch up on the day’s work. Many moms I know usually get less than 6 hours of sleep per night.
Although chronic sleep-deprivation is a common lot for a mom, it is not a healthy lifestyle.
Sleep is one of the most important elements of a healthy life. It may seem wise to skip sleep for other more pressing issues, like finishing up the dishes or submitting that last assignment to your boss/client/whoever, but protecting your sleep should be a top priority. Want to know why?
The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
Coffee may feel like an effective replacement for sleep, but research shows that sleep is a vital necessity for your health. Not getting enough sleep can:
- Increase your risk for stroke and heart disease
- Cause weight gain
- Increase risk for diabetes
- Hurt bone health
- Cause memory loss
- Increase risk for cancer
- Lead to a younger death
These are certainly not things we want to face as moms, and are not worth losing sleep over (haha). Sleep also provides many amazing benefits to the body and your health as well.
The Benefits of Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep experts typically recommend that most adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. However, if you have been sleep-deprived for more than a few weeks, it may take several weeks of 10-hour nights or more to catch up on sleep. You know you are getting enough sleep when you wake up feeling rested and ready to face the day. Getting enough sleep can:
- Increase immunity
- Counteract the dangers of sleep-deprivation
- Reduce inflammation
- Improve brain function including creativity and memory
- Regulate hormones
- Reduce stress
- Prevent “Cranky Mom”
Tips for Getting More Sleep as a Mom
“So, great,” you are thinking, “now I know I am killing myself by being a mom, but there is nothing I can do about it! Thanks for making me feel guilty about something else.”
But wait, there are some things you can do to protect your sleep even while caring for cranky children, sick babies, and dealing with the rigors of modern life. Try implementing the following steps to improve your sleep habits and get more rest:
- Set a firm bedtime for yourself and stick to it. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep (Yes, this may mean going to bed at 9PM)
- Nap if you can. If you work/stay at home and your kids still take naps (or go to school), napping for an hour each afternoon can help you catch up on missing sleep.
- Create a sleeping-in schedule with your husband. Arrange for your husband to get up early with the kids one day of the weekend, and for you to get up with them the other day. Invest in a door lock and a noise machine; otherwise this strategy will never work.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Rather than stress about work or chores right before bed, focus on something fun and relaxing- like taking a hot bath, reading a book just for fun, doing a craft or hobby, or put on a nice-smelling lotion. Avoid electronics at bedtime, as the blue light can interfere with your melatonin production (essential for getting a good night’s sleep).
Do you need a relaxing hobby? Find books about hobbies on Amazon or just a great book to read!
Protecting Your Sleep as a Mom
Although our lives as moms often revolve around putting ourselves last, this should not be the case with sleep. When you are well-rested, you are happier and healthier, and can be a better mom. You won’t be able to sleep a full 9 hours every night (or maybe ever before the kids go to college), but if you work hard to protect your sleep, you are taking necessary steps to remain healthy and strong for all your responsibilities as a mom.
How do you make sleep a priority at your house? Tell us below!