10 Tips for Moms To Get More Sleep - Baby Chick
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10 Tips for Moms To Get More Sleep

From managing your diet and stress to limiting your screen time, here are 10 ways for moms (and dads) to achieve more restful sleep.

Published October 28, 2016

by Nina Spears

The Baby Chick®: Pregnancy, Birth & Postpartum Expert
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Sleep. Once you become a parent, you realize how much you love and miss it. Sleeping in is a thing of the past. Now, your babies need you every couple of hours — day and night — and your older children are getting up before the crack of dawn. Add your to-do list, the errands you have to run, the chores you have piling up, and maybe even projects, assignments, and emails you need to do for work. You’re completely fried, not to mention days and nights when your little ones get sick. Who has time for rest?! I get it. I really do. It’s hard for moms to get more sleep!

Many moms I know and have worked with are running on around five or six hours of sleep each night. As someone who has worked on-call 24/7 as a doula and manages a company, I know what it’s like when you have to function on only two or three hours of sleep or work a whole night shift and be up all day. It’s hard work and long hours. But guess what? Sleep is critical to a healthy life. It’s a necessity. It may seem impossible to find time to rest and add more time to your sleep schedule when there’s so much going on and so much you need to do. However, there are some things moms can do to improve their quality of sleep, which can lead to more rest each night.

10 Tips for Moms (And Dads) To Get More Sleep

Here are my top 10 tips to help both mom and dad get more and better sleep each night. I’ve incorporated these tips into my life to help me live a healthier lifestyle, so I hope these will help you, too:

1. Avoid Screen-Time at Least an Hour Before Bed

I know. This is really tough. I’m the same way, scrolling through my phone on social media before I go to bed. But staring at a screen can hinder you from falling asleep quickly and getting the healthy sleep you need. The reason is that the type of light illuminating from your screen interferes with melatonin production (essential for getting a good night’s sleep) and activates your brain.2,3,4 Put the TV, computer, tablet, and phone away. However, if you must use them, filter the blue light from your devices. Most devices nowadays have settings for this.

2. Create a Relaxing Bedtime Ritual

It’s easy for us to get caught up and work, work, work until we drop. But rather than stressing about house chores or work emails right before bed, focus your time on doing something relaxing. Some examples are taking a warm bath or shower, putting on a soothing lotion, meditating, reading a book (not on a tablet), and listening to calming music. If you do your bedtime ritual each night, you tell your body it’s time to wind down and go to bed. Your relaxing bedtime ritual can promote better sleep by easing the transition from wakefulness to drowsiness.5

3. Set a Bedtime for Yourself

I get that this isn’t always achievable, but try to go to bed at the same time every day, even if that’s 9 p.m. You want to give yourself enough time to try to get seven to nine hours of sleep. I know that sounds impossible. But going to bed consistently at the same time every night is good for your body’s sleep-wake cycle, and it helps promote a better night’s sleep.6

If it’s been more than 15 or 20 minutes and you’re having difficulty dozing off, get up and do something relaxing.6 Do not pick up that phone of yours! This will not help. Prepare your mind and body for sleep, and return to bed when you feel tired. Otherwise, you’ll be miserable tossing and turning in bed, thinking about how you cannot sleep — been there.

4. Look At Your Surroundings

Look around your bedroom and notice if there are things you can change to help with your sleep. For example:

  • Is your room bright when you’re trying to sleep? Consider purchasing blackout curtains to help your body’s circadian rhythm.7
  • What’s the temperature in your room? Approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius) is the best bedroom temperature for sleep. This will vary by a few degrees from person to person. Most doctors recommend keeping the thermostat set between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius) for the most comfortable sleep.8,9
  • Do you live on a busy street or in a noisy neighborhood? Consider using earplugs, a fan, or a white noise machine to help block out disruptive sounds.
  • How old are your mattress and pillow? Your mattress and pillow can contribute to better sleep, too. Make sure what you are sleeping on isn’t hurting your sleep time.10,11

5. Monitor What You Eat and Drink At Night

It doesn’t matter what time you eat (even before bed). However, you must monitor what and how much you eat and drink before bed.1,6 You don’t want to consume too many calories before sleeping. You also don’t want to go to bed too hungry or full, which might prevent you from falling asleep.6 If you overeat before bed, your body will also be busy digesting that food, not allowing you to achieve good quality, deep sleep.12

And it should go without saying, don’t drink too much before bed.13 We want to prevent those disruptive, middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom. Pregnant moms can especially feel me on this one!

6. Get Physical

We know that just having kids can be your cardio, but working up a sweat for at least 30 minutes a day can help you when you’re getting ready for bed.14 It will help you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep. Or you can spend some quality time and have sex with your partner. That can help with your sleep quality, too.15 😉

7. Manage Your Stress

When you have too much on your mind because you have so much going on or too much to do (like most moms I know), your sleep will suffer. Figure out healthy ways to stay organized and relaxed so you can manage your stress levels. Ways to do that are, first, to set your priorities and, second, to delegate some of your tasks. You can’t do it all. Determine the most critical tasks, and the rest can wait. Also, don’t feel guilty if you need to give yourself a break. Everyone deserves some downtime. To help lower your stress before bed, write down and journal what’s on your mind. Set those thoughts aside for the next day so you can go to bed with a clear mind.

8. Split the Night Shift With Your Partner

This may not be possible every night, but if you have a newborn, split the night with your partner. You (or your partner) can start with the first five hours (10 p.m. to 3 a.m.), and the other person can do the remaining five hours (3 a.m. to 8 a.m.) or whatever five-hour block you prefer. This way, you can each get at least five solid hours of sleep.

Another option is to switch days of being up with the baby. However, if you are breastfeeding your baby, taking a whole night off can affect your milk production and cause engorgement and major discomfort.16

9. Say “No” to Extra Responsibilities

Do not feel guilty about saying “no” to extra responsibilities when you have a newborn. Maybe your oldest child’s school needs a chaperone or a volunteer for an activity, your church needs extra help, or your friends want you to help with a party. It’s okay to say “no.” Please don’t feel guilty about it. You need this time to bond with your baby and sleep when possible. Extra things on your plate will only cause you to have more stress and less sleep.

10. Say “Yes” to Help

I tell this to every single mother . . . Accept any help offered to you, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Many people are more than happy to provide a helping hand if you ask for it. This could mean your family, friends, church members, a babysitter, a postpartum doula, you name it! Whether you hire help or recruit it, accept the help. Sleep is a necessity, and even if you just need someone (whom you trust) to watch your kids so you can catch up on some sleep, do it.

It’s common for mothers to put others’ needs before themselves. It’s what we do. But when it comes to sleep, you must make it a priority. Well-rested moms are healthier and happier and don’t feel as crazy. 😉 It’s unrealistic to think you will now get eight to nine hours of sleep each night because, come on, you’re a mom! And your kids won’t let you. But if you consider these tips and start incorporating them into your life, I promise you will get more and better sleep, and you will begin to feel stronger and ready to take on the day.

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Nina Spears The Baby Chick®: Pregnancy, Birth & Postpartum Expert
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Nina is The Baby Chick® & Editor-in-Chief of Baby Chick®. She received her baby planning certification in early 2011 and began attending births that same year. Since then, Nina has… Read more

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