Sleep literally impacts every area of ours lives, yet how often do we make it a genuine priority?
Most moms are not getting quality sleep. Why? You are balancing children, a home, endless responsibilities and maybe even a job! And what comes last? You.
But sleep deprivation is literally killing people through the associated health problems that come with it. And like the oxygen masks on an airplane, if you want to help other people (ie your kids) you need to make sure your mask is on.
Simply put: You need better sleep.
And making just a few changes to your routine can dramatically increase the quality of your sleep and your life.
10 STRATEGIES FOR MOMS TO GET DRAMATICALLY BETTER SLEEP
1) Schedule enough sleep every night
Adults needs no fewer than 7 hours of sleep a night. While some will proclaim that you can function perfectly well off something like 4 hours of sleep a night, that is complete and utter nonesense.
Sleep experts are adamant that adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Failure to get enough sleep can be disasterous. Sleep deprived people are more likely to get into accidents and make fatal mistakes
And I know that this is so hard for us moms. You’ve put the kids to bed and after a long day you finally have a few seconds to yourself. You want to catch up on Real Housewives and actually have a conversation with your husband.
Or you wake up with a baby several times a night.
Whatever the case, figure out when you need to go to sleep at night to make sure that you are getting enough sleep.
2) Avoid screen a few hours before bedtime
Screen are everywhere. And they are destroying our sleep. In our digital age, avoiding screens takes serious planning and willpower.
But you can do it.
Have a screen cut off time at least 2 hours before you plan to go to sleep. If you can, keep your phone and other screens out of your room entirely.
I’ll admit, this one was a struggle for me. The hubs and I used to have this nightly ritual of watching an episode (or five) of Forensic Files in bed. It was our time to spend together after a long day and, frankly, it’s crazy good.
BUT it wasn’t great for my sleep. DItching screens before bedtime has dramtically improved my sleep.
3) Stop eating a couple hours before bedtime
Eating heavy foods before bed will sabotage your sleep. Think about the last time you tried to fall asleep with an overly full belly. You probably had a hard time getting comfortable.
Personally, going to sleep on a slightly empty stomach (3 or so hours after eating) is best for my sleep quality.
4) Stop caffeine after mid-afternoon
This one is pretty obvious. Caffeine is a stimulant and it will make it hard to fall alseep. If you rely heavily on caffeine to get through your day, then your body is literally begging you to make sleep a priority.
Better sleep will reduce your dependence on caffeine. Stop the caffeine after the afternoon and then get to bed early.
5) Make your bedroom a sanctuary
Do you find your bedroom relaxing? Is it a reprieve from stress? If not, making some changes will drastically change your sleep and even your mood.
You can invite amazing sleep into your bedroom by creating a bedroom sanctuary. This means eliminating distractions, lights, screens, mess–whatever will make it hard to shut off your brain and keep quality sleep at bay.
Research shows that exercise significantly helps people to sleep better. If you aren’t a regular exerciser, it’s best to start out easy. Vigorous exercise might zap you of your energy during the day. For ideas on how to fit in exercise, check out my post 6 Gym-Free Ways For Busy Moms to Fit in a Quick Workout.
7) Practice deep breathingMeditate
Do you have trouble relaxing and shutting off your brain? Even if you’re exhausted, is is a struggle to quiet your busy mind? Then try deep breathing exercises.
A simple one to try is 5-5-5 breathing. Breathe in for 5 counts, hold for 5 counts, and breathe out for an additional 5 counts. Repeat a few times and you will feel your body starting to relax.
Meditation is also fabulous. It’s great at any time of the day, but it’s especially helpful for relaxing and preparing for sleep. There are so many great guided meditations for sleep on the internet. I personally love the UCLA guided meditations. Here’s one for sleep.
9) Go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday
Research shows that creating a reliable body clock where you go to bed and rise at the same times each day improves sleep quality. Your circadian rythym(the body’s 24 hour internal clock) works best when you have regular sleep habits.
As a busy mom, this will take planning and willpower.
I have found that moving my “me time” to the mornings as opposed to after the kids are in bed has had a really positive result. For tips on maximizing your mornings, check out my post here.
10) Create a relaxing bedtime routine
Just like creating bedtime routines for your kids helps them fall asleep, relaxing bedtime routine will help you fall asleep and sleep soundly. Some examples of nightly rituals include:
- Take a relaxing hot bath: When you get out of the bath, your body’s rapid temperature drop naturally relaxes you and will help you sleep deeper.
- Read a book: Reading can be relaxing and put you right to sleep.
- Lay out your clothes: preparing for the day can help calm your mind
- Sexy time: Studies show that sex before bed will help you sleep more soundly.
11) Keep room nice and cold
Love to keep your bedroom freezing and pile on the blankets? Well, you’re in luck! It’s actually good for you. Sleeping in a cold room helps you sleep better and is actually better for your overall health!
Get better sleep tonight
Mama, your sleep is so incredibly important. You are the engine for your home and family. Making sure that engine is running well means that you need to get quality sleep.
You don’t have to try every single strategy above to start seeing really positive results. A few changes to your routine can be lifechanging. Pick a few strategies that seem doable and try them for a week and see what happens.
You deserve a good night’s rest. You can do it!