Surviving Parenthood: How To Get a Better Nights Sleep | Modern Mummy

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Surviving Parenthood: How To Get a Better Nights Sleep

I know I must be beginning to sound like a broken record but, seven and a half years into motherhood, I'm still waiting for a proper, decent night's sleep!

Admittedly, the girls have got SO much better at sleeping recently; they rarely wake in the night anymore, and our days no longer start before 6.30am. These days my sleep issues seem to be just that - mine. I struggle to fall asleep and then wake at every little noise throughout the night. If, like me, you find yourself lying awake in bed, its probably time to take a look at how you're treating your body during the day.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult needs seven to nine hours sleep a night. I don't know about you but for years, while the girls were younger, I wasn't getting anywhere near that! Although it was hard, I managed to function (you have to when you're a parent!) and now I'd say around my body needs about six hours.

Here are a few suggestions to help you have the best sleep you can at night.

1. Start with a sleep schedule

As parents, we encourage our children to sleep and wake at a consistent time each day and night, but I don't know any grown ups that follow the same routine! Going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time each night helps train the brain to understand when it should be tired, and when it should be alert. As with any training schedule, sleep training will take time in the beginning, but you really will benefit from it in the long run. If you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, don't get stressed. Relax your mind through reading or meditation to allow your mind to fatigue naturally. I've recently started listening to sleep meditation music on Spotify and setting the timer to turn the music off after ten minutes. Every single time I have fallen asleep before the music has stopped!

2. Create a restful environment

Bedrooms should be a haven of relaxation. That doesn’t mean arranging your room into perfectly Feng Shui alignment, but just being conscious of what will surround you as your sleep. I totally believe that a cluttered bedroom equals a cluttered mind and its for this reason that I insist on the girls tidying their bedrooms before they go to bed. Little things like opening the window ahead of bedtime to allow fresh air inside, and getting rid of technology in the bedroom will also have a positive psychological effect and, in turn, improve the quality of your rest.

3. Don’t rely on daytime naps

Naps! Remember those? Me neither ;) Apparently they are a wonderful way to reinvigorate your body and mind during a slump, but taking them regularly really can interfere with your sleep schedule so don't feel deprived if you've not had a daytime nap since 2001. If you really need, and are lucky enough to be able to have a little snooze in the middle of the day, limit it to a 30 minute power nap. Any more than this and there's a good chance you'll struggle to sleep at night.

4. Take a look at your overall lifestyle

If you’re consuming heavy, carb filled meals or sugary snacks within a few hours of your bedtime, then your digestive system may still be processing it by the time you attempt to doze off. I'm already aware that coffee is my problem; I used to drink so much of it! Consuming caffeine past 2pm means that the effects are still in your system when you want to go to bed. I did actually try to cut out caffeine altogether but decided that was a bit extreme ;) Instead, over the last four weeks I have cut my intake to three cups a day; one at breakfast, one mid-morning and one as a pre school pick me up at about 2pm. I am already noticing the positive effects.

If you do rely heavily on caffeine, as a lot of us sleep deprived parents do, try minimalising your intake from the afternoon onwards, and with each tea or coffee, drink plenty of water to help speed up the process of eliminating it from your system.

Joy Richards, a sleep specialist for UK online bed retail store Happy Beds, is dedicated to helping everyone get the most out of their bed,  has this to say about caffeine and the negative effect it has on sleep:

“While most of us (me included) often rely on strategically timed caffeine hits to get us through the day, it can have a very negative impact upon our attempts to sleep later on in the evening. While completely abandoning caffeine is out of the question for most of us, I would recommend avoiding any tea or coffee after 2pm in the afternoon. Drinking caffeine after that time will mean that it remains in your system in the lead up to bedtime. While you may feel physical tired, your body is still trying to process the chemicals and the quality of your sleep will be considerably lower compared to those who have not ingested caffeine after this time.”

You can see other helpful tips from Joy on the Happy Beds website here.

Written in association with Happy Beds.


1 comment

  1. You have some great tips here lady. Now if you can come and implement them all with my kids I'll love you forever! x


© Modern Mummy. All rights reserved.