We all know that it’s no mystery at all that you’re a tired mom. Not because you don’t have things in order. Not because you are necessarily frazzled or running a chaotic home. But simply because it’s tiring to be a mom. And when your kids are little, you’re always busy being hyper-vigilant. Plus, if you look at the resume for a stay at home mom or the many hats a mother wears on paper, you won’t be surprised why you’re tired.
And, as we know, that the more tired you are the worse you sleep. The worse you sleep the more cranky you are the next morning. It’s basically an ugly cycle. So here are some ways that we can help get back into a well-rested cycle in spite of the fact that we still have a lot on our plate.
1. Think straight when you can think straight.
It’s high time you made a plan to get more rest, or better rest, into your normal routine. However, the worst time to start making decisions, try to fight bad habits, or rely on your willpower is when you are already exhausted. It’s been said never to make important decisions or have important conversations late at night, and I agree with this wholeheartedly. Things seem worse, you feel worse, and everything looks lose lose when you are working at a negative.
Create a plan or routine that will help guard your sleep (more on that later) and do this when you are feeling okay. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, but create a plan and then when you are uber exhausted, stop thinking. Just follow said plan. I know that’s easier said than done, but it’ll take willpower and self-discipline to get our sleep back and it’ll be so worth it!
2. Pre-midnight sleep.
A friend’s mother always told him, “One hour of sleep before midnight is worth two.” Anecdotally, I agreed. Come to find out it actually proves true based on science as well. Basically, your best quality of sleep occurs when your circadian rhythm is at its lowest and this generally occurs between 10 pm and 5 am. That means if you go to bed at 1 and get up at 8, only half your sleep is likely good quality.
Whereas if you went to bed at 11 and woke up at 7, the majority of your sleep would be higher quality. Plus, when you have kids, you never know if they’ll wake up at night for some reason. I can’t count the number of times I was in bed asleep at 9:30 pm (I’m lame, I know), but at 2:00 am awake with a teething toddler was SO GLAD I’d made that choice. I could wake up relatively well rested instead of starting the day at the end of my rope.
3. Get an eye mask.
Sounds a bit superficial and silly, but I’m telling you: get an eye mask. And get one today. These work for a few reasons. They block light which helps your brain produce melatonin which is the good sleep hormone that will help you sleep. Also, they are a good sleep association. Yes, even adults need sleep associations! They are also great if your spouse likes to read with the light on or watch TV in bed. This eyemask actually has cold therapy and helps with headaches and migraines as well.
4. Guard your evenings.
If you’re exhausted and worn out the last thing you have is a large amount of will power and rational reasoning skills. Trust me I know. However, the only way to get out of it is to consistently do something about it. The period when our children are very little is all consuming, but if we don’t try to set in place good habits now they won’t magically set themselves.
This may mean stopping work by 9 pm, instituting screen free time, or saving your favorite TV shows or films for the weekend. Each house will be different, but you may have to set a boundary that says “Even if I go to bed tonight with a dirty house, I’ll have more energy and wherewithal to clean it tomorrow. I’m going to leave it.”
5. Use sleep aids.
By sleep aids, I mean natural things you can use that will help your body calm down and get ready for sleep. This may mean getting a good mattress if you have back or hip issues. If you aren’t able to afford a nice new mattress you can get a thick pillowtop mattress that essentially does the same thing. This one is 3 inches thick with memory foam and a lot cheaper than a new mattress if that simply isn’t in the budget.
Another thing we’ve found success with in our homes is using essential oils to help calm down and sleep well. My 4 year old has actually started to take more naps than she did a few months away when I diffuse certain essential oils in her room at naptime and night. They’re another great sleep association and are undoubtedly beneficial for sleep.
6. Have rules for your kids.
One thing is for sure: it’s jarring to be woken up in the morning by a screaming or fussing kid. We have rules in our home that the kids don’t get out of bed until we come to their rooms. They stay in bed, sing, talk, play with their stuffed animals or stare at the fan. Either way, there is no rolling over at 5 am, realizing they have free reign of he house, and then getting up screaming.
By having these types of rules you’ll find children actually sleep a lot later. Why? Because they know it’s pointless to get up early. We really emphasize that they don’t need to wake up screaming, but if they need to use the potty, etc. they can do so quietly then return to their beds. Sounds pie in the sky but it’s possible with consistency.
7. Set the scene.
I’m horrible at this when I have a new baby. Until my babies are sleep well through the night I keep them in a crib in our room so I don’t have to wake fully up and go to another room to feed then be completely awake. A few times a night. Anyway, because of that I don’t keep the master bedroom as a haven, but when the baby is old enough for their own room then I definitely do. Have nice lighting, comfy seating, blankets, and a place for your books or hot tea. Okay let’s be honest, it’s Diet Coke (which I’ll admit I’m so addicted to that it doesn’t even keep me up at night).
Light blocking curtains, rainforest sounds (white noise for adults, ha), and comfortable bedding go a long way to making your room a place that inspires rest. This will depend on your own personality, but red and yellow are suggested by color experts to be avoided in bedrooms because they are stimulating as opposed to calming.
8. Ease your mind.
Lauren posted recently that keeping a list can actually help you sleep better. If tend towards anxiety, worry, or Type-A-ness then this may be particularly important for you. Keep lists, do one or two major things on your to do list and then relax. Learn to lower your expectations of what can be done in this season of life. Then, if you can, cross some things off your to do list, not because you did them, but because they don’t really have to be done.
Did I miss any important tip that you use to sleep better and more?
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