Moms Need Sleep Too
There’s one thing every mom craves but never gets enough of—sleep. Whether you’re a working mom or a stay at home mom, chances are you get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep. Though sleep may be elusive for many moms, making it a priority can prevent illness, reduce stress, and clear your thinking so you can feel prepared to take on the challenges of motherhood.
Boost Your Immune System
Adequate sleep gives your body the time it needs to restore and heal from the rigors of the day. When you don’t get enough sleep, inflammation increases which leaves you feeling tired and achy. Your body uses the energy it needs to handle daily tasks to restore itself. Basically, it’s trying to do too many things at once.
The immune system goes to work early in the sleep cycle, and it takes a lot of energy to do its job. When you’re asleep, your body doesn’t need energy for daily activities like chasing kids. Instead, it can take care of your body.
Clear Thinking and Problem Solving
If you feel like finding the right words and figuring out how to get two kids to two different places at the same time takes longer when you’re tired, you’re right. The sleep-deprived brain slows down in an attempt to get the rest it needs.
When your neurons are firing in slow motion, your thinking skills follow suit. Many moms are the family taxi. Slowed thinking reduces problem solving skills and reaction times, which shows up while you drive. Sleep deprivation compromises your ability to stay sharp mentally sharp, increasing your chances of making a slow or bad decision.
How Moms Can Get More Sleep
Everything from a nursing baby to a medical condition could be keeping you up at night. Make sure you’ve got a comfortable mattress and your room is kept cool and dark. But there’s even more you can do to get a good night’s rest.
Learn to Say ‘No’: Whether you’re the mother of a newborn or all of your children are in school, you need to be comfortable saying no. If you’ve got a newborn, let the dishes sit in the sink while you take a nap with your baby. If planning the next school fundraiser has you awake at night from stress, ask for a co-chair or opt to help in other ways. The point is—put your health first.
Turn Off Screens: The light from e-readers, televisions, laptops, and smartphones can confuse the brain into thinking it’s time to be awake. Turning off screens at least an hour before you plan to go to bed gives your brain the time it needs to shut down for the day.
Exercise: Exercise releases endorphins, which leaves you feeling energized. Exercise also makes you feel more physically tired at night, which leads to better sleep.
Establish a Sleep Schedule: You may think this is for your kids, and it is, but it’s also for you. A consistent sleep schedule can help everyone in your family. The body responds to it’s natural circadian rhythms when a consistent schedule is followed. Go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time everyday to stay at your best. If you know you’ll be up during the night with one of your kids, try going to bed a little earlier to make up for lost sleep time.
I’d like to thank Sarah Johnson and her team with Tuck Sleep Foundation for this amazing guest post!
Tuck Sleep Foundation is a community devoted to improving sleep hygiene, health and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free web-based resources. Tuck has been featured on NPR, Lifehacker, Radiolab and is referenced by many colleges/universities and sleep organizations across the web.