The “mom brain” doesn’t necessarily obey the “solid eight hours” principle when it comes to sleep. The reality is that it can be hard to shut off at the end of the day when you’re keeping so many balls up in the air. Moms often sacrifice their own sleep to squeeze in just a little more time to take care of laundry, make sure tomorrow’s lunches are made, glance over homework or finally get to the mountain of work emails waiting for them! While moms are known to work a little magic, they still can’t make more hours appear in the day.
According to one study looking into just how severe the sleep deficit is among moms, new parents face up to six years of sleep deprivation. How are some moms getting the rest they need to stay on top of it all? They’re unlocking the secrets to good sleep hygiene that are available to us all. Take a look at some tips for better sleep for moms.
Don’t Fall Down the “Email Hole” Right Before Bed
Many of us have the best intentions when we put aside our emails for the quiet time after the kids have gone to bed. However, this is often where the “poor sleep” spiral begins. First, work emails will almost certainly cause us to feel more stressed after we scroll than we felt before opening up our email tab. Even email that doesn’t stress us out can still trap us in a cycle of distractions. For instance, coupons in our inbox may cause us to suddenly be shopping for things we didn’t even know we needed. This can keep us up hours later than we intended. A better idea is to allow yourself to go to bed now with the promise of waking up 30 minutes earlier in the morning to focus on email without any distractions. The truth is that you probably won’t be able to take care of anything until everyone else is back at their computers in the morning, even if there is a pressing issue.
Set Boundaries With Your Family
If you’re a new mom caring for a newborn, this isn’t necessarily a tip for you. However, this is something to keep in your pocket for when your baby is old enough. Too many moms grow angry and resentful because they don’t feel like family members understand their needs. Your kids may see you as a superhuman person who can do it all. Your partner may assume that you have everything “handled” because you always get everything done. One of the best ways to preserve your sacred sleep time is to communicate your family’s needs. This means letting them know that you are choosing a set bedtime that needs to be respected.
Protect Your Circadian Rhythm Against Screens
Unfortunately, the shows and movies many of us are watching to wind down before bed are winding us up! That’s because the artificial glow of a screen can completely hijack our circadian rhythm. You may feel like you’re relaxing as you focus on a show while letting all of your other cares melt away. In reality, your brain is getting confusing signals because it can’t necessarily differentiate between daylight and artificial light.
“The blue light that’s emitted from these screens can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin, increase alertness, and reset the body’s internal clock (or circadian rhythm) to a later schedule,” according to the Sleep Foundation. That means that you may find your bedtime being pushed back further and further as your brain adjusts to light exposure from screens.
Blue light from screens is particularly menacing because it has a short wavelength that impacts melatonin levels more than other sources of light. Even people who don’t have trouble falling asleep in front of screens may have something to worry about. That’s because the melatonin that our bodies create in the hours leading up to bedtime peaks at some point during the middle of the night. If your screen usage has caused your melatonin production to dip, you may experience less REM sleep during the night. This is one of the big reasons why many people feel tired even though they’re sleeping “eight hours a night.”
Try Mindfulness Exercises
Many people who aren’t familiar with mindfulness may dismiss it as a “fluffy” practice. In reality, science backs the positive association between mindfulness and better sleep. One recent study found that participants who were taught mindfulness exercises over six sessions experienced less insomnia and fatigue than other participants who participated in sleep-education sessions. You don’t need to take a professional class to dive into mindfulness practices. There are countless apps available that will allow you to enjoy guided meditations from anywhere.
Try Natural Sleep Aids and Supplements
As a mom, you can’t mess around with sleep aids that will “knock you out” or make you feel groggy in the morning. Only a sleep aid that works naturally with your body to help you drift to sleep naturally, stay asleep and awaken fully restored and alert will do. This is one of the reasons why so many moms are using natural hemp Cannabinol as a sleep aid. Natural, non-psychoactive Cannabinol products bind to receptors in the brain that are part of the endocannabinoid system responsible for bringing relaxation and calmness. Cannabinol products are used by many people looking for natural wellness aids for anxiety and stress.
Is Better Sleep for Moms Really Possible?
The truth is that nobody can take all of the tasks that go along with being a modern-day mom off your plate. However, adequate sleep is the best tool for having the energy and mood to get it all done! Long-term sleep deprivation can lead to a variety of health issues and mood conditions. Committing to getting on a consistent sleep plan that provides the restorative, uninterrupted sleep needed to wake up feeling refreshed is essential for all moms because the world can’t run without them!