So while I was working out this morning with Fit4mom, some of the mom's, myself included, were complaining about our own struggles with sleep. How unfair. The baby is sleeping soundly, the toddler is passed out, the husband is snoring, the dog is chasing bunnies in his dreams, and I'm over here thinking about my grocery list! What a lame and totally mom thing to do in the middle of the night. I mean, I was even watching a Ryan Reynolds movie before bed...groceries, really?? One of my friends in class asked "don't you have any tips for us?", well ask and you shall receive.
1. Cut the Caffeine
Before you drop the phone and loose all trust in me, I just mean some. Not all. Never all. Coffee is my downfall. I drink it black, by the carafe and of course, cold...because I am a mom. Coffee is a way of life for me and it is the first thing I look forward to when I open my eyes. But do I need it at 2:00 pm. Probably not. It's probably best if we limit our caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime.
I'm a huge advocate for physical activity, especially for moms because of its benefits such as increased self confidence, less symptoms of postpartum depression, lower blood pressure, less stress, healthier heart... and the list goes on. Another reason for exercise is more restful sleep. People who exercise spend more time in deep sleep, which is our more restorative sleep. Exercise during the day also increases the duration of your sleep time.
3. Bedtime Routine
I have talked about the importance of bedtime routines in babies and toddlers to the point of exhaustion, but the same rule applies to adults as well. Having a calming and relaxing bedtime routine, cues our brains that it is time for sleep. Good things to incorporate are a hot shower or bath, reading a book, hot tea, lotion and comfy PJ's. Keep bedtime about the same time every night to help set your internal body clock.
4. Keep it Dark
We all know that light interrupts our melatonin production which helps us to sleep. It is a good idea to start turning lights down and closing the shades up to 3 hours before your bedtime.
This means no cell phones or tablets allowed! The blue light from your devices restrains the production of melatonin. I know it is asking a lot for you to cut out phones 3 hours before bed, so shoot for an hour.
5. Write it down
Again, last night I was thinking about my grocery list. What were you thinking about? I'm not 100% sure what the answer is, but I do know for sure that it could wait until morning. It is a good idea to keep your journal or planner next to the bed and write out your to-do list for the next day and then put it away. Nothing you can do about it now anyway. Sometimes, I also write down any worries that are on my mind. Usually by morning, they don't seem as important
6. Put down the Baby Monitor
I think we often are too attached to our baby monitors. I'm a recovering monitor addict myself. The first step is admitting it. I actually can't even say that I am recovered. I still have a monitor in both my 2.5 year old's room and the 7 month old (along with an Owlet). Where is think we get into trouble is by keeping the volume up. Your baby is going to wake up in the night, we all do. They will probably make noise. Keeping the sound up not only wakes us every time they make a grunt or fart, it also tricks us into intervening too quickly. As I mentioned, we all wake up in the night for brief moments and often fall back to sleep. If your baby briefly wakes up, is trying to get themselves back down and then all the sudden their favorite person walks in...nevermind sleep, it's party time. So if you want to keep the monitor, turn off the sound...unless you sleep floors away from your baby, your mama sense will wake you if the baby cries.
7. Prioritize sleep
Seriously. Sleep is as important as physical activity, eating healthy, mental health, brushing your teeth. All of that. It is more important than your grocery list, your laundry, more important that your kids having the perfect outfit for daycare. As I often say...
You can do anything, but you can't do everything. Not tonight anyway.