There’s no tired like mom-tired

We juggle work, kids, husbands and housework – and somewhere, in between all those demands, we need to take care of ourselves too!

Most of us know this, and try to practise self-care by exercising, eating healthily and stealing a few minutes here and there for ourselves…

One aspect of self-care that we notoriously struggle with though, is sleep.

Experts recommend around seven to nine hours of sleep each night for optimum health and performance.

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I know, right? Which mom has time for that?

We are known for cramming our whole lives into the few hours following our kids’ bedtime. And, we more often than not need to get up super early to nail the school run with our sanity in check. Throw in a bad sleeper, or two (think newborns, toddlers and bad dreams) – and I’d estimate that we probably average on five solid hours of sleep per night. If that.

That’s a whole lot of sleep debt that we’re accumulating – debt that is usually most noticeable in our energy levels, mood (sorry, hubby!) and overall health.

So, how do we get more sleep? Well, like most things, it starts with prioritising. In order to get a good night’s sleep, you have to want to get a good night’s sleep – which means turning off the TV, saying ‘no’ to that last cup of coffee and putting down your phone!

Here are five ‘bad’ habits that could be sabotaging your sleep – and five ‘good’ habits to adopt instead:

5 Bad habits that could be sabotaging your sleep

  1. Put your phone down! We’re all guilty of scrolling (mindlessly, might I add) through social media before we go to bed at night, but, a study conducted at the University of Haifa confirms that the blue light emitted from devices like phones reduces sleep duration. So, if you want a good night’s rest, put your phone down before you climb into bed, or, better yet, keep it out of reach entirely.
  2. Say no to that last ‘cuppa’ coffee: A warm cup of anything is a relaxing way to ‘call it a day’ – but if your drink of choice is coffee, it could be affecting the quality of your sleep. Rather try something, that’s known to have calming effects, like chamomile tea. Good to know: Experts recommend that you stop drinking coffee six hours before bedtime.
  3. Make sure there’s enough time between dinnertime and bedtime: It might be nice to sit down and eat your dinner in peace and quiet after the kids have drifted off to sleep – but eating so late is not good for your waistline or your sleep! That’s because the process of digestion can keep you awake – ideally, you should leave two to three hours between dinnertime and bedtime!
  4. Don’t exercise before bedtime! Again, often the only time moms can squeeze in an exercise session is after the kids have gone to sleep – but, as we all know, exercise raises endorphins, making your body more alert, which in turn may affect the time it takes you to fall asleep.
  5. Kick your pets out of the bed! While your furry friends may be great snuggle buddies, having dogs in the bed can reduce the amount and quality of your sleep! Rather teach them to sleep in their own bed, next to yours!

5 Good habits to adopt instead…

  1. Take five minutes before you turn the lights off to ‘quiet’ your mind – and give your brain a buffer between awake time and sleep time!
  2. Share parenting responsibilities: Often it’s not habits, but responsibilities that keep us awake at night. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner to help out so that you can get a few hours of solid sleep.
  3. Be clever about your nighttime snack: Late-night munchies are a real thing, and while most of us reach for the sweetie cupboard, we should actually be reaching for something like a banana, that can help you fall asleep quicker instead.
  4. Start a bedtime routine – and stick to it! Have a bath, whack on a face mask, read a few pages of your book… Just like your kids thrive on their bedtime routine, establishing one for yourself could improve the quality of your sleep
  5. Have a laugh! Laughter increases your melatonin production, making it easier for you to drift off! Plus, falling asleep with a happy heart is bound to help you sleep more soundly!