Having children is knackering. It is absolutely EXHAUSTING and as mums we need as much sleep as we can possibly get. However it’s not as simple as that.
Sleep brings about so many benefits, including better skin and health. But with children we can find it very difficult to get a good nights sleep, as they tend to have their own ideas.
Here are a few suggestions that can make a big difference….
Take Sleep Seriously
The first and most important point is simply to start treating sleep with the respect it deserves.
Don’t go to bed late thinking you’ll ‘make up for it later’.
Sleep will impact every aspect of the way you feel, look and perform and the negative effects can be cumulative with time.
Make getting enough, high quality sleep a priority. Where ever possible.
If you are drinking even a couple of glasses of wine or beer a night, then this will be badly hurting the quality of your sleep.
Alcohol leads to dehydration, it increases your heartrate and it prevents you from getting fully restorative deep sleep. If you aren’t out socializing, pick a fruit juice instead.
Oh and the same goes for caffeine past 4pm as well!
Take a Hot Shower Before Bed
This is one easy change that can have a huge impact on your sleep.
A hot shower will stimulate the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone) in your body and thus help you to sleep like a baby.
It also naturally relaxes the muscles.
You could also use a scent like Lavender to help relax you and sleep well.
Avoid Screen Time
For an hour before bed, avoid looking at computer screens or phones.
Your brain registers this wavelength of light as sunlight because it’s a similar point on the spectrum. Try using the Blue Light filter instead if you need to be using a screen.
Spend the last hour reading quietly and you’ll reduce your cortisol and sleep much better as a result!
Many unnatural lights can cause this problem too – in fact, just going to the bathroom in the night can trigger the release of enough cortisol to have quite profound negative effects on your sleep subsequently.
Consider a Daylight Alarm
While you want to avoid screen time during the evening though, this same ‘blue light’ is actually very beneficial when you’re just waking up.
That’s because cortisol is one of the things that helps us wake up and it’s a lack of this natural light that often makes it hard to get up in winter.
Try getting a daylight alarm which works by simulating the effects of a sunrise first thing in the morning by producing light at just the right wavelengths and then getting gradually brighter. – I use an automated brightness setting on my phone, where it gradually gets brighter as the day goes by, and then dull again in the evening.
My Honest Advice to you?
Don’t worry too much about getting the best nights sleep just yet. We are all young, and while yes the signs of aging can’t be reversed, we can work on preventing them when our little cherubs are older, and we have more time to ourselves.
If you have a particularly bad night with your child then just enjoy the time you spend with them, even if it is 1o’clock in the morning. They grow up way to fast for us to be worrying about getting the “perfect nights sleep” right now.
I take a nap when Isabelle is at school, and try to go to bed early (being around 9-10pm), so I am ready for the day ahead. For me a good nights sleep is waking in the morning feeling ready to take on anything that my toddler (is she still a toddler?) throws at me.
Sleep Well xx
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