What keeps you up at night? If you are a mum it could be many things. Re-designing my website has kept me up many times recently! However there are things that you can do to help you rest, so I’ve put together some sleep tips for busy mums.
Wind down early
When you go to bed at night knowing there’s a chance you’ll be woken by a small child, it helps to get in as many hours before midnight as you can, so you can cope better with the early morning hours afterwards when you’ll be on duty! My mum used to tell me when I was young that ‘every hour you sleep before 12am is worth two hours after’. It is one of those old wives’ tales designed no doubt to get kids into bed and out of parents’ hair on an evening but it stuck with me and applies here! Plan your day so you switch off anything over stimulating for about 2 hours before bedtime to allow your body chance to wind down and relax. Then it’ll be easier to get some sleep earlier.
Prepare for tomorrow, today!
Help yourself to feel like you’re ahead of the game by choosing tomorrow’s outfit before you sleep. This way, if you are going out to work, you have your clothes ready and it is a no brainer of ‘what to wear’ in the morning when you might be rushing. You can do this for your children too so they know what they will put on. I also like to have all school bags packed and ready by the door so we have a swift exit at the start of the day. It keeps my mornings stress free and allows me to relax the night before.
Sleep in a dark room
This is something I’m working on as our bedroom is very bright and our window dressings let all the light in! We are planning a bedroom makeover later in the year where I will get something darker at the window but until then I have invested in a sleep mask to cover my eyes and help me trick my brain into thinking it is the middle of the night when in fact it is 9.30pm! If you can, make sure that your room is dark when you sleep and if like me it isn’t, then get yourself a nice sleep mask!
Download your thoughts
Busy mums always have a million things going on in their head, and when we are trying to sleep is the time that all our ‘to dos’ are remembered by our brains and pop back into our heads! I find that having a notebook and pen by the bedside allows me to download my thoughts to get rid of the nagging mental activity that prevents me from dropping off.
Watch what you drink
A cheeky glass of wine in the evening may help you relax at the time but it could disturb your sleep later in the night. Same for caffeine – a coffee or tea in the evening can keep you up. Switch to decaf for night time drinks or try something like a hot chocolate – I like the Belgian Chocolate Options which is just 40 calories per mug (That’s 2 syns on Slimming World!) You could also try a chamomile tea drunk half an hour before bed which has a calming quality.
Avoid long daytime naps
Whilst a little ‘nanna nap’ can give you a boost in the day if you are lagging, avoid slumping off for more than 30 minutes. It is during the first third of our night-time sleep that we get the most restorative benefits of the sleep and deep sleep is related to the amount of time spent awake in the day. We are not going to get much quality of deep sleep in our daytime nap and it can prevent you from getting stuck into your long night-time sleep, so keep napping to a minimum for better quality night sleep.
Blind manufacturer Hillarys is supporting UNESCO’s International Year of Light 2015 and recently held a #HillarysWeekOfSleep awareness campaign on Twitter to help promote better sleep. They have teamed up with wellness expert Dr Lauren Kita to produce some sleep tips of their own. You can read Dr Kita’s tips here
The benefits of sleep
It is obvious that when you get enough sleep that you will be mentally alert and ready to face the next day, but did you realise that lack of sleep could be making you fat? I can attest to this – when I have less than 8 hours, I’m always hungrier the next day. I only noticed this when I started going to Slimming World because I was paying attention to what food I was consuming, but a lack of sleep means that ghrelin – the body’s hunger hormone can take hold. Your body produces ghrelin in the stomach and the more ghrelin you produce, the more you want to eat. Studies have shown that subjects suffering from a lack of sleep had 15% more ghrelin than well rested subjects. Another benefit of getting plenty of shut eye is that you’ll be less cranky the next day and therefore more patient with the kids!
What are your best methods for getting to sleep? Do share with me in the comments!