This helpful mom sleeping guide has been tried, tested, and backed by science.
When you become a brand new mom, getting a decent night’s rest becomes a precious and unreliable commodity. Chances are, you’re probably not going to get a good night’s rest until your baby sleeps through the night. This is hard to hear when you are desperately tired, and all you want is a full 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
The good thing is, this phase does pass.
But once our babies do sleep through the night, something weird happens—we don’t sleep! The irony of this occurrence is rather frustrating!
Often, we’re still tossing and turning at 3 in the morning while our babies are sound asleep.
On Halloween, we won’t need makeup—we’ll already look like zombies.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. To maximize your sleep benefits, follow these helpful mom sleeping tips.
Let Mom Sleep – An Easy To Implement Mom Sleeping Guide
Turn Off Electronic Devices
Seriously, turn it off. You may be thinking that a quiet activity is harmless to sleep, but no!
Scrolling through social media or checking emails right before bedtime will only rev you up, and your body can’t instantly switch gears. According to Joyce Walsleben, Ph.D., director of the Sleep Disorders Center at New York University School of Medicine, “using the computer or doing work is a daytime activity.”
If you are able to, keep your computer out of the bedroom. By doing this, you are less likely to associate your bedroom with work.
If your guilty pleasure is scrolling through your Pinterest or Instagram feed before bed, move this activity to the daytime.
Also avoid other stimulating activities close to bedtime, like watching disturbing TV news or a suspenseful show, reading a thriller, or discussing a big issue with your partner. Activities like this have been proven to give most adults anxious or stressed feelings, and therefore lower your chances of a good night’s rest.
While this simple rule will not rid you of anxiety or stress, you can at least avoid it at night.
Wind Down With Low Lights
According to Clete Kushida, M.D., Ph.D., director of Stanford University’s sleep-research center, anything brighter than a 15-watt bulb may have an effect on your ability to rest. Therefore, it makes complete sense to switch from high-wattage lights to low wattage lights in your bedroom.
Also, at least an hour before bed, prepare yourself to go to sleep. We do this for our kids with a bath, stories, etc, but not for ourselves.
If you need to get up in the middle of the night to check on your baby, use a dim night-light that you can turn on and off.
Don’t Eat Refined Carbs And Sugars Before Bed
It feels so comforting to have a little snack before bed, but don’t give in. By eating before bed, the foods you consume can disrupt your sleep patterns because your body would now have to work long after you close your eyes. The problem is not falling asleep—it’s staying asleep!
According to this study, “women who consumed a diet high in added sugars and refined carbohydrates had a greater risk of developing insomnia.”
Avoid Caffeinated Drinks After Noon
Everyone knows not to drink coffee late at night, but caffeine consumed any time after midday is just as bad. Be aware that tea, carbonated sodas, coffee ice cream, and even decaf coffee may all contain enough of a jolt to keep you awake.
Also, be wary of chocolate! Chocolate has only a small amount of caffeine but contains several other stimulants.
Avoid (Most) Naps
They say that with newborn babies, you should sleep when your baby sleeps. That remains true. But this mom sleeping guide is not for moms with new babies—it’s for moms whose babies are sleeping through the night.
You may think that by taking a nap during the day, you’ll be able to catch up on lost sleep. The problem is, napping can create a vicious cycle of sleep competition that will leave you exhausted.
By sleeping during the day, you are starting a war with the more restful sleep that you need at bedtime.
If you really need to take a nap during the day, make sure the nap is never longer than 20-30 minutes. For best results, try the power nap/ disco nap method. A power nap ensures naps that won’t mess with your nighttime rest.
Set Your Bedtime
If you follow the advice of experts, you probably have a set bedtime routine for your child(ren). Chances are, you don’t have that same kind of commitment for your own slumber.
No one is suggesting an elaborate bedtime routine. Simply set your own bedtime, and stick to it.
Studies have shown that going to bed at the same time every night increases your sleep benefits. By creating and sticking to the habit of going to bed at the same time, you’ll be a well-rested person.
Setting your own bedtime is not hard.
- Assuming you put your child(ren) to bed the same time every night, note the time they are waking up (over a few days).
- Work backward from there to calculate your own bedtime.
- If you have a baby who still wakes up at night, you’ll need to add more time to account for wake periods.
Once In Bed, Turn Out ALL The Lights
Have you ever slept in a hotel and woke up rested and refreshed the next day? That’s probably because many hotels have room darkening shades that block out all light.
It turns out that when it’s dark, our brains secrete melatonin—a hormone that makes us feel sleepy. Light, however, does the opposite. Light causes our brains to stop making melatonin, which is usually a signal to our bodies that it’s time to wake up.
But even if you turn off all the lights, there may still be sources of light in your bedroom.
Lights Coming From Outside:
If lights from outside are unavoidable, consider room darkening shades or curtains like in hotel rooms. If that’s not possible, consider a good sleeping mask.
Lights Coming From Artificial Lights:
Many TVs and electronic devices still have a little light shining from it, even after it is turned off. If you have any artificial light in your bedroom, try to cover it. If covering it is not an option, try to sleep with a sleeping mask.
Bonus Mom Sleeping Tip: Stretch
To get a good night’s rest, you will want to avoid exercises that can get your heart rate up, right before bedtime. However, gentle stretching is beneficial and relaxing for both your mind and body. Be sure to breathe deeply and reflect on the joys in your life to make the most of each movement.
Note From The Author
Babies get cranky when they don’t get enough sleep. We do too, even if we’re not making a big fuss about it. Our tempers are shorter, we get frustrated quickly, we become anxious, depressive… the list goes on.
However, a well-rested mother has the ability to engage on a deeper level with her child(ren). Sleep gives us more energy during the day, it makes us healthier, more compassionate, caring… it helps us be the mom we want to be.
These mom sleeping tips are easy to implement. From mom to mom, I strongly encourage you to do whatever you need to do to ensure you get the rest you need.