Whether you are experiencing the insomnia-related side effects of your pregnancy journey, are a new mom, or have several children, sleep might not come easily to you anymore. And if it does, you probably don’t get many nights of undisrupted sleep. Not only can not getting enough sleep take a toll on your health, but it can affect your role as a mother. So, how can you make sure you are able to sleep through the night more often than not? These tips may be able to help:
Upgrade Your Sleep Space
One of the most overlooked causes of poor sleep is the bed. You would think it would be the first thing people look at, but it’s also a big investment so maybe we willfully ignore it until we’re desperate. Either way, if you rarely get a full night’s sleep, you should think about:
- How long it’s been since you’ve updated your mattress and bedding
- Whether any part of your bed or bedding causes you discomfort
- If your bed is tailored to your specific sleep issues (back pain, overheating, etc.)
You would be surprised how much of a difference a high-quality mattress foundation, nice sheets, and supportive pillows can make during the night.
Set a Bedtime for the Whole House
It’s hard enough to stick to a sleep routine for yourself, let alone the whole family, but it can help you establish better sleep habits so it’s worth the effort. Depending on whether you have children and their ages, you can set a tiered bedtime schedule that allows you to get some alone time at the end of the night. For example:
- Put the youngest children down at 8pm
- Older children go to bed by 9pm
- You and your spouse are in bed by 10:30pm
If it’s just you and your partner for now, try to get on the same sleep schedule to help avoid disruptions. Even if you don’t fully wake up while they’re getting ready, or you think that their bedside light isn’t affecting you, it probably is preventing you from achieving that full deep sleep you need to feel rested.
Establish a Bedtime Routine for Yourself
Before you actually go to sleep, you should have a bedtime routine that helps you wind down after a long day and sets the mood for sleeping. Your evening ritual should be centered around calming activities that you enjoy (along with your basic hygiene). An example of a good pre-bedtime routine includes:
- 4 hours before bed: spend some quality family time, like crafting with your child
- 3 hours before bed: stop snacking or drinking anything but water
- 2 hours before bed: watch an episode of your favorite show
- 1 hour before bed: putting away all electronic devices and read for an hour
- When you’re ready to sleep: turn off the lights and listen to calming music or meditation to fall asleep
If you’re going to use sleep sounds to help you drift off, use a timer so they turn off on their own.
Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, & Smoking
If you have a busy household it may be hard to avoid that afternoon cup of coffee, but caffeine can actually prevent you from getting quality sleep. Caffeine is a stimulant that makes you more alert and it blocks the receptors in the brain that allow you feel sleepy, which is why it isn’t optimal later in the day.
Having a glass of wine might be your idea of the perfect pre-sleep wind down, but it might actually be making things worse. While alcohol can help you fall asleep faster, it can lead to disruptions in your sleep later on at night. If you can, avoid alcohol before bed so you can get a better overall night’s sleep.
Start Prioritizing Quality Sleep
Following these steps should help you improve your overall sleep quality so you can start sleeping through the night. Depending on what’s keeping you from sleeping like stress, a waking baby, or a partner with sleep apnea, you may need to take other steps, too. Try implementing these new steps slowly, week-over-week, so you can see what’s working and what’s not.
Whatever you need to do to make sure you’re getting the full seven to nine hours of rest every night, you should do it for you and your family’s sake because lack of sleep can have a long-term impact on your overall health. When you get more sleep, everyone will benefit and you can be the best you that you can be.