By Brittney Stefanic
Exhausted mamas, we’ve gotta chat… Getting a full night’s rest is vital to your mental and physical success because it is in the deeper stages of sleep that the body revitalizes and restores itself.
During these deep sleep stages, energy stores are rejuvenated and the immune system can be boosted. If you are worried about COVID-19, it’s actually not toilet paper that you need… It is sleep!
Knowing all this, it’s no wonder that sleep is essential to keep the operations of your family running smoothly, yet it is one of the first things we sacrifice in our daily life, especially as busy moms.
Most of the time, mamas think that they aren’t getting enough sleep because of their little ones, and though that is occasionally the truth, more often than not, the struggles are actually their own!
Read on to hear the top four culprits that are preventing moms from getting the sleep they need and deserve!
Culprit #1: Instagram scrolling
Computer, TV, and phone screens all emit blue light, which tricks our internal clocks into thinking that it’s still daytime. If you find yourself scrolling late into the night, it is likely that your brain is all sorts of confused and your sleep hormone is out of whack!
My advice to overcome this struggle… Power down the electronics at at least one hour before your desired bedtime and keep them off until the next morning.
In order to minimize temptation (because that struggle is REAL), don’t charge devices near your bed! You might even consider setting up a family “charging station” in your laundry room, spare bedroom or kitchen to create family time that is screen-free!
Culprit #2: A stressful bedroom
Do you have a pile of laundry on your bed? Well… You aren’t alone! But this might be causing sleep struggles for you, especially if the laundry pile stresses you out. Removing toys, laundry piles and clutter from bedrooms is a great first step in removing the stress from our sleep spaces.
Ultimately, the bedrooms in your house should be places that feel calming, relaxing and inviting. Making sure your “sleep sanctuaries” feel this way can be very helpful for initiating sleep.
If there is something in your bedroom (a book that you just can’t seem to finish, the pile of donations that you haven’t dropped off yet, the old baby bassinet that is still in the corner) that is creating negative feelings or tough emotions, spend a few minutes today to get them out of there!
Culprit #3: Winter hibernation
With old man winter (hopefully) behind us, we’ve got to overcome the cabin fever by getting outside! Spending time outside is a great way to burn off extra energy, soak up Vitamin D, spend quality time with your family, and boost production of our natural sleep hormone, melatonin.
If the outdoor time can total 90 minutes a day, that is most recommended for aiding in sleep quality, but any amount of time in the later afternoon or early evening can be helpful.
Quick tip: As soon as it is warm enough, aim for eating dinner outside and then taking a quick walk around the block. It is amazing what natural light and endorphins can do for syncing up our natural body clock and making sleep a little easier to come by.
Culprit #4: Your life might be lacking a routine
News flash – routines are not just for littles! Routines for all ages are not just about getting physically ready for bed. In fact, through routine, signals are sent to the brain that bedtime is approaching, and the brain starts shutting down in preparation for sleep.
Creating and implementing a bedtime routine keeps our minds and bodies happy. We always like to know what’s next as our brains crave consistency and predictability.
If you are starting from scratch in the land of your own bedtime routine, I recommend a 60-minute routine (that is ideally screen-free). You might consider the following things: bath/shower, stretching, meditation, journaling, coloring/doodling, listening to a podcast, reading a book, spending time with your partner (hint hint), or even getting the house picked up!
Sleep like a baby (or better)!
So, if your little one is sleeping through the night, or at least giving you long stretches, it’s time to get your sleep under control.
If you find yourself not making time for sleep or you are having a tough time prioritizing it, consider a great night of sleep to be the ultimate form of self-care.
After all… Sleep is the best way you can show up for yourself (and your family, your job, your friends, and your life), plus it’s free and doesn’t require a babysitter!
Brittney Stefanic is a whole-family certified sleep consultant and founder of Sleeper Teachers Sleep Consulting. As an enneagram 1 and recovering perfectionist, she gets that as busy mamas, sleep can easily take the back seat. But as a sleep educator, Brittney believes in the power of teaching and loves to help families in meeting setting sleep goals. Brittney and her team love educating and support families around the world in finding sleep solutions through their customized sleep plans. You can follow the teachers on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook @sleeperteachers for access to their sleep tips + tricks and opportunities for free sleep Q&A sessions.