We wear busyness like a badge of honor…but we often (crazily enough) do the same thing with the amount of sleep we get! Somehow we’ll convince ourselves that four, five, or six hours is enough and that we may be a little tired, but that’s just what motherhood is about: being exhausted.
What if I told you that shouldn’t be true? Sure, there are seasons when we have an infant and they’re waking up every few hours. Or one of our children is sick. Or perhaps we have a really big project due at work so we’re staying up well after the rest of the family, to work on it. There are times when lack of sleep is just reality.
But here’s the thing: lack of sleep should NOT be a constant. Our very health depends on it.
As you know, moms simply don’t have time to get sick.
We all know we should be getting eight hours of sleep. Recent studies though, have told us that ten hours is actually what is optimal. I know what you’re thinking: Not. Possible. But hang on for a minute and see if you can do some of these things to help you get closer to that amount:
Before the invention of Thomas Edison’s lightbulb, people would go to bed when the sun went down. Let’s do the same thing and pose a “digital sunset.” When the sun goes down, you may not be able to completely turn off all lights in your house, but dim them down, or even turn some off so you can start telling your mind it’s time to start winding down.
Similarly, turn off your devices. I know, I know…this is where you say, “But I want to relax in front of the TV” or “I need my laptop after the kids go down.” I get it. I’ve been there and have said all the same things. But listen, we’re talking about getting the best and most sleep, right? And this is unfortunately a big part of it.
I know watching late-night Office or Gilmore Girl reruns is appealing but even with blue-blocking glasses and the Night Shift setting on our phones, we’re still messing up our melatonin and sleep will be sub-par.
Go to bed early. Again, I know you’re going to want to stop reading right here. “This article isn’t for me”, you’re thinking. Just listen. I am not a morning person. At ALL. But my husband asked me to do a little experiment a few years ago.
He asked me to go to bed between nine and ten (I know, so early!) and read an actual book instead of a show on my laptop or scrolling Instagram on my phone. He asked me to work on my work-projects in the morning when my mind was fresh, rather than at night when I was exhausted and sometimes (ok often) irritable.
Begrudgingly I tried it.
And as much as I don’t want to admit it, my sweet husband was right. I’m sleeping better, deeper, and I wake up more rested in the morning…which means I’m not only more effective at work but kinder and more patient with my family.
Want more tips?
Power Sleep: The Revolutionary Program That Prepares Your Mind for Peak Performance By Dr. James B. Maas is a phenomenal book that shares about sleep studies, sleep strategy, and so much more (think a book about sleep will actually put you to sleep? Not this one)!
“Identify the amount of sleep you need to be fully alert all day long and get that amount every night.”
“At minimum most people absolutely need to obtain at least sixty to ninety minutes more sleep than they presently get.”
“Go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up without an alarm clock at the same time every morning, including weekends. That’s 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Regularity is important for setting and stabilizing your internal sleep-wake clock.”
“For sleep to be rejuvenating you should get your required amount of sleep in one continuous block.”
“Pay back your sleep debt in a timely fashion. Make up for any lost sleep as soon as possible.”
WRITTEN BY TERESA SWANSTROM ANDERSON: AUTHOR, SPEAKER, AND FOUNDER OF THE & SOCIETY