In my latest reader survey, one of the questions was
What areas are you struggling with in your motherhood journey?
Not surprisingly, one of the most common responses was SLEEP. All mummies struggle with sleep at some point in their lives. Whether it’s because of colic, feeding, teething, nightmares, night terrors, terrible twos, worrisome tweens, rebellious teens or grown-up children stressing us out, there are plenty of reasons as to why your sleep can be interrupted and restless.
The question is, can we do anything about it? I believe the answer is yes. I want you to know that I am writing this post from experience, and I do not have all the answers. My youngest baby is 21 months old and I seldom get a full nights sleep. But the fact that he has been so incredibly difficult has meant that I have read and listened to A LOT of advice about sleeping.
If you have young children, then broken sleep is unfortunately something you might have to live with for a while. But some of these 5 Strategies can help you improve the quality of your sleep. So if you only get a few hours a night, they can be a few *really good* hours of deep sleep.
5 Strategies for Improving the Quality & Quantity of your Sleep.
- Sleep in total darkness. I know this sounds obvious, and maybe you already know to do this. But it is very important that there are no lights on in your room, or shining into your room when you are sleeping, as it can effect the quality of your sleep. Even lights from your phone, or the glow of the baby monitor can make it difficult for your brain to completely shut down to sleep. This can be one reason you wake up in the morning feeling tired, rather than rejuvenated.
- Don’t eat processed or junk food in the evening. Please note, I am the worst culprit at doing this, but I am trying to improve. The reason this is connected to the quality of your sleep is simple. Processed foods are difficult for our bodies to break down and digest, so our body is continuing the task of digestion long after we’ve finished that bag of crisps and chocolate biscuit. If our body is working hard as we sleep, it isn’t resting. Hence the groggy tired feeling in the morning. Many nutritional experts would advise that we shouldn’t eat it the evenings at all, but if you do want to, stick to whole foods, like a piece of fruit.
- Create a bedtime routine. If you have children, you’ll know how much we are told as parents that routine is very important to young children. But it is also important for us too. You need to set a clear bedtime routine for yourself and stick to it, even when you don’t feel tired. It is important to build ‘calming down’ time into your routine. This could mean that for an hour before bed you do something that relax your body and mind. Such as a taking a bath, reading a book, watching a TV programme, although be careful of binge watching on netflix :). Everyone’s idea of relaxing is different, but be sure to find the right activity for you.
- Get up at the same time everyday. If you have an excessive sleep-in on weekends or days off, you knock yourself out of routine, and may find it difficult to sleep that evening. While we love to enjoy lying in bed a little longer sometimes, try not to make it anymore than an hour past your normal wake up time.
- Do 30 mins of exercise a day. I am in no way a sporty person, but I love getting the pram out for a good walk as often as possible. A 30 minute walk is all I need to ensure that my sleep will be sound that evening. It is personal preference as to what physical activities we do, but I recommend you find something you enjoy and making time for it daily.