I’m sure you’ve heard it before: sleep is incredibly important for your health. But when you’re a busy mum, getting your 7-9 hours of sleep a night can feel totally impossible! There are 1000 things to do before you go to bed, nightly interruptions from the kids, early morning jobs and endless stress running through your mind. The good news is that better sleep may be easier than you think. Little changes may be all you need to get those all-important hours of sleep.
Why is sleep so important?
We all know that amazing feeling after you’ve had a good night’s sleep and you wake up feeling energized and ready to take on the world. There are so many reasons why sleep is good for you. There are obvious reasons, like giving you energy, improving your concentration and generally making you feel good.
Also, there are many things you might not think of, like helping with weight control, immunity function, inflammation, socialization, mental health and chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. The average adult should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
Imagine if you could have that amazing energized feeling every day? When you’re a busy mum, chances are you’ll need a solid sleep routine or schedule to get your recommended hours.
There are some tried-and-tested tips that can make those 7-9 hours of daily sleep a lot more attainable. Take a look at my top-tips and think about which one will be easiest to start with:
- Set a sleep routine schedule. Know what time you’re setting your alarm each day and make sure that 8 hours before that time, you’re ready for bed.
- Watch your sugar intake. If you tend to rely on sugar hits to get you through the day, start replacing your sugary snacks with more energy-efficient snacks like nuts, yoghurt and whole foods. This is particularly important in the afternoon and evening. You don’t want a sugar-high stopping you from getting to sleep!
- Stop having caffeine after 12. Caffeine can make your mind more active when it’s time to switch off. When the productive part of your day is over, give your body a rest and leave the caffeine for another time.
- Create your own sleep ritual. One or two hours before you plan to go to bed, start by turning off your phone and TV and dimming the lights. Do relaxing activities away from screens like having a bath, reading a book or listening to calming music.
- Use the power of essential oils to create a relaxing atmosphere. It’s also a way to begin to associate the relaxing scent with bedtime. When you smell lavender, your body will subconsciously begin to wind down. You’ll be off to sleep in no time!
- Try yoga nidra (sleep-based guided meditation) or another type of meditation. Yoga nidra guides your mind though simple awareness practices, while your body is in a state of utter relaxation. What better way to get your mind and body ready for sleep?
- Ditch your phone alarm and use an actual alarm clock. Keeping your bright phone and charging lights out of your sleeping space will make a much more relaxing sleeping environment. Phones have their benefits, but better sleep is not one of them!
Building a bedtime routine
Trying these tips every once and a while won’t help to build better sleep long term. Like any activity, blissful sleep takes practice. Creating a routine is the easiest way to build this practice. Start by trying just one or two activities daily. You don’t want to try and change too much at once, or you’ll feel overwhelmed and stop altogether. Your mind will begin to associate the activities with relaxation, rest and sleep. Routine and practice is the key to better sleep habits.
Waking up fresh and energized will make your life as a mum a whole lot more manageable. Doing little things to make sleep easier can be all the change you need to increase your hours of quality sleep. You’ll have more energy, be in a better mood and get more done with your day. Long term you’ll be preventing major health problems and teaching your kids a thing or two about self-care.
If you feel like you can never stay on top of things and are always frantically trying to keep up with that never-ending to-do list, my “Unbusy Checklist” will be a lifesaver. In just a few minutes, you can map out your family’s entire routines so that you know exactly who needs to do what and when… no more nights of you falling on the couch exhausted from doing it ALL. You’ll have more time to set a bedtime routine.