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AD. You were warned that having kids was going to be the most exhausting thing you ever did. We all were! However, as I’m sure you now realise – nothing can adequately prepare you for exactly how tiring raising a brood of little ones can be. This is a post in collaboration with Sleep Advisor to hopefully help us all get a bit more sleep! I’ve also written about my first year as a parent.
Parenthood is an almost never ending period of broken sleep. Whether it’s the constant, almost hourly, feeds of the early months, dealing with the night terrors and bathroom trips of the toddler years, or staying up late worrying what about mischief your teenager is getting up to at their first party.
The list of things that can interrupt a parent’s slumber is almost infinite.
Parents across the world just accept that sleep is something that happens to people without kids and they deal with it. But does it have to be this way? Well, unfortunately to some extent yes. Sorry!
If you have kids you will always have to sacrifice some sleep in order to do your job (keeping them alive), but that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to increase your odds of getting a little bit more rest. You just have to get a bit creative and make the most of any opportunities that come your way.
Below are my top three tips on how how to get more sleep as a busy parent.
Don’t be afraid to accept help
The idea of the ‘supermom’ is a very dangerous one. While parents often exhibit superhero levels of patience, us moms are not endowed with genuine magical powers.
We can only be in so many places and do so many things at once. Nobody, apart from characters on television shows or celebrity mom’s (with an army of personal assistants) can truly ‘have it all!’ So give up trying now.
And you know what? It’s ok to admit that you’re struggling. All mom’s need help and we shouldn’t be afraid to take it whenever it’s offered or even ask for it. Afterall, that’s what family and friends are for isn’t it?
When help is offered, whether it’s a neighbour offering to babysit for a night or a family friend offering to take your nipper to the park for an hour, take it. Bite their hand clean off! And instead of rushing around doing a million and one chores, instead do nothing. Just have a nap.
Let me repeat this again in case you missed it – there’s no shame in asking for help.
For me personally, as a blogger, I’ve no shame in hiring a virtual assistant if I need one!
Ignore the chores, harness the power of the nap
A lot of people believe that the way we sleep is wrong, that bedding down for one big block of sleep at night is inefficient, they instead believe in the power of multiple smaller blocks of sleep.
Now, I’m not suggesting you attempt to try what’s known as the ironman polyphasic sleep schedule yourself, but I am suggesting you take every single opportunity available to you to have a nap. Recent research indicates that catching even the briefest of sleeps on the couch during the day is far more powerful than we ever knew.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Sleep, when the baby sleeps”. Maybe it’s one of the first pieces of advice your own mom told you. Do it! To be honest an even better advice is “Sleep, whenever you freaking can!”
Take every single opportunity you can to get your snooze on, whether it’s 30 minutes in the morning or an hour in the afternoon. Or even 20 minutes after serving dinner. Grab those opportunities. Make them count.
You’ll probably feel guilty that you should be doing other chores with any free time, such as cooking, cleaning, ironing, washing, whatever! The truth is you will be far more effective and efficient at doing those jobs if you are well-rested.
Take a piece of advice from those boffins in Silicon Valley, “don’t work hard, work smart”.
Throw away your television and turn off your phone
This might sound like madness but believe me the age of television is dead. When you’ve had a hard day running around after the little ones and you’ve finally got them tucked up in bed, the temptation can be incredibly strong to sit back and chill out to some mindless nonsense on the gogglebox.
There’s absolutely no shame in this. Millions of parents across the world do it every night.
The downside is that while watching a few episodes of your favourite show or catching a movie before bed might seem like a great way to unwind, it’s not. The opposite is true.
The blue light emitted and the fast paced action is over stimulating your brain at exactly the time when you want it to become as settled as can be.
The same goes for scrolling through your social media accounts. Throw away your tv and put your phone away in a drawer until the morning, your sleep will thank you for it. And while your at it invest in a bluelight shield for your tablet or laptop.
When your head hits the pillow you want your brain to be as relaxed as can be, throwing away your television will increase the odds of this happening. Don’t worry you can find something else to point your furniture at!
Well, there you have it busy moms of the world – three tried and test tips to get more sleep. They worked for me and they can work for you too. Know, I’m not going to lie and say I’m not still tired, but I’m a damn-sight less exhausted than I used to be! Good luck!