Strategies For Better Rest For The Sleep Deprived Mom

Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world. It is such a demanding job that comes with a constant lack of sleep and never-ending to-do lists. This can leave even the most energetic woman utterly exhausted. 

If you're a sleep-deprived mom desperate for more rest, this article is for you. Here are some proven strategies to help you catch more zzz's and feel rejuvenated.

Let’s begin by first understanding why sleep is such a big deal. 

Why Is Sleep So Important?

Before we get to the solutions, let's discuss why getting enough quality sleep matters so much. Getting good quality sleep has many benefits for moms, including:

  • Better mood and patience with your kids
  • More energy to power through your day
  • Improved memory and concentration
  • Stronger immune system to fight off illnesses
  • Lower risks of serious health issues like obesity and heart disease

Simply put, sleep deprivation can make parenting a lot harder. When you get enough rest, it improves your ability to be the best mom you can be. We talk more about this in our guide to peaceful sleep for breastfeeding moms

The first step you can take towards this goal is creating a restful sleep environment for yourself. Here are some tips to help you do exactly that: 

  1. Keep It Cool, Dark, and Quiet: A cool, dark, and quiet room is key for better rest. Let’s talk about each one of these elements:
    • Cool: Comfortable room temperature for a bedroom is between 65-68°F. You can use a thermostat or ceiling fan to regulate the temperature.
    • Dark: Invest in blackout curtains or shades to block out light. Consider using an eye mask if you are particularly sensitive to light.
    • Quiet: Use earplugs or a white noise machine to minimize noise disturbances. If you live in a noisy area, consider soundproofing your bedroom.

2. Ditch Screens: The blue light emitted from electronic devices like TVs, phones, and tablets can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. That’s why it’s harder to fall asleep after using your phone or watching TV at night. 

Consider establishing a no-screen rule at least an hour before bedtime. This will give your brain time to wind down and prepare for sleep.

3. Upgrade Your Mattress: An old or unsupportive mattress can cause discomfort and disrupt sleep.Look for a mattress that provides adequate support and keeps your spine aligned. If your mattress is over 8 years old, it may be time to consider getting a new one.

4. Create a Relaxing Atmosphere: There are several things you can do to create a relaxing atmosphere in your bedroom. Here are some of them: 

  • Soothing Scents: Use essential oils like lavender or chamomile to create a calming atmosphere.
  • Comfortable Bedding: Invest in high-quality sheets, blankets, and pillows that feel comfortable against your skin.
  • Stress-Free Zone: Keep your bedroom free of clutter and work-related items. Create a serene space dedicated to relaxation and sleep.

5. Establish a Regular Sleep Routine: Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends. Incorporate a relaxing bedtime routine to help you wind down. This may include reading, taking a warm bath, or listening to calming music before bed. 

You should also be smart about how you nap. If you need to nap, keep it short (around 20-30 minutes) and avoid napping too close to bedtime.

6. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol Before Bed: Caffeine is a stimulant that can interfere with sleep. Avoid consuming caffeine at least several hours before bedtime. Alcohol, on the other hand, may initially make you feel drowsy. However, it can disrupt your sleep later in the night.

7. Regular Exercise: Regular physical activity can improve sleep quality, but avoid exercising too close to bedtime, as it can have a stimulating effect.

8. Seek Professional Help If Needed: If you have persistent sleep problems despite following these tips, consider consulting a healthcare professional. 

Establishing a Sleep Schedule

When you have erratic sleep hours, it’s hard to get quality rest. As a mom, you may need to get creative with your sleep schedule. Here are a few strategies that might help: 

  • Sleep When The Baby Sleeps – Cliche, I know. But as tempting as it is to use naptime for chores, getting some daytime snooze helps make up for interrupted nights. It also helps when your baby has healthy sleep habits
  • Go To Bed Earlier – Try to be in bed by 9 or 10 pm if possible. This will help you bank extra sleep hours before the midnight cluster feeds and insomnia set in.
  • Sleep In (When You Can) – Whenever you can, consider sleeping in a bit. Even an extra hour in bed helps. 
  • Trade Nights With Your Partner – If you have a partner, take turns covering night duty so each of you can enjoy an uninterrupted night of rest.

Establishing a great evening routine will also help you get lots of restorative sleep. Here's a simple, mom-friendly routine that can help you wind down: 

  1. Do a light chore (load dishwasher, declutter): Engaging in a simple, non-stimulating task that requires minimal cognitive effort can help clear your mind and shift your focus away from the day's stressors.
  1. Take a warm shower or bath: The warmth of the water can relax your muscles and soothe your mind. This promotes better sleep. Add some essential oils, such as lavender or chamomile, to enhance the calming effect.
  2. Do light stretches or gentle yoga: Gentle stretching and yoga poses can help release tension, improve flexibility, and reduce stress. Focus on slow, controlled movements and deep breathing.
  3. Sip a warm, caffeine-free drink: Try herbal teas, such as chamomile, lavender, or peppermint, which have calming properties. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as they can disrupt sleep.
  4. Read a book or write in a journal: Reading a book or writing in a journal can help quiet your mind and promote relaxation. Avoid reading or writing anything too stimulating or emotionally charged.
  5. Get into bed and do some deep breathing: First, create a comfortable and inviting sleep environment. Then practice deep breathing exercises to slow down your heart rate and calm your nervous system as you try to sleep.

Following a simple routine like this can create a predictable pattern that signals to your body and mind that it's time to transition into sleep mode. Remember, consistency is key. Aim to stick to your routine as closely as possible, even on weekends. With time, it will become second nature, and you'll experience the benefits of improved sleep quality.

When To Ask For Help

Sometimes even your best sleep efforts fall short. If sleep deprivation becomes excessive or chronic, don't suffer in silence – ask for help! There are several ways to do this. You can have a friend or relative take the baby overnight. You can also hire a night nurse or postpartum doula. If neither of these work, consult your doctor about safe sleep aids. You might also want to seek therapy for insomnia or postpartum mood issues

Final Thoughts

As you can see, with just a few small adjustments and problem-solving, you can get more restorative rest even with your little one. Just be patient, before you know it, your kiddo will be all grown up!

Consider also experimenting with these strategies until you find what works best for you. And don't be afraid to ask for the help you need. Before long, you’ll have created a restful sleep environment that promotes better sleep for you. Then you’ll enjoy better overall health and a higher quality of life. You’ve got this mama!