Why Moms Should Prioritize and Protect Sleep
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One of the hardest parts about being a mom is that sleep somehow always falls by the wayside. You know, before kids you could take naps and sleep in and all the good stuff. Don’t get me wrong, motherhood is awesome. I know you wouldn’t trade it for the world, but if we are all honest, then it’s fair to say that motherhood is truly exhausting most days.
So there are a multitude of important reasons that you, the mama, should consider getting more sleep. Did you know that the majority of American adults do not get the recommended amount of daily sleep needed? We are running at both ends of the stick and wearing ourselves thin.
Today I want to encourage you to make a change. To build in the time. To make it happen. And finally get yourself a few more hours of shut-eye each night because it’s going to make a huge difference in your life.
8 reasons moms should prioritize and protect sleep
1. Sleep helps you cope and keeps the ugliness at bay!
There is a reason sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture, friends. It’s no joke. Lack of sleep prevents you from coping well when motherhood throws you for a loop. When your toddler is throwing a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store, and you are asking yourself, “Seriously, why now?!” you are going to handle the situation with far more poise and grace than if you only slept 5 hours the night before.
Sleeping longer at night and getting a full 8 hours enables you to respond with patience and empathy when your brain is screaming anger and frustration. Tired mama, I get you on every level. I’ve been there too.
2. Sleep is the magic potion to avoid losing self-control.
Ever feel like you are having a mommy meltdown? I’ve so been there. It’s not one of my finest moments, so I realized that I needed to do something about it. Ever say things to your kids that you don’t really mean? I’ve been there too.
Sleep is something that can help turn all that around. It can help you look back at last week and feel more proud of the way you handled certain situations. I’m sharing this with you because, I know the evil effect lack of sleep had on my mothering. I wasn’t all that great. But building in the time to get a few more hours of sleep each night truly made all the difference.
3. Sleep improves attention and memory.
If you feel like you are frequently forgetting things or can’t focus very well during playtime with the kids, more sleep is something that can really help. More sleep can help you stay on top of things throughout the day.
You’re more likely to remember all your diaper bag essentials (car keys included) before you run out the door. You’re more likely to stay focused on a given activity with your kids. You’re more likely to remember that you need butter once you get to the grocery store. And when you remember things and stay on task, you become one heck of a productive mama.
4. Sleep helps us live longer.
Sticking around for all the special milestones later in life is important to so many of us. Sleep is a really easy way to make that happen. Research shows that women who get more than 6.5 hours of sleep per night live longer. Many things that we take for granted are affected by sleep. If you sleep better, you live longer.
5. Sleep curbs inflammation and illness.
Sleep restores and heals our body. Lack of sleep leads to a weakened immune system and a very tired and sick mama. Getting enough sleep quells inflammation in your body, boosts your immune system and helps you recover faster when you actually do get sick.
6. Sleep invigorates your creativity.
When you get enough sleep, you’re more likely to spontaneously roughhouse with your kids and create a fun activity to enjoy during the afternoon. The funniest and silliest mom moments with kids often come when mom is well-rested.
7. Sleep keeps the extra pounds off.
If you ever struggle with weight (Haven’t we all?) then sleep is a great tool to ward off the extra pounds. Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same areas of the brain. When you are sleepy, certain hormones in your blood increase, and make you feel hungry. Getting more sleep at night can help you resist the brownie come afternoon time. Moms who maintain a healthy weight feel happier and experience less depression.
8. Sleep decreases stress levels.
After you are off in a deep slumber, your brain starts to process the day’s events. Sleeping longer can help your brain process, understand, and cope with emotional challenges all the better. Sleep also helps to bring stress hormones in the body back down to normal levels.
Moms: Incorporate more sleep in your life:
- Build in the time. You have to schedule it in and commit. As hard as it is, you may need to head to bed a little bit earlier.
- Hard time falling asleep? Personally, I had a really hard time falling asleep and staying asleep after I became a mom. Even after working at it, and seemingly doing all the right things, there were still nights when I struggled. I recently started using Essential Oils for improving sleep and decreasing stress and it has honestly made all the difference in the world.
- Start a bedtime routine. One of the best ways to cue your body for sleep is to establish a bedtime routine that is relaxing (i.e. a warm bath, a cup of hot tea, a relaxing book) and consistently do the same routine each night. When you do the same routine, it will subconsciously cue your body to release your own sleepy hormones and help you fall asleep easier.
- Cut out the unnecessary. Prioritize what is going on in your life. It’s okay to say “no” to other people. In fact, go ahead and make “no” your default response to others. You can always go back and say “yes” later. Try your best to minimize and simplify.
- Get help. If there is too much to do and never enough time, consider asking your husband, a friend, or a neighbor for a little help. Sometimes I think we all try to do it all, when we really don’t have to. People really do want to help in some way. Sometimes we have to ask because people don’t know how to offer. That’s okay. Feel comfortable asking for a little help.
Are your kids preventing you from sleeping at night?
Moms. Are. Tired. They are so tired that tens of thousands of them visit my blog each month looking for sleep answers. I wrote a whole series of posts about sleep, which you can read here in the Baby + Sleep category. The series was so popular, I eventually wrote an entire eBook on sleep called For the Love of Sleep: Practical Baby Sleep Solutions for the Everyday Mama. Be encouraged. There is a lot you can do to encourage your kids to sleep more, so you can get some much needed rest as well!!
Over to you.
Do you think it’s possible to get more sleep? Do you think moms should prioritize and protect sleep? Let’s chat in the comments.
Lauren Tamm is a mother, military spouse, freelance writer, and the author of TheMilitaryWifeandMom.com. She is passionate about practical parenting, enjoying motherhood and navigating military life. She loves coffee by day and sleep by night. Connect with her via her blog, Facebook or Pinterest!
I am SO with you that sleep is important. I got a FitBit for Christmas – and it is the most depressing present EVER… apparently I only sleep 4-5 hours per night! NO WONDER I AM TIRED!!!! I am just not sure how I am going to get everything done if I don’t cut into my sleep time. I agree that the essential oils are awesome for bedtime… I am getting sleepy just thinking about them!