"Yes, my kids come first, but as a parent I need to come to them with a fresh mind. I can't be too exhausted or too tired. And I am a better parent [when] I have more energy." - Molly Ringwald
Sleep is important for everyone, no matter your age or stage of parenthood. Whether you are a first-time parent with an infant or you wrangle four school-aged kiddos, the amount and quality of sleep you receive is vital to your mental clarity, energy levels, and overall well-being. But right now, it may feel like you will never not be sleep deprived...
Yes, your kid is going to set the stage for your sleeping habits and schedule, but there are some easy things you can do to help the amount and the quality of the sleep you do get. Here are 5 tips for better sleep.
1. Prepare Your Bedroom
Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and comfortable. For many people, even the slightest noise or light can disturb sleep like the purring of a cat or the light from your laptop or TV. Use earplugs, window blinds or curtains, and an electric blanket or air conditioner everything possible to create an ideal sleep environment. Experiment and try not to be tied to a solution you read about online. Just because google says to sleep in 50 degree weather, doesn't mean your body will take well to that.
2. Don't Abuse Your Bed
Your bed is sacred. Avoid watching TV, eating, and discussing emotional issues in bed. The bed should be used for sleep and sex only. If not, you can end up associating the bed with distracting activities that could make it difficult for you to fall asleep. No Zombies and no fighting in the sheets.
3. Eating Matters
Eat right, sleep tight. Try not to go to bed hungry, but avoid heavy meals before bedtime. An over-full belly can keep you up. Some foods that may help promote sleep include pumpkin, artichokes, avocados, almonds, bok choy, peaches, walnuts, apricots, oats, asparagus, potatoes, buckwheat, and bananas.
4. Create a Ritual
Try to create a relaxing ritual before your bedtime. Sure, we know that you may only sleep for 3 hours at a time, but that shouldn't stop you from have a short 5-15 minute ritual to help you relieve the stress of the day. Keep in mind that stress not only makes you miserable, it wreaks havoc on your sleep. Think of including reading, lavender baths/showers, yoga, foam rolling, and meditating.
5. Plan Ahead
Sure, the majority of the time, your kiddo is going to dictate your sleep schedule, but you can still plan your night according to how much sleep you know you need. If you know you need eight hours of sleep to feel your best and you know you have to be awake by 6 AM, then you can calculate that you need to be asleep around 10 PM. This does not mean starting your pre-bedtime ritual at 10, but proactively planning ahead and creating a schedule that fits your patterns.