Hello Mama! What about your sleep!?
When we become moms, our world changes in the blink of an eye. All of a sudden, a piece of our heart is outside of our bodies and it’s almost impossible to explain the new love and vulnerability experienced in those first few days.
Fast forward a few weeks… while trying to protect that little piece of our heart we start to navigate motherhood; the wonderful times, the hard times and the sheer exhaustion with those long nights. Some of us find it almost impossible to create time for ourselves and it is easy to fall to the bottom of your own priority list.
My names Amanda and welcome to my guest blog. I am a infant and child sleep consultant and owner of Chasing Sleep so I could talk for days about the importance of meaningful sleep for our children. Today though, I want to shift the topic away from our kids to talk about how important sleep is for your priority list!
Women need 7-9 hours of sleep. The consequences for insufficient sleep according to the Canadian Sleep Society are lower alertness, negative mood, reduced motor and visual acuity, longer response times, and impaired attention and memory. Chronic sleep deprivation can snowball all of these to bigger and more long term problems.
I want to share some of my best tips to help create healthy sleep habits for moms. Our children learn by example and it’s important that they understand how sleep can affect our overall health not only for our mental state but physical state as well.
1. Create a inviting sleep environment. Tell me how many times you lay in your bed and go through all the things you have to do tomorrow and the things you forgot to do today!? It can be very hard to relax and go to sleep if your mind is in overdrive. Your sleep environment should be peaceful, calm, quiet and clean! I know, easier said than done, but you want to go into a space that doesn’t add to your to-do list. Your room and your bed should be your sanctuary, a place for you to rest, and most of all, an environment conducive to sleep.
2. Turn off your phone. There was a time I used to watch Instagram stories and scroll my social media feeds before bed, and it took months of difficulty getting to sleep before I realized that the problem was the phone. It was so easy to pick up my phone and have that one last look at the news or our social media, but I realized I needed to make a conscious effort to “unplug.” The light our electronics devices omit is a “blue light” which actually can wreak havoc on our natural circadian rhythms. Darkness actually sends a message to our body that is time for sleep and we have this lovely hormone called melatonin that will kick into production. Blue light blocks melatonin production and there for you are not letting your body do its job. Unplug 30-60 minutes from your electronic devices before bed.
3. Create your own routine. One of the biggest tips I give families when we are working to teach their children good sleep habits is to create a consistent bedtime routine. Bedtime routines serve a purpose beyond hygiene, it gets your body and your mind inline with the fact you are going to sleep for the night. Our routine is a cueing system or a transition for our brains to settle into a night of rest. Give yourself 30 minutes every night to go though your own routine or journey into sleep. Whatever that looks like for you: yoga, bath, toothbrush, book, etc., make sure to keep it consistent. You will fall asleep faster when your head hits that pillow!
4. Self care is really important. Make sure you sit down each day and find time for yourself. As a small business owner, mom, wife and shiftworker, I have to actually schedule time in the calendar for me to exercise, enjoy a movie with my hubby or socialize with my friends. I struggle everyday to remind myself that I need to fill my cup up in order to pour from it. You’re thinking, what’s this have to do with sleep? You see, doing the things you love is a form of self care, getting enough sleep is also self care. So take time to take care of yourself!
In order to help nurture these little pieces of our heart in this brand new world of theirs, we need to be strong for them, guide them and show them by example and that what makes these tips so great - because they’re simple, and that’s how it should be.
Written by Amanda Wallace follow her at @chasing.sleep
BIO: Amanda Wallace is a mom to two girls, wife to one husband, coffee addict and lover of sleep. Born a raised a YYC girl, she now works as a registered nurse in the neonatal intensive care at Foothills Medical Centre. Amanda spends her free time writing sleep plans and supporting tired families across Canada.
IMAGE: First image of Tara and her son, Credit to Bretton Dyte Photography
Second image provided by Amanda Wallace at her permission.