Mama Gotta Sleep Too!

As a busy mom, it can be difficult to get the quality of sleep that is necessary for you to maintain your overall physical, emotional, and mental health- especially for moms who have infants or toddlers. You see, human beings are not born knowing how to put themselves to sleep. In fact, this was one of the biggest shocks to me as a new mom. Who knew that setting up the perfect nursery with a comfortable crib, would not be enough to ensure that my baby would fall asleep when I placed her inside it. Many new moms spend countless hours trying to help their babies get to sleep, which takes a toll on us because we are the ones who have to feed, change and burp them during the night which can be exhausting, to say the least. Lack of sleep is something moms (and dads) have to go through until their babies learn to sleep for longer stretches of the night.

However, it’s important that you acknowledge all that you are going through and realize that mama has to get her rest too! For me, sleep deprivation caused by the frequent waking periods to care for my infants was a huge shock to my system. But fortunately, I was able to identify some ways to help ease my pain during the sleepless nights:

  • It takes a village! Make sure that you get someone such as your partner, grandparents, or other trusted adults in your lives to give you a break by watching your little one so that you can get a nap whenever possible.
  • Remember the good old recommendation that most of us heard when we became moms, ‘to sleep when the baby is sleeping.’ I want to emphasize this because we often want to keep on doing other household chores or activities while the baby sleeps. However, those things can wait until the baby wakes. If it sounds unrealistic for you, at least challenge yourself to sleep during one of your child’s naps. I thought I could never sleep as much as my baby did in the early days, but once I did it, I felt well-rested and was able to function better overall.

Sometimes waking up throughout the night can adversely impact your ability to attain consolidated sleep in the future, even after your children are sleeping throughout the night. Or, you may wake up and have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep in general. If you’re not achieving your optimal amount of sleep for whatever reason, the information to follow may be helpful to you.

  • First, examine your place of sleep to make sure that there are no lights on in the room when you go to sleep. Lights can interfere with your body’s ability to fall asleep at night. For example, alarm clocks, televisions, or the shiny cell phone screen can produce enough light to stimulate your brain and keep you awake. If possible, remove those things or any other light producing objects from your place of sleep.
  • Consider getting darker window shades if you have a lot of natural light coming into your window at night.
  • Try to keep track of when you’re going to sleep and when you wake up throughout the night. With this data, you can determine a common wake up the timeframe and try to wake up one hour earlier. Controlling your wake up time in this way can help you feel more tired at night and ease the transition to sleep. You can also present this data to your physician if some of these behavioral changes do not improve your sleep.
  • Make sure that the bed that you sleep on is comfortable for you. Everyone requires a different level of firmness or softness in a mattress. See if you need to make any adjustments to your mattress that can improve your sleep. This goes for pillows as well, find a pillow that supports you the best. Your pillow needs to directly relate to whether you sleep on your back, front, or side

Although your sleep pattern won’t be like it used to be because you are a mom now, you can still find a routine that works for you and your baby. But remember, in order for you to be the best mom you can be, you have to make sure you take care of yourself and get the proper rest you need!