For the last couple of years, sleep has become something I’ve sacrificed without a second thought. When I was pregnant, I did the walk to and from the bathroom countless times throughout the night. When our daughter was born, I rolled my eyes as veteran moms told me to “sleep when the baby sleeps.” Yeah, right!
But now that she’s older and sleeping through the night, I still find myself sacrificing sleep. This time though? It’s the dishes or laundry calling. It’s catching up on my favorite TV shows. It’s the opportunity to get things done or enjoy some rare “me” time.
The question is: “Is it worth it?”
Did you know, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH):
- When you get behind on sleep, you are more likely to have trouble making decisions, solving problems, adjusting to change, and keeping your emotions in check.
- Sleep deficiency over time can increase your risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and stroke.
- A lack of sleep can also throw your immune system off its game. Did your mom ever tell you, “Don’t burn the candle at both ends – you’ll get sick!” Was she right?
- People who don’t get enough sleep are less productive and attentive overall. It takes them longer to get through their “to do” lists, they are more likely to make mistakes, and they have a slower reaction time.
The amazing thing is, we obsess about our kiddos’ sleeping patterns — how they’re sleeping, if they’re getting enough sleep, etc.
Why don’t we do the same thing for ourselves?
Doctors recommend that adults get 7-8 hours a day — ideally in one long stretch. I can almost see our new mamas laughing and shaking their heads through the computer screen! As with all things in life, it comes down to this: we do the best we can.
Here are a few ideas to get you on your way to sweet dreams and a happier tomorrow:
- Exercise!! Studies have found regular exercise during the day has a direct correlation with our quality of sleep (Hint, hint: Join us for class!).
- Be mindful of what — and how much — you are drinking before bed. Remember to avoid liquids a few hours before you hit the hay and also try to limit your caffeine and alcohol consumption. The effects of caffeine take time to wear off and alcohol has been known to disrupt sleep.
- Create a bedtime routine for yourself, just like you have for your kiddos. Try to incorporate the same activities each night to give your body little cues for sleep (i.e. changing into your PJs, washing your face, brushing your teeth, reading a few pages in a book).
- Unplug!! More and more, we are hearing about the impact electronics have on our quality of sleep (in particular smart phones!). Aim to shut off the TV and your phone an hour before bed if possible!
Whatever your stage in motherhood, whether you are up every hour for a feeding or your baby is sleeping through the night, make sure you are taking care of yourself (that includes getting at least some sleep!). It’s the very best gift you can give to your kiddos!
A happy, healthy mom equals a happy, healthy family!
This post came from FIT4MOM Ashburn.