I protect my sleep quality like a 5yo with a new fluffy rainbow-sparkle stuffed animal. You see… I used to be an exhausted mom, too.
After having my little one, my sleep was understandably total crap. Between nursing and nightly soothing, she kept me awake for what seemed like years. It’s easy to lose track after missing so much sleep.
Once my nursing mama duties had subsided (yup, earned my two-year badge of boob nourishment), I focused on getting my sleep schedule back on track. Heck, even while little one was still nursing, I made an effort to improve my rest by co-sleeping. Essentially, giving her open access to an all-night buffet as needed. I was willing to try anything to stop being such and exhausted mom.
Whoot, whoot! Mama’s going to be able to sleep again.
Yet, sadly… I couldn’t sleep. I’d try to get to bed at a decent time, but my mind would be restless, no position felt comfortable and every sound caused me to wake up. “Is that the kid?”
I mean really… I was always a back sleeper. Yet, while pregnant, I could only sleep on my side. Before having a baby, I slept like a baby. After, I was on pins-and-needles as if we were sleeping in the wild and I needed to protect my child from dingoes.
Mama just wants to get some sleep!!!
Post-nursing and peri-menopause hormone flushes were causing havoc on my system. Plus, I was blessed with weight gain from nursing; a perk associated with trying to extend milk supply (via extra carb consumption) past 9 months at the ripe-old-age of 43.
I needed to reset my health, but was to exhausted to go for a hike. My sleep-starved brain couldn’t make solid nutritional choices and instead, craved carbs as if I was still feeding a two-year-old.
My sleep cycle needed to be fixed ASAP.
How Can You Stop Being Tired all of the Time?
You’ve gotta sleep, my exhausted mom friend. You’ve heard it before… the medical community suggests that you get at least seven hours of sleep per night.
This guideline isn’t just randomly chosen. A good night sleep is critical for immune function, metabolism, brain performance and many other major body functions. Essentially it is your body’s daily reset to prepare for taking on the next day.
(OK mamas, you can stop the sarcastic ‘as if’ chuckle now.)
When you miss-out on or skip sleep, you risk premature aging, cardiovascular disease and depression. Plus, based on the ‘good’ points for sleep: you risk getting sick more often, having a foggy heady and slower metabolism.
Got your attention?
3 Tips that Helped Me Stop Being an Exhausted Mom
At the risk of blowing my punch line, I’ll tell you now that I now sleep like a proverbial baby. Yup, mama’s taken control of her nighttime wellness.
It wasn’t something that happened right away… I had to try several different options to see what would work for me. Nighttime meditation, sleep mask, lavender oil / spray, calming music, chamomile tea, milk; you name it, I tried it.
The sleep recipe that finally worked for me ended up being fairly simple and consistent. Here are my steps:
(1) Ear Plugs
As a mama, my brain has been wired to detect any sound as a potential threat. By wearing ear plugs every night, I dampen the typical nighttime creaks and squeaks (and hubby’s snores). It helps that my hubby is home so he can be responsible for any kiddo needs or issues that may come up during the night. (time to pay your dues, man)
I even put the earplugs in while we’re watching TV. They let me still hear a show, but start to muffle my brain in to sleep time. Plus, if I happen (ahem) to fall asleep during a show, I’m sure to stay asleep for the night!
(2) Natural Sleep Aid
This is a space where I’ve done TONS of research and trial. There are so many sleep aids on the market, but I was only willing to consider natural options.
Melatonin supplements over 5mg gave me crazy nightmares. No thanks.
Homeopathic blends were hit-or-miss.
What works best for my sleep and clear-head when waking is tart cherry juice or extract. The fruit contains natural melatonin, but not so much that my brain melts into Joker-like craziness. You can find the juice in most grocery stores (only get 100% Tart Cherry juice) and capsules of the extract are available online or at most natural food stores.
(3) Avoid Blue Light
Your TV, phone, iPad and any other digital devices emit light that tricks your mind into thinking it is wakey-wakey time. Protect your eyeballs to ensure your mind remembers it is actually time for sleep.
My glasses have blue-light blocking lenses. If you don’t wear glasses, you may want to grab some blue-light blocking glasses just for the benefit.
Who knows… maybe your partner will like the ‘hot librarian’ look and you’ll be able to rediscover restful sleep in another way. (wink wink)
No matter how you do it, mama, you’ve gotta protect your sleep. Being an exhausted mom won’t help you or your baby in the long run. You may still be doing baby-care time, in which you may not have a choice. (my little one fought any sleep-through-the-night steps we attempted) Yet, once little one will sleep through the night, get on your sleep schedule ASAP.
Sleep is your key to improved immunity, reduced brain fog and overall better health. Start there and then work on any other wellness efforts you want to approach.