Sleep is an essential body function, but busy working moms aren’t necessarily able to pay it the proper respect. That’s unfortunate because a good night’s sleep is vital for your physical and emotional health.
When you manage to get solid and adequate rest, your brain restores itself, and you find yourself much more able to take on the world again, no matter how busy you were the day before. But if you’re not getting enough sleep, you could be giving yourself a number of health and wellness issues.
It’s a big enough challenge to juggle work and family when you’re getting plenty of rest, but well nigh impossible when you haven’t gotten enough. If you’re feeling tired all the time, here are some tips to improve the quality of your sleep.
1. Buy a New Mattress
A poor mattress can create all kinds of roadblocks to getting sufficient rest. First, an old mattress that provides improper support for your rest can leave you with aches in your muscles and joints, and reduce your ability to enter deep sleep.
It can also harbor dust mites that wreak havoc on your sinuses. Buying a new mattress can be an excellent first step to a quality night’s sleep. Be sure to read reviews and compare your mattress options before making a purchase.
2. Power Down Before Bed
Technology can have a significant impact on your ability to get enough quality rest. Many people look at a screen only moments before their head hits the pillow; in addition, they try to sleep with a mobile device in their room, which can wake you up if it goes off. Just think how delighted you felt the last time your mobile alerted you to the arrival of a spam email at 4 a.m.!
But according to Sleep.org, staring at a screen just before bed trains your brain to remain alert, which makes it more difficult to fall asleep. It can also suppress melatonin, which will affect your circadian rhythm.
You’ll have a much easier time falling and staying asleep if you limit your use of technology in the bedroom, or better yet, keep out of there altogether.
3. Nix Daytime Naps
Unless you got less than six hours of sleep the night before, a nap during the day isn’t necessarily an effective way to compensate. This can throw off your natural sleep/wake rhythms, and keep you from feeling properly tired when you’re ready to go to bed at your regular bedtime.
If you feel the need to nap during the day in order to restore some of your zapped energy, limit the nap to 15 or 20 minutes in the early afternoon. That’s just enough to get you through the rest of the day, but it’s less likely to keep you from getting to sleep at night.
4. Improve the Room’s Environment
The ideal room for sleeping will have a cool temperature, and be dark and quiet. Exposure to light makes it more difficult to fall asleep, and brightly colored walls can stimulate the brain instead of relaxing it. For a better sleeping atmosphere, observe some of these tips:
Consider repainting your bedroom in neutral and calming colors such as tans, blues, and greens. Use blackout curtains to prevent light exposure. Wear earplugs or an eye mask. Run a fan or turn the thermostat down to keep your room cool. If you have a television in your bedroom, remove it.
5. Exercise Daily
When you exercise, you effectively tire yourself out. Your body welcomes a few hours lying on a mattress while it recovers from hard work. Research shows that as little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise a day can make it easier to sleep at night.
You should avoid exercising right before bedtime, though. This will stimulate the brain and make it harder to fall asleep. Give yourself at least a two-hour cushion between a physical workout and your normal bedtime.
6. Eat and Drink Right
You should never go to bed hungry or overly full, since either can reduce your ability to fall asleep and increase the likelihood that you’ll wake up in the middle of the night. Heavy or large meals right before bedtime can also make you uncomfortable at bedtime.
Be careful about the amount of sugar, nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol you consume, as well. It can take hours for the stimulating effects of these substances to wear off, which adversely affects your ability to sleep.
7. Create a Routine
People who sleep best night after night typically go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. This will encourage your body to develop a natural sleep/wake cycle, and you’ll have an easier time falling and staying asleep through the night.
It’s worthwhile to maintain this routine even on weekends when you’re tempted to sleep in. If you spend two straight days sleeping in, it becomes more difficult to return to your regular, healthier rhythm the next week.
You deserve a great night’s sleep. Take some time for yourself and do what it takes to get one every night!
Written by Natalie Bracco for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.