In 2010, Silentnight had everyone talking about the “shocking” survey that showed that new parents lose an average of six months of sleep during the first two years of their child’s life. The first time I heard those numbers, I had not yet become a mother. That must be a gross exaggeration, I thought.
Fast forward two years.
There were days I should have displayed a sign on my car that read, “caution: sleep deprived mom“. It made more sense than “baby on board”. If you can relate to that, you probably think that you need more sleep. And you’re right.
But there isn’t much you can do about that. What you can do is improve the quality of the sleep you do manage to get.
1. Don’t watch or read violent, disturbing, or scary content before bed (including the news) – you may have had a few nightmares the night you watched “The Ring” (the last scary movie I watched). Processing negative or disturbing information before bedtime has that effect. Skip it.
2. No mental list-making – jotting down to-do lists, whether on paper, your phone, or online, reduces the stress you put on yourself for attempting to remember those important tasks. A mental dump will give you peace of mind.
3. Don’t worry – lying in bed is when we tend to lay on the guilt of our mommy mishaps and worry about the scary unknown of our child’s future. You might not realize it, but this makes you clench your jaw, hold your breath, crinkle your forehead…basically your entire body seizes when you let your mind go there.
Don’t let these be the thoughts that close your day and simmer as you sleep. They will only set you up for insomnia, restlessness, and a grumpy morning.
1. Think of all the things you are grateful in your life – the only mental list-making that is good for you.
2. Send out well-wishes to your family, friends and the universe – good sleep and good karma. Bonus!
3. Practice conscious breathing – control your breathe and follow it as it enters your nose and fills every cell of your body. Zen mamas sleep well.
4. Visualize and feel your ultimate goals realized – imagine the euphoria of crossing the finish line of your first half-marathon. Let that bake overnight. It’ll give your sub-conscious something sweet to dream about and motivate you to fulfill those dreams in the morning.
Now that, is the recipe for rest, repair, and rejuvenation. You can finally stop resenting your baby for sleeping like one.
Can you think of anything else you can do to purposefully prepare for a good night’s sleep?
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I'm Nat Nanton, founder of Tutu Mama. Becoming a mother has made me commit to living my greatest life. If you can relate to that, you're in the right place.
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