While on mat leave I tried to remain busy with X, which resulted in a few fun little mom and baby activities. We tried Gymboree Play and Learn (amazing!), free playgroups and swimming classes. While attending these activities, a recurring topic crept into all of the conversations between the moms – sleep. I always tried to shrink into the back corner when they’d go on about not having slept in weeks because I was too scared to admit I had a full 8 hours. I heard more conversations about Sleep Training, e-books and sleep consultants than I care to remember – but now that my 13-month-old is going through what I’m assuming is one of those “regressions” I heard so much about – I wish I had paid a little closer attention!
We had a routine that worked for us – so we never saw the point of disrupting that sleep schedule. Now that I’m back working full-time, his routine has been shaken and my husband and I are counting the days until we get to wake up to an alarm! Until that day comes, I’m going to enjoy the midnight cuddles and nursing sessions and try to just remain awake long enough to get to the office and grab a Vanilla Cold Brew!
After doing some research, I’ve made a list of some Effective Sleep Strategies I hope work for people in our current situation!
- Don’t force it – I know this can be a hard one, especially when you’re trying to calculate how many hours of sleep you’ll get if you fall asleep now. Or now! But you really just have to relax and let go of your day. My hubby’s favorite way to unwind after a day is to meditate (see post on Meditation to help you relax).
- Less screen time – Ok so no one wants to hear this. What’s more relaxing than scrolling through Instagram just before you catch some shut-eye? Well – it turns out NOT doing that will help turn your brain “off” for the night and help you sleep better.
- Developing a bedtime routine – if it works for babies, why not adults? Develop a pre-sleep routine that you do every night before bed so your brain knows what comes next.
- Don’t exercise too late – We are huge fitness/health advocates so I don’t want you to think we said don’t exercise! Just be mindful that exercising makes us more alert due to the cortisol hormone our body releases. Instead – try starting your day off by exercising to benefit from that natural stimulant.
- Unwind with some music – Music-assisted relaxation is hugely effective and one of the most common ways to repose. Of course, it is dependent on the genre … but has anyone ever stayed awake through an entire playlist of Classical music (Oh wait – I vaguely remember remaining awake through labor! See Birthing playlist here).
Whether your favorite sleep strategy is to count sheep or keep a sleep journal, ensuring you are well rested is SO important! Studies have shown that improving sleep quality has decreased memory loss and has reduced the risk of many physical consequences (heart disease, stroke, cancer etc.).
Share your strategies and let us know how ours work out for you!