When you’re juggling a job, kids and the mental load of everyday life, sleep can feel like a luxury. Instead of catching up on missed zzz’s, you find yourself using that precious downtime to catch up on life admin and other tasks. Healthy sleep routines are just as important for you as it is for your child.
There’s no denying that being a parent is tough. It’s tiring enough looking after little ones during the day, but when you add in disrupted sleep at night, it can be a mentally challenging time.
Kids wake up at all hours, especially if they’re very young or suffer from sleep disorders. For a parent, this means staying up with them, nursing them back to sleep, and then feeling anxious about getting enough sleep yourself. Then there’s all the other things that come after bedtime, like dishes and work responsibilities. A healthy sleep routine is just as important for parents as it is for children. Here’s why…
How much sleep do parents need?
There’s no denying that sleep is important -– for both young and old! The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep each night to feel refreshed, according to the Sleep Foundation. But when you factor in the sleep the average parent loses each night, they often need slightly more just to feel “normal”.
It’s not just the time in bed that needs to be considered, but the quality of sleep. If you have a child crying out for you, or are nervous about being woken up through the night, it’s naturally going to be more challenging to enjoy a restorative, deep slumber.
Why is sleep so important for parents?
Like all healthy adults, parents need to get enough sleep. But the sad reality is that often they don’t. In fact, parents lose an estimated 600 hours of sleep in the first year of parenthood alone.
We all know how it feels to be sleep deprived; from worrying about getting enough sleep, to struggling through the day on three coffees and then being wired at night time. That can leave you feeling fuzzy headed and struggling to concentrate. Plus, sleep time is vital to allowing our body to flourish. For a parent, this is especially important.
How to get more sleep as a parent
Creating a great sleep routine isn’t just important for your kiddos. Getting into good habits can also help you catch up on some much needed zzz’s. Here are a few tips:
Get into a regular sleep pattern
This can be tricky with kids, but can make all the difference! While you can’t plan for nightmares or midnight wake-ups, you can try and go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Decide what time you need to wake up in the morning and then work backwards. Make sure you allow yourself a little extra time to unwind before you get ready for bed.
Wind down before bed with a night-time routine
When things are particularly chaotic, or you’ve had a long day, it’s always easy to fall back onto a routine. Getting into a night-time routine will help signal to your brain that it’s time to unwind. It can be something as simple as a hot drink like a sleepy tea, or slipping on your favourite PJs and winding down with a good book.
Look at your food and drinks
This is an age-old tip for a good reason. Try to limit your caffeine intake after lunch and avoid eating right before bed. Heavy meals and drinking can lead to indigestion, acid reflux and other disruptions to your sleep. Find a healthy middle ground and have a light snack a few hours before bed – like fruit or a hot drink.
Make your room comfortable and dark
A vital part of getting a good night’s sleep is creating the perfect environment to doze off in. Depending on what your personal preferences are, this might vary from bedroom to bedroom! It’s best to make sure you block out light with blockout blinds or an eye mask.
You can add a little calming aromatherapy with fragrances like lavender and cedar wood. You can pop a diffuser in your room or add a drop of essential oils to your pillow.
Sleep is vital as a parent
As a parent, getting enough sleep helps you stay happy and healthy. In the short term, it’s going to ensure you get enough rest so you can physically sustain yourself and your little ones. In the long run, it’s also going to help boost your mental health, set a good routine and create an example of self care for your children.
Sleep is a vital ingredient to parenting well. You’re only human, and as a parent you need rest, too. This is your reminder to take time for you.
Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you’re here you’ll find something that makes your #momlife easier!