When you’re sleeping, your body performs all kinds of essential functions such as healing your wounds, balancing your hormones, solidifying your memories and refreshing your mind. Sleep isn’t optional. It is of primary importance if you want to be healthy and successful.
Unfortunately, most new parents do not get enough sleep. One study shows that less than 5 hours of sleep per night is typical for new parents.
It’s particularly challenging for women who work at home to adapt to a new routine that doesn’t include enough sleep. If you’re a new mum who works from home, we invite you to consider the following 4 smart hacks for getting more sleep:
1. Compensate for Split Shifts With Afternoon Naps
Many work-at-home mums cope with their never-ending to-do-lists by working split shifts. They work for part of a day, then spend afternoons or evenings with their families. Then work commences again after the kids are in bed, and mum works long into the night.
This sort of routine can really cut into a mum’s sleep – but it can work well for mums who also introduce afternoon naps into their schedules. A regular afternoon nap could work especially well if you’re breastfeeding an infant, because you’re probably going to have to take the time to nurse your baby sometime during that time slot anyway. It’s hard to nurse and work at the same time, but you can easily nurse and nap.
2. Ditch Baby’s Cot
Cots have benefits and drawbacks. One of a cot’s major downsides: You’ll spend significant amounts of time soothing your baby to sleep and putting him into it, only to have him awaken and start screaming once you’ve set him down. Then you’ll have to start the process all over again. And then you’ll have to do it again in 2 hours when you wake up again for your next feeding session. This scenario can rob you of sleep and leave you feeling helpless and frustrated.
There’s a cot-free alternative you might want to explore. My friend’s midwife suggested that she should set a low, thin mattress on the floor for her baby to sleep on instead of putting him in a cot. This allows her to get onto the mattress to cuddle and feed the baby; yet she can gently, quietly sneak away and get into her own bed with a minimum of disturbance once the baby is sleeping.
Of course, if you decide to try this for your own baby, do be sure to completely and thoroughly baby-proof the room. You must also ensure that the mattress is pulled far enough away from all walls to avoid the possible pitfall of your baby falling off and getting trapped between a wall and the mattress. It’s also a good idea to remove pillows and other soft bedding materials from the bed to decrease the likelihood that these items will cause suffocation.
3. Ban Caffeine in the Afternoons
For many work-at-home mums, caffeine is not negotiable – it’s essential. The caffeine found in coffee, soda, tea, chocolate or cocoa can provide a surge of energy that elevates your productivity substantially.
Unfortunately, researchers have determined that caffeine can disrupt your sleep. This is possible even if you consume it a full 6 hours before you go to bed.
Have you ever had the experience of getting into bed, feeling half-dead from tiredness, only to find that your brain simply will not relax and shut down? If you consumed caffeine earlier in the day, it’s possible that the caffeine you had could be the culprit. Because caffeine has a stimulant effect on people, it is often to blame, in part or in full, for cases of insomnia.
The main takeaway: To ensure optimum sleep, get your caffeine fixes early in the day – then lay off it in the afternoon.
4. Get a Better Mattress
If you’re a sleep-deprived mum, a good mattress is an essential investment in your health and well-being. This is because a bad mattress can interfere with the quality of your sleep. If you still feel groggy after you’ve been asleep all night, it’s possible that your mattress could be to blame. In that case, it’s time to treat yourself to a new mattress.
When you shop for a new mattress, you should be sure to test it in a broad variety of sleeping positions – on your stomach, side and back. Ensure the mattress you’re considering is firm enough to support your back and body, but flexible enough to accommodate your curves.
A better mattress doesn’t need to cost you a fortune. You can often find mattress bargains online. For example, right now you can apply this Ecosa promo code to save substantially on a new mattress or other bedding accessories.
These are 4 of the smartest hacks we’re aware of for empowering tired work-at-home mums to get more sleep. Following these suggestions can make a colossal difference in the amount of sleep you get on a daily basis.
One other important thing: Remember that this challenging state of sleep deprivation is temporary. It won’t be like this for all of eternity. Soon enough, your little one will be in school – and by then, you’ll hopefully all have settled into a routine that includes full nights of sleep. With that in mind, the best tip we can give you is to hang in there. You can take comfort in the assurance that things will definitely get easier.