If you’re not a tired mum, you can count your lucky stars, because many mums out there are really exhausted. Waking several times through the night to tend to your kids and then either working during the day or staying home and looking after your kids is demanding. Unless you’re particularly mindful around taking care of yourself, it’s bound to take its toll on your energy levels. So, what can you do to avoid being a tired mum?
Well, I think there are several things you can do that can make a huge difference. I’ll post a series of blogs to share them with you, but the one for today is this …
Get As Much Sleep As You Can Before Midnight
Many of the tired mums I know go to bed really late. For the first 16 months of Joshi’s life I did too – usually between 10pm and 12pm. My saving grace was that my husband only leaves home at 9am for work, so I was able to sleep in until 8.45am while he hung out with Joshi. Although I was getting around 9-10 hours sleep I was still a tired mum. My sleep was generally interrupted between 6-8 times all up – a few times through the night and then hourly from 5am for those early morning cluster feeds (not mine, Josh’s). (There were a few nights when Joshi slept really well, which you can read about in my article on How To Help Your Toddler Sleep).
Then two weeks ago it happened. I had enough of being a tired mum and so I finally broke through this age old habit of going to bed late. Instead I got myself to bed with Joshi, anytime between 7.30pm and 8.45pm. And it’s had such a huge impact. I feel so energized and so much more able to enjoy the days, rather than just surviving them. I can officially say I no longer feel like a tired mum.
Sleep Before Midnight Is Best
One of the main reasons why getting lots of pre-midnight sleep is good, is because the quality of that sleep is heaps better than after midnight. According to Dr. Sarah Myhill, “An hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after.” That means I’ve been getting around 4 hours of high quality sleep, sometimes more. That’s equivalent to eight hours of sleep after midnight!
Uninterrupted Sleep Is Best
You probably know that uninterrupted sleep is best, but it’s something a lot of mums don’t get. If your sleep’s interrupted you may not reach the deep sleep cycle which allows you to wake feeling refreshed and ready to take on your day with enthusiasm. The more uninterrupted sleep you get, the less likely you’ll be a tired mum.
For me it works like this… Joshi tends to have his first wake around midnight. That means that if I go to bed at the same time as him I get four totally uninterrupted hours of sleep. Bliss. My body actually gets to experience those deeper cycles. I guess it depends on your kids sleep cycles, but from chatting to lots of moms it seems most kids have their least interrupted sleep before midnight too. So if you’re not sleeping during this time then you’re really missing out.
Have You Forgotten How Beautiful Sunrise Is?
Now that I’m getting to bed so much earlier I’m also up between 5:30am and 6.15am every day. I’ve even had a few days where I’ve actually woken up before both the boys! Yes, it’s true! And on those days I’ve been able to enjoy a really still and peaceful early morning meditation – something I’ve not had in a long, long time.
Since we’ve been up so early I’ve also taken Joshi down to the beach to watch the sunrise a couple of times. I’d seriously forgotten how beautiful sunrise is. That time of the day is just spectacular.
Saying Goodbye To Daytime Naps
Also, since my bed time has changed I’ve not been hitting any brick during the day. My energy level’s been consistently high. Consequently, I’ve not felt that I’ve needed or wanted to have a daytime nap when Joshi sleeps at midday.
Tired Mum Or Time With Your Partner In The Evening
Okay, so the only alone time you have with your partner is in the evening once the kids are asleep and you don’t want to sacrifice that. I understand. I’ve been there too, but I’ll say this… all those nights I’ve resisted going to bed earlier in order to have that ‘quality’ couple time feels like a bit of an illusion to me now. Many of those nights both of us have been pretty zombified. What kind of quality time is that really? What can I say? Just give it a go. Get your lovely self to bed earlier and see what happens. There may just be a surprise in store for you. For the last couple of days our whole family has been up and enjoying time together without being tired. It’s awesome.
I know this is really simple stuff, but sometimes it’s the simplest and most obvious stuff that’s hardest to implement, especially if you’re a tired mum! They’re also often the things that can make the hugest difference. Putting this into practice has been quite revolutionary and transformative and I’m feeling pretty darn pleased with myself too.
Now it’s your turn: Are you a tired mum? Do you go to bed when your kids do or are you constantly burning the candle at both ends and feeling the effects?
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