Sleep tips for parents from an expert who’s been there

For many parents, the idea of ​​a good night’s sleep often feels like a distant memory. Between breastfeedings, diaper changes, outings, and the occasional tantrum, the ups and downs of parenting can really affect a person’s sleep cycle. Here’s the good news: By practicing a few key rules for a good night’s sleep, an elusive, well-rested wake-up can be yours back. With my two toddlers, I don’t sleep the best these days, so it’s safe to say that the following sleep tips for parents couldn’t have come at a better time.

Do any of you feel me? The irony is that, as a constantly on-the-go parent, you would think that by the end of the day I would be wiped out and drifted off to sleep in a split second. Is not. As a parent, it’s easy to fall into a constant state of fight or flight – we’re always so overwhelmed with things that it can feel like we can’t really rest. To make things even more complicated, if my body allows me to go to sleep at a reasonable time, stay Sleeping can be another challenge. Sometimes, even when I have nothing to worry about and I have prepared myself for success in my sleep, racing thoughts come up. The anxiety in the question? If I don’t sleep Fastthe next day will be destroyed.

I tried everything to get a good night’s sleep. Since I imagine other parents out there feel the same way, I reached out to the best person to help: sleep coach Kelly Murray. Keep reading for sleep tips that will assist any parent—new and experienced.

Featured image of Nikole Ramsay.

When it comes to a good night’s sleep, where should we start?

The first step to balancing your sleep schedule is understanding the key hormone that keeps us awake: cortisol. Too much cortisol can make it difficult to fall asleep. Some common cortisol boosters are stress and overactivity – both of which, of course, are well known to parents.

Easier said than done, but balancing activity and stress levels will help you sleep better at night. According to Murray, resting when your child is asleep instead of completing another task is a great way to make this a reality. (Those dishes can wait!). This can include anything from sitting in a chair in silence, reading a book, calling a friend, going for a walk, or really anything that helps you feel relaxed.

Another stress-reducing tip is to take a minute to meditate. While it can be hard to find 20 minutes to disconnect and relax, if you have a few moments to be alone, try micro-meditation (even a minute can help the whole world) . It may not seem like much, but a little breathing will get you a long way.

Pictures of Riley Reed

What role does our diet play in the quality of our sleep?

What you eat affects your ability to fall asleep. Did you know that low blood sugar increases cortisol levels? Therefore, it is important for parents to eat three balanced meals a day. Easier said than done, I know. My husband and I often graze on the kitchen island while our kids eat, rather than actually sitting down for a proper lunch. But the effort to plan our meals in advance has really helped.

Roller coaster rides disrupt your sleep and keep you awake at night. But reminding myself of the following truth has changed my ability to prioritize a healthy diet for sleep: If I could find the time to make sure my kids are getting If I get all the nutrients I need, I can do the same for myself.

Another pro tip? Murray suggests writing down tomorrow’s to-do list before you go to bed. Doing this helps you get tomorrow’s worries out of your head so they don’t keep you up at night. Thinking about mimicking your journaling practice? Bedtime is the best time!

Now that we’ve gone to sleep, how do we make sure we stay sleep?

Falling asleep is one thing, but falling asleep can be an entirely different challenge. We’ve all been there — startled at 3 a.m. only to realize you have a few hours left before the day begins. Typical reactions? Panic. The exact opposite of what we should be doing? Rushing, panicking.

If you often wake up in the middle of the night, do your best to stay calm. Prepare a spell for yourself (something like “I am still sleeping, I am still resting”) to put yourself back to sleep. If you can’t get back to sleep, Murray recommends getting out of bed to do something relaxing. This might include curling up with a book or writing in a journal (see tip above!).

While you are going through this process, remember to listen to your body. When you feel tired again, try getting back in bed and going to sleep. As someone who regularly wakes up with anxiety, I find this tip extremely helpful. Now, I calmly get out of bed without any guilt. Nor am I in a hurry to conclude that I will not sleep that night.

What steps should a healthy sleep routine include?

To have a good night’s sleep, you should adhere to the following:

  • Power off your phone and turn off all electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime. And if you have a TV in your bedroom, it’s time to get it out!
  • Practice a relaxation routine before bed. Try reading, meditating, or whatever calms you down.
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet. Remember: The bedroom is the place to protect your sleep.

Don’t forget those sleep aids we’ve all heard about. Murray says there’s a time and place for them. Our body can fall asleep naturally with proper preparation. For example, taking melatonin can be great for shift workers or if you’re running late for a plane. But depending on it to sleep is a bad thing for your body’s natural ability. Drinking a relaxing tea at night can also be effective, plus most of the ingredients are natural and low-risk. However, it’s important to consult your doctor before adding supplements to your routine.

Last but not least, drugs like Benadryl for sure do They work to knock you out, but they won’t help restore your sleep cycle. They can also be addictive, so it’s best to avoid them if possible.

What is the most important thing to remember that can improve our sleep?

It’s just a fact: Managing your sleep as a parent can be stressful. My first child, with acid reflux, has been up all night for almost nine months. That experience has had a significant effect on my mental health. Best advice? Remember this is just a phase and it will overcome. If you have a partner, divide and conquer when it comes to watching your kids. And be sure to give yourself grace when deciding the success of your sleep. It’s almost inevitable—you won’t get the eight hours you’re used to. If you can sleep five hours a night straight, you’re on the right track.

If you or someone you know is struggling with sleep and has tried everything, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor or therapist for more help. A good night’s sleep is fundamental to your performance as an individual and as a parent. We all deserve top priority.

Are you a new parent? We want to know what tips and tricks helped you get a good night’s sleep.

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