Tips to Help Improve Sleep for the Busy Parent

Today’s post on how to improve sleep for parents courtesy of Danielle Shea Tan’s Healthy Mamas for Happy Families.

Do you crave days when sleep can both relax a lot? You are not alone! Most moms and dads are tired and it hardly goes for coffee and adrenaline. In fact, a survey conducted on over 1000 parents in the UK found that the parents lost more than 6 months of sleep in the first two years of a child’s life. POOF! That sleep was just pulled from under us. The verdict is in: parents need to work to improve sleep habits.

5 Reasons Why Working Parents Need to Sleep

Aside from being a real drag, the loss of precious sleep can negatively affect our ability to manage work and life while still being the best parent we can be. Here are five critical reasons why working moms and dads like you and need action to improve our sleep this week. Regular healthy sleep:

  1. Increased metabolism
  2. Reduce “mommy’s brain” and other mental breakdown
  3. Ensure a strong immune system to fight off colds, flus, and other bugs.
  4. Stimulate your “creative juices”
  5. The less stress, the easier it is to be patient with your kiddo

3 Tips For Tired Parents to Improve Sleep

Sleep is like any other healthy habit, it needs to be nurtured and done in our schedules or it can easily get lost in the chaos of daily life. For some of us, restful sleep comes naturally, but for others we need to work to improve sleep every day. Whatever your sleep relationship, the simple “mother -approved steps” steps below can support a healthier night’s rest.

  1. Remove obstacles that can damage your sleep. Parents are busy and overworked, but when we have a commitment to something, it happens. We went through awesome birthday parties while meeting work deadlines that seemed impossible. We ran both states in a blizzard to get the last elf on the shelf we promised our little girl. To improve our sleep, we need the same level of commitment given by others. It means doing anything to make sleep a priority. Ask yourself, “what hinders sleep?” Now, take action to remove this barrier. Hire a sleep consultant if your child is keeping you up. Unplug the television. Buy those expensive noise -blocking curtains. Take the steps necessary to live up to your commitment to yourself.
  2. Take action to resolve sleep issues. There are many different types of sleep issues. For some it takes 30 minutes or more to fall asleep, while others can fall asleep quickly only to wake up at 3 a.m. and start tossing and turning. Sleep struggles can be related to a number of unresolved health challenges, from unbalanced hormones (the level of progesterone that disrupts my sleep) to untreated asthma. If you can’t find a sleep routine that works for you, it’s time for you to take action before any serious health issues occur. For severe sleep struggles, I can suggest that my clients try acupuncture. Research has shown that acupuncture is beneficial for launching positive sleep as well as overall good health. If acupuncture does not give results (or you are nervous about small needles), visit your primary care doctor for a more thorough examination.
  3. Create a sleep routine that works for you. Children’s lives are different. Creating a sleep routine is one of the things we need to do as parents to maintain our sanity. Just up there with the scheduling time for love, a little less exciting but sometimes necessary. As a working parent, you’ve had a lot going on, which means your mind and body need time to rest before listening to a good night’s sleep. Start by determining what you want to relax in and repeat this experience before bed. You wait for rest and later head to bed. Try some regular sleep until you find one that works for you. If sleep habits don’t encourage sleep rest, it’s time to seek help every step # 3. Some tried and true sleep -promoting habits include the following:
  • Breathe in 100% pure lavender oil and apply it to the pressure points
  • Reading a relaxing book
  • Listen to the sounds of the ocean (my favorite app: Relax Melodies)
  • Take a hot bath
  • Writing the letter
  • Drink a hot cup of chamomile tea
  • Meditative breathing or yoga nidra (my favorite app: Yoga Nidra Lite)

I have always had a light sleeper and since getting married and having a child, I have had many challenges in my sleep. However, I would be a better mother, wife, friend, and health coach if sleep was the top priority. I work on this every day and I hope this article inspires you to give space to improve sleep in your life.

So, what is hindering your sweet sleep? What steps have you taken this week to improve your sleep habits? I want to hear your steps in action!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2014 but has now been updated.

Danielle Shea Tan, founder of Healthy Mamas for Happy Families and certified health coach, helping busy mothers and their families maintain healthy habits and address nutritional challenges and obstacles along the way with a happy attitude and manageable solutions. You’ll find Danielle teaching parents and caregivers how to raise healthy families virtually and personally in the Boston area. She is regularly featured on local nutrition, lifestyle and health blogs, magazines and radio shows including Boston Magazine and the WatDs Mom’s business.

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