If only I could get more Sleep!
This is the lament of every mom that I know! Sleep is so important to us as creatures but often it’s the last thing on our list – laundry, working, cleaning, picking up, cooking – all often come before it. It’s hard sometimes to see the affects of missed sleep in ourselves even when we easily see the affects of missed sleep so plainly in our children.
Baby Adelle goes down for a nap. Toddler sister Sarah goes down 30 minutes later. Mom breathes a huge sigh of relief! Then the mail person knocks to deliver a package and up wakes the baby who starts crying. Then the toddler wakes up from the baby crying.
We know who is crying next – MOM!
She knows an afternoon of whiney, tired kids are ahead of her and that it’s going to take all the patience she has in the upcoming hours.
The same thing happens to us! We turn into grumpy, crotchety goblins when we miss sleep. And when we get it . . . we’re Glenda the Good Fairy!
So how do you actually get sleep as a mom?
Let’s break it down by age group.
The piece of advice you read almost everywhere is to sleep when the baby sleeps. This almost possible but used to annoy the heck out of me when I had my babies. How do you sleep when the baby sleeps when there is so much to do? And your cycle is completely interrupted in the middle of the night and you can’t get back to sleep.
For the first one, pick the one task that will make you feel the absolute best after it’s done. For me, it was getting the dishes done. Once those were done, then I could lie down for a nap until the baby woke up again.
For nighttime, load up on books and read a little to try to drift back to sleep. You can do deep, soft belly breathing as well. Or do 4-8 breathing until you drift off back into sleep.
Teething, illness, loneliness and being scared often wake up our Itsy Bitsys. Even though it’s hard in the middle of the night, try to calm yourself down first and then attend to them. An angry mom in the middle of the night doesn’t generally help the little ones feel better. Think of something positive that you can do the next day (Like nap! Or go to the park!) to get you through this. Remember these nights are not going to last forever, even if they feel like it right now.
Make a “safe room” if you can. No, you don’t drop them in there alone :). This is a room where everything is baby proof. It may be their bedroom. It may be yours. It may be an extra room. Nothing in it is breakable or dangerous. You can even put mats down if you like. It’s the place where you can take them when they decide to wake up at 5 a.m. and lie down yourself and catch some Z’s while they crawl all over you and take out toys, etc.
If they’re out of the crib and into a toddler bed, set up a little sleeping pad beside your bed that’s just for them. If they pad into your bedroom in the middle of the night, they can sleep on the pad and feel safe without waking you up.
Little Kids to Big Kids Tips for more Sleep for Mom
The primary feeling of a Big Kid waking you up is “Whaattt????” But, yes, they still need you sometimes! They wake up with nightmares or they’re sick, or they just get scared sometimes. First strategy is make unintelligible noises and wave them back to their room, grunting out a “Go back to bed!”
If that doesn’t work, then tell them to grab a blanket and lie down beside your bed or let them jump in with you. Personally, I prefer just letting them jump in with me as I’m about the laziest mom ever in the middle of the night.
Another idea is when you transition from the toddler bed to a Big Kid bed go to a Full size bed. That way you can lie down with them comfortably while they go to sleep and in the middle of the night if needed. It’s also handy for years and years to come for sleepovers.
Some moms skip the toddler bed altogether and go straight to a Full Size bed. If you’re worried about rolling off, you can start with the mattress on the floor or install safety rails for the sides of the bed.
What about Insomnia?
Insomnia is just . . . the worst!!! You’re exhausted. You’ve been up the night before and chased the kids all day. You lie down to go to sleep and suddenly you can’t. The whole day plays through your head.
If every mistake you made or every time you lost your patience or yelled at the kids is the filmstrip playing in your head, try changing the channel. We all make mistakes as a mom.
One of my friends told me once that these aren’t always mistakes. Sometimes a kid needs a little yelling to know you’re serious or to get in gear to Get their Shoes On. Laugh at yourself from time to time and eventually everyone will be laughing together.
Try the following Five Tips for Insomnia for Moms:
- Speak kindly to yourself in that moment and know that you can always start again the next day, after a full night of sleep (hopefully!).
- Visualize being the best mom you can be the next day. Walk through your day imagining responding how you would like to respond when the inevitable toddler crisis arises. Breath deeply as you do this.
- Use soft belly breathing or the 4-8 breath to slow your heart rate down.
- Use a YouTube video with meditative music. You may just drift off into sleep.
- Try a hypnosis for Insomnia. You can purchase these online. The only caution I have around these is that usually the suggestion is that you stay asleep throughout the night. Moms always worry, “What if I need to wake up? Will I hear the baby?” The hypnosis for insomnia that I do in my practice custom to moms have in them that you’ll wake up any time that it’s truly necessary, if your child needs you, etc.
Finally, remember that this is a journey and eventually the kids will sleep all the way through the night. I promise!
If you would like the magic of a custom hypnosis in Broward county or the Fort Lauderdale area, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yours in health,