This week is Sleep Awareness Week and trust us no one is more aware of sleep (or their extreme lack of it) than parents of small kids. Pour yourself another coffee and focus those puffy peepers because here are five tricks to help you get a bit more shut-eye.
So very tired…
When you’re tired everything becomes so much harder and you feel like crap. When you’re surviving on only a few hours sleep a night (thanks to those small humans that have invaded your house), things can REALLY turn to shit. Fast. You may not even remember your own name. But the good news is even an extra 30 minutes of sleep in a 24-hour period will have you perking up, and an extra two hours – woah, steady on tiger, the marathon isn’t until next month. So, how do you sneak in those extra zzz’s in order to get your brain and life back? Give these five tricks and tips a whirl.
1. Become the master of naps
Take a tip from the Spaniards and old people everywhere and get on that siesta train baby! Okay, so it’s more like collapsing into bed the minute your child has gone for a nap, but DO IT! Put the washing down AND DO IT. How are you going to function properly otherwise? And who cares about clothes anyway. Even if you’ve never been a good daytime sleeper you need to get on that sunny snooze train and ride it until someone cries out (or a telemarketer calls). You’ll be amazed at how easily you’ll fall deeply asleep in broad daylight – without even closing the blinds! And don’t forget those micro-sleeps either – your toddler might not even notice you’ve nodded off on the couch if they’re engrossed in Play School allowing you to nab an extra ten minutes – score!
2. Sleep in shifts
If the household sleep situation is in dire straits, then you’ll have to work out a deal with your partner. Perhaps you go to bed at 6pm and they handle the first half of the night, so you can then get up and do the midnight to dawn shift. Whatever system works – just agree that this is a team effort, even if your partner is working and you’re not. Because no one needs a crazy mother or wife around the place. NOBODY.
3. Call for help
Stop trying to be Wonder Woman. You’re a mother for crying out loud! If you don’t look after yourself how on earth are you going to look after everyone else? Call for backup, immediately. Get Grandma on the case, or your sister or a friend – whoever they are just get them to come over so you can hit the hay. Ideally also have them take your baby out for a walk so the house is nice and peaceful, otherwise just put those ear plugs in and shut the door. Don’t feel bad about it either – even if the person offering to help you out is a lady you just met at mother’s group, if they want to help let them. If no one wants to help, MAKE THEM. Offer to do the same favour for them if you want, or bribes work too.
4. Improve the quality of your sleep
When you do finally get to hit the sack, make sure it’s decent quality sleep you’re getting and not some kind of wannabe sleep that still leaves you feeling more wrecked than a house after a teenage party. This means (deep breath)… no booze, caffeine or screens before bed. Whaaaaat?! Yes I know, Netflix and vino are your lifelines but they might also be sneakily ruining your life so watch what you’re doing before bedtime so you can maximise whatever precious hours you do manage to get. Make sure you have good pillows too and get into chamomile tea. Just don’t drink so much of it that you then need to get up every 20 minutes to pee.
5. Learn to meditate
No time to sleep? Replace it with meditation! Some sources claim that one hour of meditation can be the equivalent of three to four hours of sleep, so even if you only have 15 minutes to spare this could really amp up your brain freshness. There are heaps of free guided meditations you can download if you’re new to it, and the good thing is you can meditate anywhere – even sitting in traffic. Just be careful not to fall asleep while attempting to clear your mind if you’re driving, in the middle of looking after your little ones, or you know – cooking hot chips on the stove.
What are your tips for sneaking in more sleep?