by Jamy Russell

We all agree that being a mother with a (young) child is tough. But what’s even more difficult, is taking care of yourself when you’re also the single care breadwinner in the family. One thing most working moms struggle with is getting enough (quality) sleep. Here’s what happens when you don’t get enough:

It could change your personality
• It can devastate your health
• It makes you worse at anything you do

Reason enough to make sure you get enough time under the covers. But how do you do that if you’re working throughout the day and taking care of our child at night? Here are some tips:

Tip one: Avoid chemicals!

Espresso at 3PM to get through that afternoon slump at work? Glass of wine when the little one finally sleeps to relax? It’s incredibly tempting to give in. But you’ll pay later. Especially with caffeine in the second part of the day or alcohol right before bed. Both caffeine and alcohol have a negative effect on the quality of your sleep. The result of that: even less energy and productivity the next day, which makes the tiredness cycle more likely to repeat. Also, stay away from sleep aids such as Benadryl (better to have a tab of melatonin if you’re desperate for sleep).

Action tip: instead of coffee, try having a cup of green tea. It contains less caffeine and the theanine decreases the “stress” effects of caffeine.

Tip two: De-stress before bed

Finally time to hit the pillow, but still can’t sleep because of thoughts running through your head? Stress can be a direct cause of insomnia, so it’s good to fight the problem at the source and de-stress before bed. Try finding that specific activity that you find pleasurable and calms you down. Many people do well with:

• Reading a relaxing book before bed
• Drinking a cup of herbal tea
• Meditating for 5 to 10 minutes
• Stretching or yoga
• Watching your favorite series (of course using a blue light filter such as F.lux!)
• Going for a small walk

Action tip: Pick one of these activities and try it out for 7 days for just 10 minutes. If it doesn’t help? Try another one (or combine some) until you’ve found your own personal de-stress ritual.

Tip three: Make it easy for yourself

With a demanding personal and working life, it can be difficult to think clearly. Some of the most effective solutions for better sleep, might be in clear sight, but you’re just too tired to see them. For example:

• Street light keeping you awake? Install black out curtains.
• Watching TV or series until the middle of the night? Get rid of your TV in the bedroom.
• Receiving (unimportant text messages/notifications) at night? Set your phone to silent, turn off notifications, or as a last resort – charge your phone in the living room.
• Living next to a busy street? Get some sleeping earplugs to block the noise.

Action tip: ask yourself what the single biggest thing is that’s keeping you from getting a good night’s rest. Now, list 5 potential solutions and rank them based on effectiveness and how easy it is to implement (make 2 lists). Pick the ones that are effective and easy to implement and see if that helps!

This blog post is courtesy of Jamy Russell, who started Sleep Investor to teach people simple, yet effective, ways to improve sleep. Falling asleep doesn’t have to be as difficult as many people make it out to be, and often there are many easy wins that people overlook in their quest for better sleep.

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