Between your daily responsibilities and your responsibilities as a mother, it can be tough keeping up with it all. Typically, one of the first things mothers sacrifice is their sleep so that they can make enough time to fulfill every need. We understand this lifestyle takes a toll, so let us help you by showing you how to improve your sleep schedule so you can feel as rested and energized as possible.
Schedule a Bedtime and Wake Up Time
Much like how your baby or child has a bedtime, you should also set one for yourself. Keeping a strict bedtime will condition your body to be ready for sleep at that exact time, which will make it easier for you to settle into bed and fall asleep. Similarly, you’ll want to set an alarm and pick an exact wake up time for you to get up on a consistent basis.
On mornings where you have extra time, it may seem like a good idea to try and get some extra sleep. Although tempting, you want to stick to your schedule. Oversleeping will make you feel groggy and just as tired as when you went to bed, whereas having a set wake time will regulate your body to feel energized once you’re up and ready to go.
Fast food may be tempting for its convenience with your busy schedule, but processed junk food is high in sugars and carbohydrates. This will keep your body abuzz when trying to sleep and you’ll likely spend more time twisting and turning throughout the night. On the other hand, you don’t want to go to bed hungry, otherwise your body will be far more concerned with eating than sleeping.
Learn How To Get Back To Sleep
One of the greatest challenges for some mothers is having to wake up in the middle of the night to tend to their babies and then trying to get back to sleep. If you have trouble going back to sleep, the best way to improve your sleep schedule is by making it about relaxation instead of sleeping. If you focus only on sleeping, you’ll become impatient and fixate on what’s making you uncomfortable. Instead, do a quiet activity for a little while until your body begins to feel worn out once more. Your bed will feel incredible once you get back into it. You can also look into natural sleep aids to help if you’re still struggling with sleeping.
Christina Duron is a writer living in the Chicagoland area. Her passion for writing and mental health help create thought provoking and engaging pieces and hopes to use them to empower mothers and women to embrace the beauty of motherhood.
Sleep training can have a bad reputation among the parenting community.
This secret shame in sleep training comes from it’s association with the cry it out method. The name alone suggests something very traumatic for both moms and babies alike. But it’s important to note that the cry it out method is not nearly the only form of sleep training. In fact, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different ways that parents sleep train their babies.
So I’d like to make it loud and clear for all moms everywhere that there is absolutely no shame in sleep training your baby!
Defining Sleep Training
There is no shame in sleep training because all parents do it, whether they realize it or not. To “sleep train” is to help a baby establish healthy sleep habits. But there are so many different ways that can be done, it all depends on the baby and the parent. Some parents choose to do this using more rigid guidelines, while others prefer to let their babies take the lead. Either way, it’s still considered sleep training.
Baby-Led Sleep Training
Babies are born with the natural instinct to sleep, eat and eliminate. Their wakeful periods gradually increase with age and as they grow, their little personalities begin to show. These personalities will give you a hint as to what kind of sleep they prefer.
My introverted first child was a great sleeper and still is, 10 years later. He likes quiet, darkness and solitude. He never slept well in a shared bedroom and was easily distracted by lights, sounds and toys in his room.
My easy-going third child can sleep anywhere without problem, as long as she has her special bunny.
Baby led sleep training methods mean following your baby’s sleep cues and letting them show you how and when they prefer to sleep. This can require a lot of patience and may mean more night-time waking, but many parents are up for that challenge. You can also expect a baby-led routine to change several times as they grow and develop different needs.
Parent-Led Sleep Training
Sleep training methods that have more structure and routine are considered parent-led methods. Many are based on adjusting baby’s instinctual sleep habits in order to make it work for a parent’s lifestyle. And these are the ones that moms often feel shamed for, or feel the need to shame others.
(At least, it shouldn’t be if done correctly.) While I am not a sleep training expert, I do firmly believe that leaving a baby to cry alone by themselves does not teach them how to sleep or self-soothe. Crying is a baby’s way of communicating and we should never take that for granted. But sometimes, a baby cries because they feel overstimulated or overtired and need some space, so holding or rocking them is not always the solution.
Parent-led sleep training methods can require a lot of consistency and a certain level of self-discipline. Creating a strict bedtime routine for a baby means committing to doing it for years to come, but some parents are willing to make that sacrifice in exchange for a better night’s sleep.
Stick with One or The Other
A mistake most parents make is beginning with a baby led sleep approach and then trying to switch to parent led sleep training when the child is older. Of course there will be tears and baby will put up a fight, because change can be difficult for everyone. So if you plan on letting baby take the lead right from the start, then expect to follow through on that. Or you can start incorporating a more structured bedtime routine as a gradual process.
If you do plan on sleep training your baby, then try to start from the moment you bring your baby home. Obviously, your newborn isn’t going to start sleeping straight through the night, but remember, that’s not what sleep training is about. There are several things you can do to ensure they develop a good routine and sleeping habits. This way, you don’t need to worry about making drastic changes to their routine as they grow.
There is No Shame in Needing Help
If your baby isn’t sleeping no matter what you’ve tried, that doesn’t make you a failure. When it comes to sleep training, there is a lot of advice out there but there is no manual or one tried and true method.
Thankfully, there are professional baby sleep training consultants available. I have personally used and would recommend the Baby Sleep Site(read about my personal experience with them here). Trained professionals take into account your family life, other children’s schedules and your own health and well being to create a routine that works for you. They’ve dealt with the various sleep habits of thousands of different babies and have the experience to help you. Sleep training can be stressful, so it’s good to have some support and guidance along the way.
Quit the Shaming!
Motherhood is not black and white and when it comes to sleep training, there is a lot of grey area. Ultimately, what works for one family, or one baby, will not work for everyone. So let’s quit with the mom shaming about sleep training. Moms who sleep train are not being cruel or selfish. And moms who follow their baby’s lead are not spoiling them. All moms are doing what they feel is best for their baby, themselves and their families and that’s the only thing that truly matters.
Daylight savings time can be a mother’s worst nightmare.
Daylight savings time begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. This all sounds well and good for most people, after all, it’s just a one hour difference. But if you have little ones on a strict bedtime schedule, or if your mental health suffers from changes in your routine or sleep pattern, it can be a difficult time of the year to manage.
Here are a few tips on how to protect your sleep during daylight savings time.
Yes, it’s just an hour. For many people, it doesn’t even make a difference in their lives. But for young children, it can mean some trouble adjusting to the change for a few days, if not longer. This can disrupt mom’s sleep patterns as well, which is bad news if she suffers from postpartum depression or anxiety. Sleep deprivation can be a big trigger for those suffering from a mental health disorder.
If you’re worried about your sleep being disrupted, then try to prepare yourself ahead of time. Don’t over-schedule yourself the weekend that daylight savings time changes and try to get in some extra rest. If you’re concerned about your child’s sleeping habits, then consider consulting with a baby sleep training expert for advice.
Go to Bed Early
Technically the time changes at 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning, but it’s a common practice to change all the clocks back before going to bed on Saturday night. Whether you’re losing or gaining an hour, consider going to bed early that Saturday night to ensure that you get enough sleep no matter what time you wake up.
Take the Weekend Off
Thankfully, daylight savings time changes on a weekend so you don’t need to worry about school or work schedules. If you can, try to limit any scheduled or time-constricted activities. It’s a great time to plan a cozy hygge weekend or a family movie marathon where you’re sure to lose track of time anyway. And who knows, maybe planning a relaxing weekend when the time changes could become a favorite family tradition!
Make the Change Gradually
There is no rule that says the hour has to be changed all at once. One way to make the daylight savings time change seem less drastic is to change the clocks in smaller increments throughout the weekend. Start by changing your clocks in 15 minute intervals on Saturday morning and evening and then again on Sunday. The smaller the change, the less your body and mind will notice it.
Change the Clocks in the Middle of the Afternoon
Another alternative to help protect your sleep is to change the clocks in the middle of the afternoon instead of at bedtime. This is a great option, especially for children, because the afternoon hours can usually slip by quickly when we’re busy having fun. This will also ensure less disruption to your child’s bedtime routine and help you sleep better as well.
Try to Embrace it
When it comes to daylight savings time, it’s best to just not make a big deal out of it. Worrying or focusing too much on it can cause a lot of disruption. It can cause anxiety for moms who need every bit of undisturbed sleep they can get. Knowing that daylight savings time is coming can also contribute to symptoms of depression, including seasonal affective disorder. Instead of worrying about it, try to be mindful of the time change. Pay close attention to the changes in nature and embrace the opportunity to adjust your routine for the winter season.
Prior to having children or dealing with a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, you probably never thought much about daylight savings time other than being on time for something important. With most smartphones automatically updating the time, you may even completely forget about it until you wake up Sunday morning confused about what time it REALLY is. Often, we don’t experience the repercussions of the time change until after the fact. So protect your sleep this season and be ready for it!
Do you wonder why your kids can’t seem to get to sleep by a decent time at night? Or, do your kids complain that their stomach hurts in the middle of the night. Well, more than likely these are signs that your child is responding to the food they ate for dinner or as a pre-bedtime snack. While some snacks may be healthy for your child and aid in promoting sleep, other foods can cause wakefulness, stomach pain, and acid reflux.
So, which foods should your child not eat before going to bed? Here are 5 foods your child should avoid.
Cereal may seem like the perfect quick snack for your child if they complain of being hungry right before bed. After all, it is quick and takes almost no preparation. However, sugary cereals (you know them) digest quickly resulting in a spike in sugar. Sugar spikes affect kids much differently than they do adults and this could lead to an entire night of sleep disruption or light sleep as your child may experience increased blood sugar levels causing them to do an all-nighter.
Much like sugary cereal soda can create a spike in sugar levels for your child resulting in what adults need an energy drink to accomplish. In addition to sugar stimulation the carbonation of a soda can cause stomach pain and discomfort. Soda is recommended as one the foods to avoid at all times, but especially before bed.
Citrus fruits like oranges, pineapple, and grapefruit are highly acidic and can result in acid reflux. So, while you may think giving your child fruit for a late-night snack is beneficial remember that not all fruits are created equal. If you do decide to give your child fruit before bedtime, consider a banana or apple with a little peanut butter. These are not only filling but are also nutritious and likely won’t upset your child’s stomach.
Surprised? Celery seems like it might be a healthy choice for your kids before bedtime – think ants on a log. However, celery is a natural diuretic which may cause your child to need a late-night potty break when they should be sleeping. Diuretics are foods that push water through the digestive system and celery can cause a child’s system to respond the same way coffee would in yours.
Pizza is one of the most beloved dinners in America. Yet, be careful how close to bedtime you feed your kids a glorious cheese pizza. While it might be tasty, melted cheese and popular toppings like pepperoni are high in fat. Add acidic pizza sauce to this and your child may wake you up midway through the night complaining of stomach problems.
Few parents are keen on giving their kids food just before bedtime and it’s preferable if you can avoid it. However, your children are persistent and when they are hungry, they will let you know. So, if you find yourself searching for a quick snack, the best foods to avoid are those that are acidic, sugary and high in fats. Rather, options such as peanut butter on a piece of bread or apple, yogurt, or whole grain cereals such as oatmeal are good choices.
Krista is married and the mom to two adorable kids. She is a freelance writer that regularly covers sleep health, lifestyle, and beauty content. Krista is always looking for ways to better herself and has a passion for helping families create balance and happiness in their lives.
Whether you’re a brand new mom or a seasoned one, sleep is something we all crave. The months shortly after having a baby are the worst for sleep deprivation and there’s usually no avoiding it. But once you’ve got baby into a good routine and you’ve settled into motherhood a bit better, you can start to focus on how to reclaim all your lost hours of sleep.
Mom of two and freelance writer, Lisa Smalls, shares some tips on how to reclaim your sleep after having a baby.
Having a new baby will be one of the greatest feelings in your life, however, that thrill can be quickly replaced with the fatigue, lack of focus, anxiety and an increased temper all due to sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is acquiring fewer than the seven-plus recommended hours of sleep each night. While newborn babies can sleep 16 to 20 hours each day, those hours are stretched into bursts which are often inconveniently disturbed when the parent is trying to sleep.
On average, a mother in the first three months after having a baby can lose between one and two hours of sleep each night and for both parents they can experience sleep deprivation for up to six years after the birth. While some people can get an adequate amount of sleep at six hours, most need between seven and nine, so those critical couple hours of loss after childbirth can make a big impact on your quality of sleep, especially considering the hours you do get are broken up into two-hour segments dictated by the baby’s fits.
Your body requires not only that you receive seven hours, but also that those hours are subsequent to each other and they are quality sleep. Sleep is the way your body processes thoughts, emotions, memories and helps your body relax and repair. Without consistent sleep your body does not have the ability to process and file all of your information or process it correctly. This leads to a haze during the day resulting in fatigue, lack of focus, lack of motivation, mood swings and anxiety. In turn, these symptoms lead to additional insomnia. So, when your baby is sleeping at night, you may not be able to. It is a vicious cycle.
As your baby ages, additional challenges such as potty training, nightmares, and the concerns of your growing toddler and an active imagination result in sleep deprivation. Though the sleep deprivation you will likely experience as your child ages may not be as complicated as those first few months, it also provides the same symptoms.
So, what can a parent (especially a mother) do to reclaim sleep after giving birth? Here are five tips.
Create a routine for you and the baby
Okay, to be fair your baby is probably not going to pay attention to a routine in the beginning. But, with practice and commitment a routine can help your baby sleep in longer bouts and learn to sleep so that after four months your baby may actually sleep through the entire night. Routine is good and setting a sleep routine such as bath, reading, cuddling, and sleep will be a great payback for the future.
This is such an important factor in helping you sleep that you should keep a sign on your refrigerator as a reminder. After having a baby friends and family will practically tackle each other to offer help and cuddle with that little cutie. But, parents are often unwilling to accept the help. This may be from guilt or simply because it is difficult allowing someone else (including mom) to watch your baby without you there. But, whether someone offers to watch your baby a couple hours, help with the chores, or just hang out to give you a little break, it all pays off.
Keep the baby near you (but not in your bed)
A nursery is great, but it might be better after the six-month mark. In those first months your baby will wake up every couple hours and one way to miss out on sleep is that long walk to the nursery to feed. SIDS is a serious concern and one of the biggest no-no’s is letting your newborn sleep in bed with you. So, whether you have a crib or bassinet in the room keeping your baby close will help you feed without too much hassle.
Don’t worry about the dishes
Having a baby does not mean you have lost your old life, but it does mean you need to adjust going forward. That might mean that if you were emphatic about getting all the chores done and having a spotless house, those chores just might have to wait until you are having a nice relaxing day as the kids play with the grandparents. This does not mean you should live like a hoarder but prioritizing your sleep over missing a night of sweeping the floor, means you should really get your zzz’s.
Author Bio: Lisa is a mom of two and freelance writer from North Carolina. She regularly writes for the sleep health website Mattress Advisor, which has taught her so much about the importance of sleep (especially as a working mom). When she isn’t working on commissions, she loves connecting, encouraging and learning with other parents through her writing.
Snoring is one of the worst enemies of a good night’s sleep, whether it’s you or your partner who’s to blame.
Recently, my husband and I had the chance to try out the new Hupnos anti-snoring mask, which combines technology with a sleep mask to help solve the snoring problem for good.
I’ve been married 10 years and my husband has always been a snorer. In his case, it’s caused by a combination of allergies and other sinus problems, but there are several different causes of snoring. He’s tried various remedies over the years, including strips, nose and mouth pieces, sinus medications, herbal remedies and even surgery to correct a deviated septum.
Here’s what our experience with the Hupnos anti-snoring mask was like.
Hupnos is a sleep mask, just like one you would wear to block out light while you sleep. It connects to an app via Bluetooth which analyzes your snoring to try to figure out what is causing it. The app tracks and records your snoring, head position and breathing throughout the night. After using it for a few nights in a row, you will be able to see a trend to determine whether or not the anti-snoring mask is working for you.
You can also change the settings so that the mask will intervene in the middle of the night if you are snoring. Similar to when I punch my husband in the arm when he’s snoring, but slightly more delicate. The mask will either vibrate if your head position is causing snoring, or it will shoot out a tiny puff of air pressure if your breathing is to blame.
The sleep mask looks modern and high-tech. Upon first impression, it reminded me more of virtual reality goggles than a traditional sleep mask.
The mask is covered in a trendy heather gray and black microfiber fabric, so it’s silky soft but also lightweight with a bit of stretch. It has an extra layer of foam padding across the top and bottom of the mask so that it rests comfortably against the cheeks and forehead.
To keep it on, the mask has a wide, stretchy microfiber strap that attaches with Velcro on both sides. The very back of the strap is split to make it easier to adjust for the right fit.
My husband has a shaved head, so hair was not an issue for him, but I was worried about how the mask and Velcro would work with long hair, so I tried it myself. Thankfully the Velcro closures did not disturb my hair in any way, or make it uncomfortable to sleep. But I did find that the straps moved around quite often and slipped out of position on my head.
The part that was really different and almost a bit intimidating was the nose piece. On the inside of the mask, there is a soft, black, silicone piece that you fit your nose onto. Underneath are two “fan like” valves that remind me of something Darth Vadar would have worn.
The entire nose piece is attached by one snap on either side and can be removed and taken apart for cleaning. At first, it seemed as though it was all going to fall apart after the first night but it’s actually much more sturdy that we thought.
With the mask comes a small card with some instructions and a paperclip. The paperclip is used to initialize the mask. You only need to do this one time when you first get it. And then you need to plug it in and charge it.
I never would have thought by looking at the sleep mask that it contained the ability to “charge.” It doesn’t look bulky or electronic or as though it even contains batteries. There are no exposed wires or buttons of any kind. It actually took me a while to locate the USB port (which is slightly hidden on the bottom left side of the nose piece FYI). Once it’s plugged in, a little red light comes on, which will turn green when it’s fully charged. And that’s how you know that it does, in fact, contain some technology.
Wearing the sleep mask throughout the entire night is probably the one thing that most people will struggle to adjust to. It might be especially foreign to someone who’s never worn an eye mask, CPAP machine or another anti-snoring device to sleep.
In order to get a good feel of what it was like, I did try the mask myself for a few nights.
Both my husband and I agreed that the mask, itself, was fairly comfortable once you got it on. The silicone nose piece fit us each properly (and we have very different sized noses) and didn’t feel like it was restricting breathing. The straps didn’t dig in or itch. And the microfiber padding provided a nice cushion on the forehead.
I personally did not like the two harder plastic pieces on either side of the silicone nose piece that slightly pushed into my cheeks. They didn’t hurt but I was constantly aware that they were there, which got annoying after a while. My husband didn’t seem bothered by them.
Due to the product being brand new and the combination of fabrics used, he did complain about the smell. I suppose when something is so close to your nose, the smell is magnified. But I simply added a couple drops of essential oils to the outside of the sleep mask and problem solved (bonus – it helps induce sleep!)
We both found that the mask did tend to slip out of position throughout the night as we slept. I found it even more frustrating because, like I said, I’m a stomach sleeper, so it was near impossible for me to find a comfortable sleeping position while wearing the mask. My husband is a hardcore back sleeper (hence the snoring) but he still found that it slipped off the back of his head.
As soon as you create your account and log in, there’s a big timer that says start. In the top right, next to the icon of the sleep mask, it should show whether or not your sleep mask is connected to Bluetooth. If it’s not, you can test your mask in the settings.
In the top left of the record screen, you can change the mode that the mask operates in.
It defaults to Easy Mode, which just means the mask and app will record your sleep patterns but not apply any intervention to stop you from snoring.
By switching it to Basic Mode, the mask will vibrate slightly when your head position is causing snoring and it will emit air pressure if your breathing is causing snoring.
In Advanced Mode, you can adjust the vibration level (if you find the buzzing is waking you up) as well as change your default head angle and disable or adjust the air pressure. And finally, you can adjust the delay time to start the recording (because not everyone falls asleep in 20 minutes).
Before you hit start, you also have the option to add in any factors or remedies that may affect your snoring that night. For example, if you were drinking heavily or have a cold, or if you took some sleeping pills or applied some essential oils. These are purely for tracking purposes so when you review your results, you’ll be able to see how they affected you.
Once you wake up and hit stop on your recording, you’ll be able to review your results for the night. You can listen to the recorded audio of your snoring and see how many times the Hupnos anti-snoring mask had to buzz you to change position or apply air pressure.
Using the anti-snoring mask on a regular basis over the course of a week or more will give you information in the trends section so that you can keep track of whether your snoring has improved over time.
It’s a really cool gadget with a big claim. I believe that the vibrations and air pressure of the Hupnos sleep mask COULD subconsciously train your body to sleep in the optimal position to eliminate snoring permanently. I also think that the app’s various methods of recording and tracking your sleep and snoring patterns is a great way to improve sleep overall.
However, it would take some self-discipline and effort on the part of the wearer, as the sleep mask does not do all of the work for you.It does take some time to get used to wearing the mask and you would have to wear it consistently every night in order to see real improvements.
The constant vibrating and puffs of air pressure are also not for everyone. A lighter sleeper might find them too bothersome. Those suffering from anxiety may also find the sleep mask to be too restricting to wear, or dislike the sensation of being buzzed without any control. And stomach or side sleepers may have a hard time getting comfortable while wearing the mask.
But if you’re serious about training your body to stop snoring, and willing to put in the effort to make it work, then the Hupnos high-tech anti-snoring mask is definitely worth a try!
Moms who are sleep deprived are normally less than enthusiastic about celebrating holidays and special events.
You can make them special by getting her a gift that will help beat sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can cause physical and mental problems for mothers, whether it’s caused by a new baby, postpartum depression, anxiety, or just the normal duties of motherhood. These specially selected gift ideas for the sleep deprived mom are sure to make a difference for her.
If a mom in your life is suffering from sleep deprivation, consider one of these gift ideas to help her get a better night’s rest.
A New Mattress
Go big or go home, am I right? Nothing says sleep like a brand new comfortable mattress. But this can be a tough one to give as a gift. It’s a really personal purchase that normally requires a person to try out several different ones before buying.
But times are changing. No longer do you need to go into a showroom and lie down on several different mattresses that all feel the same. You don’t need to spend a fortune or commit to an expensive purchase that you can’t return.
Mattress manufactures have gotten smarter. They’ve created beds that conform to fit us, rather than force us to choose one among many. And instead of putting all their effort into designing an entire line of different mattresses, they’ve combined their efforts into designing one perfect mattress. And because of this – they guarantee that it will be the best mattress you’ve ever had. They’ll even refund you up to a year after your purchase if you’re not happy.
With free shipping and that kind of promise, this mattress tops my list as the #1 perfect gift for the sleep deprived mom.
If you haven’t already heard, weighted blankets are the newest all-natural cure for anxiety and insomnia.
There’s not much to them. They’re blankets filled with beads or pellets and come in a variety of different exteriors such as cotton, flannel, fleece or microfiber. The idea is that using one to sleep will embrace the body in a state of continuous, light pressure, which can stimulate the nervous system and help fight insomnia. The benefits are similar to that of a deep tissue massage.
There are tons of companies selling weighting blankets now, and you can even DIY one. But if you’re looking for gift ideas for the sleep deprived mom, then consider a weighted blanket that gives a little deeper.
Weighting Comfortsis a company that sells weighted blankets made by international refugees. So you can rest assured that when you purchase one of these weighted blankets, you are also contributing to the future and well being of others. What could be a more perfect holiday gift than that?
CBD oil is still a bit of a controversial product, mostly because of it’s association with cannabis. But CBD products from reputable companies are produced from the hemp plant, and not the marijuana plant, so it contains zero amounts of THC – which is the stuff that causes a high. For more information, check out this post from Remedy Review.
Similar to other all-natural essential oils, CBD offers a ton of benefits to those suffering from pain or anxiety. It comes in a variety of different options, from oils to edibles.
Comfortable sleepwear is a mom’s best friend… even if she’s not getting much sleep. One of the best gift ideas for the sleep deprived mom, whether she’s newly postpartum, a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, is something comfortable she can slip into at bedtime.
While this may not be true for all women, many find sleeping with pajama pants on difficult after having a baby. Whether it’s from a c-section scar, stretch marks or extra weight around the middle, our bodies change postpartum. A nightgown is much more comfortable for that reason.
One of my favorite places to shop for clothing, including sleepwear, is on Zulily. You can find pieces of great quality for a good deal and the selection is far greater than what you could find in a crowded mall.
Forget bath bombs. Moms rarely have time for a shower, never mind a bath. Instead, opt for shower steamers this year so that she can still get in all the relaxing spa-like benefits of a shower, without the time consuming restraints of a bath.
Hot showers before bed are a great way to wind down and can help ease symptoms of anxiety and insomnia for a better night’s sleep. Add in some sleep-inducing essential oils and they make a great gift or stocking stuffer.
This list of gift ideas would not be complete without some essential oils. The benefits of essential oils for sleep and relaxation are some that I can personally vouch for. A variety of essential oils is one of the top gift ideas for the sleep deprived mom.
For mothers who are sleep deprived, self care can make a huge difference in their overall mood and quality of life. Granted, it’s not always an easy thing to fit in. With the use of a diffuser, moms can benefit from the healing power of essential oils quickly and effortlessly.
The age old practice of reading in bed is still a good one. Except that now, we scroll on our phones, thinking that it has the same effect. News flash – it’s not even close!
The bright light of the screen plus the negative effects of comparing ourselves to our social media friends means even worse consequences for the already sleep deprived mother.
So buy her a book.An actual paper book with a positive and interesting topic, such as The Sleep Revolution from Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post. Not only will she be able to focus her brain on something useful, but she’ll learn all kinds of brilliant information about sleep and how important it is.
You know what suffers the most due to sleep deprivation? The eyes. The windows to our souls can be bloodshot, dry and puffy when we don’t get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can also cause headaches, migraines and sinus problems.
And how do you treat all those different problems? Heat is great for headaches and sinus problems, but cold is better for redness and puffiness.
White noise is a useful way to drown out an overactive brain. Many new mothers can’t fall asleep because they’re always listening to hear the baby cry. Or perhaps it’s the anxious or intrusive thoughts that are filling her head at night.
A white noise machine is a great tool for helping to reduce stress and drown out background noises so she get better sleep.
This Sleep Therapy Machine from HoMedics is actually a bit more than your average sound machine. It has a patent-pending deep sleep therapy program that uses a specific combination of sounds to keep you sleeping all night long.
Okay, first off, hydration… super important for everyone, especially the sleep deprived. I don’t think I even need to go into detail about drinking enough water, because we all know it’s important.
But THIS water bottle is extra special. It combines the important hydration factor with the healing power of gemstones such as amethyst and quartz. It’s said that immersing gemstones in water can actually increase their potency and charge the water with negative ions to boost serotonin.
Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t – but isn’t this the most beautiful water bottle you’ve ever seen? Of all the gift ideas for the sleep deprived mom, this is one of the most beautiful AND useful.
Tea makes a great gift for the sleep deprived mom. It’s important to choose an herbal, non-caffeinated one, but the varieties are basically endless. A tea that contains Valerian Root will help to induce sleep naturally. You can also go with the ever popular Chamomile tea.
You can find tea and mug gift sets almost everywhere, probably because they make such great gifts. But the trick to making it a special, personalized gift is to choose the perfect mug.
Our skin truly suffers when we don’t get enough sleep. And moms are infamous for not having a proper skin care routine, so a set of skin care products will be a welcome gift for the sleep deprived mom.
The TOHI starter kit comes with a muscle rub, cleanser and lotions for the face and body – but most importantly, it comes with the amazing Night’s Rest lotion. This hand and body lotion contains some of the best essential oils for promoting sleep, as well as ingredients to hydrate and moisturize the skin. It’s one step up from your average skin care routine, and it will encourage her to practice regular self care.
What sleep deprived mom wouldn’t love a spa day this winter? Make it easy on yourself and on her by getting her a SpaFinder gift card. She can choose from thousands of locations, book exactly which treatments she wants and it never, ever expires so she can procrastinate it until the kids are in college – but it will still be waiting for her…
P.S. You can buy one online and print or e-mail it so it’s the perfect last-minute gift!
Pure, undisturbed sleep is one of the best gift ideas for the sleep deprived mom any time of the year. So take the kids out for the day and just let her sleep. It’s amazing what an extra 8 hours of sleep can do to improve our moods and help us function better. For more information on the dangers of sleep deprivation for new moms, check out some of these posts.
The postpartum period is often synonymous with sleep deprivation…
But it’s usually caused by a hungry newborn. If that baby isn’t causing all kinds of sleep disturbances and mom stillisn’t sleeping, then it could be a case of postpartum anxiety insomnia. Many mothers find themselves unable to sleep due to racing thoughts, unreasonable worries, and the inability to calm their body and mind at night.
Postpartum anxiety is a common condition that can affect a mother’s life in several different ways. She may experience social anxiety and avoid leaving the house or interacting with others. Anxiety can also manifest as anger and cause postpartum rage. Often, mothers experience a combination of postpartum depression and anxiety. But sleep deprivation can exacerbate all of these symptoms and cause even worse ones. There are several ways to treat postpartum anxiety insomnia naturally and stop things from getting out of control.
Here are 15 ways to get a better night’s sleep for moms who are suffering from postpartum anxiety insomnia.
1. Create a Routine
Just like sleep training children, a bedtime routine is important for encouraging proper sleep. Going to bed at the same time each night and performing a few routine tasks will help train your brain and body to know when it’s time to go to sleep. Rewiring the brain altogether is one of the best ways to help fight off postpartum anxiety insomnia.
Keep in mind that it may take a while for your body to adjust to the routine. Depending on how bad your postpartum anxiety is, it could take months before you can regularly get a good night’s sleep. And since postpartum anxiety can be a life-long battle, you should be prepared to make your bedtime routine permanent.
Social media is a huge contributor to postpartum anxiety insomnia. Scrolling through Facebook or watching Netflix before bed will only fuel your racing brain with more needless worries and thoughts. Make a plan to unplug from technology at least 1 hour before bed. Turn off the TV and switch your phone to Do Not Disturb mode so that notifications aren’t disturbing you in the middle of the night.
3. Do Some Light Exercise
Don’t freak out – you don’t really have to exercise… I know it sounds exhausting. The last thing I want to do after taking care of kids all day is exercise. However, exercise has been known to have a ton of sleep-inducing properties. So, if you feel like working out, go for it, because it will definitely help fight off postpartum anxiety insomnia.
But if the thought of “working out” is causing you even more anxiety, then save it for the morning instead. You can still get a serotonin boost by doing something low impact. Go for a walk or run around the block. Try some relaxing yoga positions or simple stretches. Postpartum anxiety causes a lot of tension in the muscles and stretching those out before bed will help you feel more at ease.
4. Take a Hot Shower
A hot shower is a great way to calm down before bed. The steam and heat combined with the gentle massage of the water beating down will relax the muscles and help open up the lungs. A massaging shower head is a bonus but not necessary. This can be especially welcome if you’re feeling over touched at the end of the day.
Don’t feel obligated to do anything else except just stand under the water and enjoy it. A hot bath can work in the same way, if you have the time. Throw in some Epsom salts for an added boost of magnesium to help relax sore muscles, fight off depression and induce sleep.
5. Sip Some Tea
There are several herbal teas that can help fight postpartum anxiety insomnia.Chamomile and Valerian Root are the most popular bedtime teas and for good reason. Green tea, ginger tea and other blends are all great too! Experiment with different flavors and combinations to find out what works. Even some plain hot water with a slice of lemon will help you detox before bed. As long as it’s hot and caffeine-free, it will help to calm and soothe your body from the inside.
Meditation is not for everyone. But if you’re dealing with a case of postpartum anxiety insomnia, it might help to try to cleanse your brain of the millions of thoughts floating around in there.
There are actually a few different ways to meditate. You can try using a guided meditation app to help you get started. It’s also easy to practice self-guided meditation by setting a timer for a few minutes and sitting quietly as you work on eliminating all the thoughts from your brain. Meditating before bed is a way to manage your anxiety before your head hits the pillow, so that once it does – you will actually be able to sleep.
7. Invest in a Good Mattress
Sometimes it’s not the postpartum anxiety alone that is causing insomnia. A good night’s sleep begins with comfort and your mattress has a lot to do with it. But mattress shopping can be really tricky (I know this because I used to sell them for a living!) Lying down on a mattress in a showroom for a few minutes is very different than sleeping on it all night long. You can try several different ones but eventually they all start to feel the same. And then, once you get that mattress home with you – what happens if you don’t like it after a few nights – or worse, after a few months?
The key to making an important purchase such as a mattress is to look for one that will guarantee you a good night’s sleep. Unlike big box stores, mattress companies that sell their products directly will offer a better satisfaction guarantee and stand behind their product. The Nectar mattress, for example, offers a lifetime warranty, free shipping and is the only one I have seen that offers a free trial for an entire year!
Weighted blankets are all the rage right now. They have proven benefits to reduce symptoms of anxiety and help improve sleep. The best part is, they’re a simple tool that doesn’t require anything other than just cuddling up and getting comfortable.
The simple science behind a weighted blanket is that it creates a sensation of safety, similar to being hugged or held. The heavier the blanket, the more it stimulates your skin and sends messages to your brain that you are safe and protected. This allows the brain to stop worrying and rest for a while.
Consider purchasing one through Weighting Comforts. Not only do they offer a wide variety at competitive prices, but they’re also sewn by refugees living in the U.S.
9. Grow a potted plant
There are several plants that encourage a proper sleep environment. Having a potted plant on your nightstand or anywhere in your bedroom can purify the air and rid it of any toxins or negative energy. Some plants with scented flowers, such as lavender and jasmine, can actually induce sleep. This is a beautiful and easy way to encourage your mind to feel at ease enough to sleep.
Don’t feel intimidated if you don’t have much of a green thumb. Start with one plant and research it to find out how to take care of it. Many houseplants are low maintenance, so as long as you don’t completely neglect them, they will thrive. Be warned though, growing houseplants can become a very addicting hobby…
10. Start sniffing
Using scents is an easy way to transition the brain into a relaxed state.The National Sleep Foundation even suggests using scents to help you get a better night’s sleep. In order to battle a case of postpartum anxiety insomnia, you should consider everything that you are inhaling in your bedroom – from dust and allergens that could be trapped in your carpet or mattress, to the fabric softener you use on your sheets.
There are several different ways to incorporate scents to help your mind and body relax so that you can not only fall asleep… but stay asleep! Scents that are good for relaxation and inducing sleep include Lavender, Vetiver, Cedarwood, Valerian and Frankincense, but the list goes on. You can try these in an essential oil(either a roll-on or in a diffuser), a linen spray, candles or scented satchets. You can even purchase Lavender-scented fabric softener to use on your sheets!
11. Try some background noise
One of the biggest problems with postpartum anxiety insomnia is the brain being unable to stop spiraling at nighttime. Something worth trying is distracting the brain through the use of background noise, such as gentle instrumental music or white noise like rain sounds. You could purchase a sound machine, but there are also several white noise playlists on Spotify. There are even apps that you can download that have a large selection of different sounds as well as other sleep aid features.
12. Don’t be afraid of the dark
Our brains are hardwired to associate sleep with darkness. With postpartum anxiety insomnia, it’s easy to look around the room and find a hundred other things to worry or think about. Reduce the amount of outside stimulation by making your bedroom completely dark. You can install blackout blinds or wear a sleep mask. Eliminate anything that your eyes can focus on, so cover up the blinking light on the TV and turn your digital clock around. If you start to feel anxious in the darkness, remind yourself that you can turn on a light whenever you want to, and that you are in complete control.
13. Keep a bedside journal
It’s true that we often think of the most important (or completely unimportant) things while we’re lying in bed. The thought of possibly forgetting about it in the morning can cause a certain level of anxiety and disrupt our sleep.
Writing in a journal or worry workbook before bed can help to eliminate some of the extra thoughts in our heads, but often we have a brainstorm as we’re lying in bed trying to fall asleep. So keep a journal or notepad and pen beside your bed so that when these seemingly important thoughts come to mind in the middle of the night, we can write them down, go back to sleep and know they will be there in the morning.
14. Increase melatonin levels
Melatonin is a sleep-regulating hormone that is naturally produced by our bodies. For a woman with postpartum anxiety, those hormone levels could be out of balance causing the insomnia. While melatonin supplements are readily available, they run the risk of causing side effects, just as with any other drug. They could also cause problems if a mother is on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds or breastfeeding. If you plan to start a melatonin supplement for postpartum anxiety insomnia, always check with your doctor first. However, there are ways of increasing your melatonin production naturally.
A lot of it has to do with diet. Foods that are rich in magnesium can help your body produce more melatonin. Pineapples, oranges, bananas and tart cherries are also rich in natural melatonin and make great bedtime snacks.
Sleep deprivation can have a dreadful impact on a new mom’s mental health.
This is why sleep for new moms is just as important as it is for new babies. Between round the clock feedings and pain from postpartum recovery, sleep for new moms may seem impossible and often, it is. But when you consider the detrimental effects it could have on a woman’s mental health, then sacrificing other things in an effort to improve sleep for new moms is worth it.
This guest post from writer, Sarah Cummings, details some adjustments that can be made to make sure that new moms are getting the sleep they desperately need.
Sleep is a necessity and we have to get enough to function properly. This is something parents will be praying they can achieve when the newborn arrives on the scene!
New parents are more than likely going to lose sleep with the change in sleep patterns and disturbances in the night, etc. However, with the right structure and routines in place, you can ensure that as a new mom you’re enjoying the best sleep you can in both the short-term and in the long-run.
How much sleep is enough?
The National Sleep Foundation states that newborn babies should sleep between 12 and 18 hours each day, whereas the average adult needs to accumulate between seven and nine hours each evening.
This might seem like an unattainable number as a new parent, but this is the recommended daily amount to function normally, so it’s best to get the good measures in place as soon as you can so that you can all enjoy sound slumber!
You can simply start by following these top tips on the best bedtime habits that will help you and baby:
Re-associate yourself with sleep and know its worth
Remember the days when you used to wake up feeling fresh as a daisy? Yeah, well, those days might have changed a little now that you have a little one in the house, but that’s not to say that you can’t get close to it with the right ideas in place.
You know when you’ve had a good sleep because everything you do seem like much less effort and you have the energy to deal with what life throws at you.
It’s important to bear in mind that there’s not a healthy way of replacing sleep; there’s only so manychamomile teas you can have before bed! The benefits of sleep are there for all to see, and one of your first jobs should be to remove the thought process that cutting out anything other than what you need to be healthy is acceptable.
So, while you’re teaching your baby the good habits of restful sleep, you should be endorsing and reiterating this with yourself too. Ensure that you practice what you preach and you will see the upside to being well-rested. It might be easier said than done, but practice makes perfect.
Create a bedtime routine to look forward to
Okay so, bedtime is a really good way for both you and your baby to start to take things down a few notches. After the hectic day you’ve been having, now start thinking about the things you need to do to send the right signals to the brain that sleep is on the horizon.
A good thing to do to help you relax and have baby unwind too is to set aside some time in which you relax together in a tranquil environment. Young children certainly need this type of thing in their lives and you’ll be able to indulge too.
You know when your little one is tired andready for bed, and this might not have been your bedtime a few years ago, but it might as well be now, so, go with it because you’re going to be waking up earlier than before anyway. Sleep is vital, so get what you can; you never know, your precious one might even give you those hallowed eight hours!
Sleep when your baby sleeps
As we mentioned, if you take the gift your child gives you to sleep, grab it with both hands. Any experienced parent will confirm with you that the key to fending off postpartum sleep deprivation is to get some shut-eye when your baby dozes off.
If your baby takes a nap, put everything else on hold and take a well-earned nap too. there’s nothing that can’t wait, apart from a waking baby that needs attention, of course.
Lack of sleep can bring on changes in your mood, and new moms are often at risk of what’s known as baby blues or the more serious postpartum depression. If you are feeling some of these symptoms, we advise you to seek the advice of your doctor so that you can deal with the problem before it gets any worse.
Hello! My name is Sarah Cummings. I’ve been involved in writing informative and helpful guides for the last five years now. Originally, my passion to help others was the overriding factor to become a writer, but now I feel like I’m learning more everyday too!
My love of exercise has always been a big part of how I lead my life, and I find it helps with lots of things, including sleep. I’m an advocator of promoting sleep and how it can be the difference between living a good, fulfilled life and an unhappy one.
I have had the good fortune to have a long and spiritual background in yoga too, and I feel as though this pairs perfectly with my passion for healthy eating and leading an active lifestyle.
I enjoy learning and coming up with new ways to develop my writing so that I can help others to grow and learn too. When I have a spare morning, you can catch me gazing at sunrises from different places on the planet!
If there’s one thing that many parents dread doing, it’s having to deal with the stress of sleep training.
Sleep training is such an ambiguous term – what exactly is “sleep training” anyway? It’s basically any method you use to help your child learn to go to sleep on their own (note that I wrote “on their own” and not “alone”). It’s most often associated with babies, but the reality is – the stress of sleep training never truly ends…
You start by sleep training a newborn, and then you have to do it again after that baby starts teething. Then you move your toddler out of a crib and have to help them sleep in a big kid bed. Perhaps you move and have to teach your child to sleep in a new bedroom. Or you go on vacation, and when you get back, your child has forgotten how to sleep on their own and you have to start all over again!
Sleep training is not a one-time thing you need to teach your child. Unlike teaching them how to write their name or ride a bike – sleep training is something you will have to do over and over again, in several different ways and for several different reasons. So there’s no point in trying to avoid it.
There are, however, ways and reasons to avoid the stress of sleep training. The number one reason being the effect it has on a mother’s mental health.
To Sleep Train… Or Not To Sleep Train?
That is the question but there actually isn’t one right answer. Many parents sleep train without even realizing that’s what they’re doing. (Hint: simply following a bedtime routine is sleep training!) Sleep is a natural part of life, and sleep training means helping baby to do that. The obvious goal of sleep training is to have baby sleep through the night. But sometimes, the stress of sleep training is just too much to consider doing.
Pros of Sleep Training:
Reduces the negative effects of sleep deprivation (for both mom and baby)
Creates a predictable routine
Helps baby adjust to life outside of the womb
Develops good sleep habits early
Cons of Sleep Training:
It’s hard to get right
Requires a lot of patience and persistence
Increases mom’s stress level
Limits the amount of time mom and baby spend together
A strict routine can make mom feel depressed and imprisoned but no routine at all can be overwhelming.
Having baby sleep in their own bed can be good for a mom who needs space but sleeping with baby can create a stronger bond.
Reduce The Anxiety
Just the idea of sleep training is enough to cause anxiety for moms. Many moms worry about how to do it properly and fear the thought of their babies crying for hours on end. There’s really no way to know in advance how a baby will handle sleep training. You will also find a lot of conflicting information and advice about sleep training. Reading about how excessive crying can cause brain damage will definitely cause a high level of stress for a mom who is considering sleep training their baby.
One of the best ways to avoid the stress of sleep training is to change your perspective on it. Having a positive attitude towards sleep training will help you to be more successful and reduce stress on yourself and baby.
Concentrate on the five senses. Make it a point to incorporate a calming activity for each of the senses into the bedtime routine. It’s a great way to send signals to the brain that it’s time to go to sleep. Calming each of the senses will help baby to relax, which will make sleep training so much easier. It will also help to reduce mom’s anxiety and stress level, making her feel more confident at bedtime.
If the idea of sleep training is causing a lot of anxiety, then it might be a good idea to speak to an online therapist before beginning. They can help you to change your thought process and will be available for you to speak to if you feel overly stressed once you’ve started. Having a plan in place to handle your stress is a great way to manage any mental health problems that might arise.
Another way to eliminate the stress of sleep training is to make sure that you are using the right method. Taking advice from other parents is a guaranteed way to use the wrong method. All babies are different and using tricks and tips that worked wonders for your friend’s baby, or even for one of your previous children, doesn’t mean it will work this time. Using a method that isn’t the right fit for your child will surely end in failure, which can lead to stress, anxiety and depression.
Find the Right Sleep Training Method
When I use the term sleep training, the brain automatically creates an image of a screaming baby in their crib and a sobbing mother on the other side of the door.
Sleep training has come a long way, and that is no longer the norm. Training does not have to be synonymous with crying. Since crying is baby’s primary way of communicating – sleep training is about learning to understand their cries, as opposed to ignoring them.
Sleep training methods can range from gentle to more extreme and which one to use will depend on the personalities of each baby and mom. It’s important to use a method and level of intensity that you’re comfortable with.
Some common sleep training methods include (but are not limited to):
Fading Method(Intensity Level: Low)
This is a very calm and gradual method of sleep training. Baby can be rocked or nursed to sleep or whatever else they’re used to. Slowly, over a few days or even weeks, the length of time they are rocked or nursed is reduced. Eventually, baby becomes less dependent on it.
Chair Method(Intensity Level: Low)
This is another calm method of sleep training that involves keeping a chair beside baby’s crib and staying in the room until they fall asleep, but without holding, rocking or talking to them. Each night, the chair is moved further away from baby’s crib, until it no longer needs to be in the room at all.
Pick Up, Put Down Method(Intensity Level: Low)
This method is one where the parent is not in the room with the baby. It involves putting baby into the crib, soothing them and then leaving the room. If baby cries, then you would go into the room, pick them up and soothe them, and then put them back down again and walk out. This would continue on and on as many times as needed until baby is asleep for the night.
Sometimes crying is unavoidable when it comes to sleep training. The controlled crying method includes putting baby to sleep in their crib while they are drowsy and then checking on them at regular intervals if they start to cry. In this more intense method, the intervals between checks start around 2 minutes and then 5 and then 10 and gradually get longer and longer.
Cry it Out/Extinction/Ferber Method(Intensity Level: High)
This is a very intense method of sleep training, but the claims are that it is the “quickest” way to sleep train a baby. This method involves putting baby in their crib while they are drowsy and then leaving the room but NOT returning to check on them for any reason. Parents often watch or listen on a baby monitor to make sure everything is alright. It sounds cruel and harsh, and is often a last resort.
If you’re unsure of which method to use, then you could consider getting a personalized sleep consultation from sites like The Baby Sleep Site. After answering an interview about your routine, habits and family life, a professional will provide you with a plan based on your specific answers. This is something I have personally done, and would definitely recommend for avoiding the stress of sleep training. You can read about my experience here.
The Danger of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation is the norm among parents of young kids and there’s almost no avoiding it. The quest for more sleep is a main reason why parents choose to start sleep training. But despite being a parental rite of passage, sleep deprivation is known for causing all kinds of mental and physical health challenges.
Excessive sleep deprivation can also cause fits of rage, depression, anxiety, compulsive behavior, intrusive thoughts and even hallucinations. It’s been linked to bigger health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. For a mother in the postpartum period, sleep deprivation can exacerbate symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety. It makes it harder to deal with all the physical and emotional changes happening in her body.
Putting off sleep training or avoiding doing it isn’t a great way to avoid the stress. Eventually, some type of bedtime routine will need to be established and so the earlier good sleep habits can be taught, the easier it will be. Another worry about delayed sleep training is the concern for mom’s mental health. Sleep deprivation can cause all kinds of mental and physical problems, especially for a postpartum mom, who’s hormones are in a delicate state. Allowing mom and baby to get a good night’s rest is the best plan and it all begins with avoiding the stress of sleep training.