Why can’t I sleep? A look at common parent sleep habits
Recently I posted a question on Facebook asking parents what they would tell their pre-parent selves if they could send a message back in time. The overwhelming majority had something to say about sleep. We could easily wrap the messages up in a letter that goes something like this –
Hey Pre-Parent Self!
I hope you are doing well but I know you are because you got at least 8 hours of solid sleep last night and woke this morning to make yourself coffee because you wanted to and not because coffee is survival as it will be in few more years. Whatever you have planned today, make sure to schedule in a nap or enjoy an early bedtime. When you wake up, well, go back to sleep and enjoy some more. If you wake from that nap and text your friend to meet you for lunch and she can’t because it is in the middle of her 4 month old’s nap time, go get her lunch and deliver it to her doorstep. I know you don’t understand nap schedules yet but I promise, you will!
Your future Mommy self who LOVES her babies but also misses sleep sometimes.
Once our newborn arrives it is expected that the first few months will involve some missed sleep but as they get older and start to sleep more (If this hasn’t happened yet, let’s start now) parent sleep habits often continue to change. The timeline we expect is
- Yay, I’m pregnant!
- Why can I not find a comfortable position?
- I have to pee again!
- Welcome to the world, bundle of joy!
- Please stay asleep! Please stay asleep!
- Baby sleeps great = Mommy is sleeping great!
But why is it that sometimes baby is sleeping great and parents are still having trouble sleeping? Below are common parent behaviors that can affect sleep –
Staying up late to enjoy some quiet time
After a busy day of rocking this parenting thing, it is so easy to lose track of time and push our bedtime later to squeeze in some quiet time or couple time after our little one has gone to bed. I will admit I am guilty of this. This quiet time is important for some parents but is directly connected to less overnight sleep. Balance is key! Listen to your body and make sure you are getting the sleep you need. Maybe you can fit in some “me time” or a date night next weekend if you plan ahead! You deserve it!
Electronics too close to bed
Getting lost in our phones or watching the next episode of Chicago Fire without interruption is something that is much easier to do when our kids are in bed for the night. In this age of social media, electronics often enter our bedrooms and before we know it we’ve lost an hour of sleep reading our favorite bloggers new release. The light produced from our electronics can disrupt our production of melatonin when used for too long or too close to bedtime. Setting a bedtime for your electronics can help your brain relax before bed and help your body reach a deeper level of restorative sleep as well.
Feeling anxious around sleep time
Some parents feel anxious around sleep time. This can be in relation to their child’s sleep behavior wondering if they will wake overnight or constantly checking the baby monitor to make sure they are ok. It can also be related to other things like mom-guilt, parenting judgment, our to do list for the next day or the feeling of overwhelm that parenting can bring. Anxiety is real and it is hard to push aside when we are trying to sleep. It has the power to stop us from falling asleep or cause us to wake between sleep cycles. One thing that can be very helpful in relaxing our brains and bodies at sleep time is a WEIGHTED BLANKET. Weighted blankets, when the proper weight for your body, have been shown to calm our bodies, assist in falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer. I absolutely LOVE mine and highly recommend checking this one out: 60×80 Weighted Blanket. According to many studies, the blanket should be 7% to 12% of your body weight to reach max assistance.
Setting up our sleep environment
Some common steps when putting our little ones to bed are making sure they are cozy, turning on some white noise, closing their blinds and turning off the lights. Many parents take time ensuring their little sleep environment is supportive to sleep. Do we take the same time in setting up our own sleep environment? Consider some of these things when getting ready for sleep –
*Add some darkening shades to your room. These are my fav: Blackout Curtains
*Choose a consistent sound and keep that all night (fan, sound machine, diffusor or silence if you prefer)
*Turn your electronics off
*Treat yourself to a new pillow or cozy pajamas
*Use of essential oils
Taking care of ourselves is crucial in continuing to be the best parents we can be and sleep is a big part of our health. You’re doing a great job and your little one is blessed to have you!
***Disclaimer – This blog contains affiliate links. I do make a profit off of purchased products without raising the price to you at all! I carefully chose items before promoting them and only promote items I would use myself.