As a mom, crappy sleep is part of the job description. Whether it is nighttime breastfeeding, pregnancy discomfort, a kid with a nightmare, waking up in a cold sweat thinking of all the thing you need to accomplish tomorrow, waiting up for your teenager to get home...there is a lot of disrupted sleep and a lot of tossing and turning. I call this Momsomnia.
Some of your momsomnia is biological. Women have evolved to be lighter sleepers. This makes sense. The alert mommy is the one who has the kiddos more likely to survive. Women already sleep worse than men, but motherhood adds another layer to this. And, sorry ladies, it gets even worse with age.
So, what do you do with yourself when you are tossing and turning at 3am?
Bottom line is you have some nighttime hours to kill and they could be spent doing something better than scrolling social media. Turning your momsomnia into a win-win makes is much better for your health in the long run and might make these tough years more bearable.
Here are 6 ways you can nighttime self-care. Some of them take pre-planning but, Mama, you have a little “me time” on your hands. That’s precious commodity in mommyland, so don’t waste it...
- Meditate. Have an meditation app pulled up on your phone and ready to go. If you struggle to find quiet time to meditate during the day, this is perfect for you. You might fall back asleep or might gain a little zen. Either way, you win.
- Read a book. Don’t turn on your phone. Screen time stimulates your brain to wakefulness. Pick something inspirational or life-giving that will feed your soul.
- Get some creative work done. (Heck, when do you think I write these blogs?) The middle of the night can be a great time for creativity.
- Journal. This is particularly great for calming those racing thoughts that keep you up.
- Do work you would have done tomorrow. Instead of stressing about the work you’ll be too tired for tomorrow, take a quick moment to reorganize your schedule. If you are awake and alert now, do the work and schedule a midmorning nap tomorrow.
- Yoga. Some poses are designed for bringing peace and calm.
Some momsomnia is inevitable. But, if your sleeplessness is hurting your ability to function, I recommend getting some treatment. I use CBT-I with my clients and it is very effective.
Self-care as a mom takes a lot of flexibility and creativity. Your schedule is going to be out of whack. What worked you before children might not work now. And you can't control your schedule as well as you could before. Turning these stressful moments into wins will help you not just survive motherhood, but thrive.