Family health

How Can Moms Get Better Sleep?

Why getting your beauty rest sometimes feels like an impossible dream

By Astrid Van Den Broek
How Can Moms Get Better Sleep?

Remember the sleepless nights of your child’s infancy, how you mastered sleeping with one ear open? That on-call feeling can persist long after your little chicks have flown the coop. “The brain gets used to waking up at certain hours and you get into a situation biologically where you’re trained to waken at certain times,” says William Kohler of the Florida Sleep Institute.

Throw in hormone fluctuations, possible sleep-related conditions like restless leg syndrome, night-waking children or even genetics, and getting enough sleep can become a nightmare, says Helen Driver, president of the Canadian Sleep Society.

Read on for how to take back the night.

Practise good sleep hygiene

Put your phone and computer away at least an hour before bedtime. “Avoid nicotine, alcohol and caffeine before bed, and sleep in a dark, quiet, cool room,” says Kohler. The ideal sleeping temperature? About 20° C.

No napping

Avoid daytime naps and give yourself 30 minutes to unwind before bed.

Rethink that drink

Sipping Shiraz to relax? Stop at one glass since alcohol can cause shallower sleep.

Try herbal remedies and aromas

Aromatherapists have long believed lavender can get you to dreamland. Chamomile tea may also help you nod off.

How Can Moms Get Better Sleep?

Think location


Got a snorer sidled up next to you? Break the bad sleep cycle by moving to another bed until you get the snoring corrected.

Break a sweat

Kohler recommends 30 minutes of vigorous exercise about five hours before bedtime to help you fall, and stay, asleep.

Cool it!

“Sleep is really facilitated by a drop in body temperature,” says Elliott Lee, an Ottawa sleep specialist. Try a hot bath before bed to raise your temperature, followed by a cool beverage to drop it.

Mommy yourself

Have a light bedtime snack, stick to a nightly routine and try a white noise machine if you have noisy neighbours.

Skip the stimulants

Just say no to stimulating habits, such as 3 p.m. coffee, page-turner novels and scary movies. Don’t worry that sex might be too exciting, though: It generally leaves you feeling relaxed.

Say uncle


Sleep not happening? la“If you can’t get to sleep in 15 minutes, get out of bed, go to another room, do something boring,” advises Kohler. “Then, head back to the bedroom when you’re tired.”

This article was originally published on Aug 09, 2010

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