Busy Mum? I don't know one that isn't. Maybe you are a new mum with a baby that seems to need feeding all night or are a working mum who is doing an amazing job juggling everything. Maybe you just have no choice but to burn the candle at both ends, as my mum used to say. Grown ups need their sleep just as much as the kids but are often under more time pressure - so how best to get the best sleep when we get the chance?
Perhaps you are even like me and running around to various medical appointments and are kept up at night because 'children with autism sometimes just don't need as much sleep'. Having a child with autism who doesn't sleep well has meant I've spent a lot of time learning about sleep and talking to sleep specialists.
We've even been to an over night sleep clinic and study at Evelina's children's hospital. After talking to me at length about David's sleep the consultant nearly reduced me to tears by asking how much sleep I was getting. "If you aren't getting enough sleep either, then, it's harder for you to function and be the parent you want to be for David."
Adults should be getting between seven and nine hours sleep to function at their best. Most people in the UK get at least an hours less sleep than they should. We are busy people and sometimes eight hours just isn't possible, sometimes it's not even nearly possible. When it is - I want to make sure it's the best sleep I can get. So how to make those hours really count? Here's my top three tips!
1. Be ready for your bed
"Shall we get ready for bed?"
Honestly it can be an hour after I've said this before the lights go out. Ok, we all need to brush our teeth and get undressed but before I've spent 10 minutes looking for the iPads and 20 minutes by the dryer making sure the children's clothes are dry enough. Whenever you can, try to get tasks out of the way before you are getting ready for bed.
2. Minimise worry
Ok, so now I've found the iPads I think I can go to bed. Did I lock the car, where did I put my keys? How is my son going to cope with his therapy tomorrow? Did I tell my husband about parents evening - has he fallen asleep or should I wake him? I must print out that agenda!
Everyone has their 'list'. But if like me you know you have to get up again shortly, this needs to be short. Where I can I create routines that deal with my questions so I don't need to worry about them. I try and look at what's coming up in the week ahead earlier in the day so I deal with worries before bedtime.
If I have something going around in my head that I'm worried about forgetting then I have a pad and pen by my bed so I can write it down and forget about it again until morning.
3. Create a calm and ready sleeping environment
Even if you aren't worried about something, help yourself by telling your body it's time to sleep too. I bang on about this a lot with my kids but it's just the same for us grown ups. Do what works for you. Perhaps a relaxing bath, or read a few pages of a book if you have the time. Lavender scents in the bathroom or bedroom can help some people relax. A warm drink (decaf) before bed. It can help to keep your room dark at night - use low lighting and try not to have blue light before bed (you can set many tablets and phones to 'night mode' to take out the blue light on a timer). Calming neutral colours can also help your mind to relax.
We can't all go out and buy a new mattress and bedding all the time but you can think about how you wash your sheets and arrange the bed. Some people prefer soothing sheets by using a scented fabric softener and others need to use natural washing liquids like Surcare if they have sensitive skin. Think about how you arrange your bed and pillows and keep your spine in line at night. If I'm staying away from home I know I usually need to put a pillow between my knees as the beds are usually harder than I'm used to.
What things do you do to help you get a good night's sleep?
I'm delighted to collaborate with Kalms Night to run a absolutely fantastic giveaway
for their #wakeupready sleep goodie pack. It will close on April 8th - to remind you to get 8 hours sleep. The brilliant pack contains:
- A Lumie Bodyclock that helps regulate the light in your room for your sleep and waking
- Baylis and Harding French Lavender bubble bath
- Whittards Dreamtime hot chocolate
- Moleskine mini notebook(s)
We received a sample of the #wakeupready sleep goodie pack for the purposes of running and writing the competition. As always all thoughts and opinions in this post are independent and my own.
Information from Kalms: Kalms Night and Kalms Night One-A-Night are traditional herbal medicinal products used for the temporary relief of sleep disturbances, exclusively based on long standing use as a traditional herbal remedy - Contains Valerian Root. Always read the leaflet. To offer assurance that Kalms Night meets the Traditional Herbal Registration (THR) requirements, the Certification Mark can be found on the product packaging.
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