Let’s have a real talk about getting sleep—how many hours a night do you actually get on a regular basis? Kids are in bed by 7:30 PM. After a rotation of water, hugs, and just one more story, they are finally falling asleep by 8:30 PM. Once you have cleaned up the aftermath of the day’s activities, you’re able to finally sit down around 10 PM. Oh wait, you still need to get lunches packed—make that 10:30 PM. Because you can’t seem to keep your eyes open, you crawl into bed by 11 PM, fingers crossed you had the energy to brush your teeth.
On a good night, your kids only wake you up one time. Then the day starts all over again bright and early around 6 in the morning. Time for showers, breakfast, and getting ready for school and work! Is this how your sleep cycles tend to go? If so, you’re averaging about six hours of sleep. Experts, including the National Sleep Foundation, recommend seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
Getting sleep, unfortunately, drops down in the priority list for most parents—coming out of a desire to put their kids and other responsibilities at the top. Here are some suggestions to help busy moms (and dads) make getting sleep a realistic goal without feeling as if they are shirking their parental duties.
Understand the Damages to Your Health
Even though it may only feel like you need an extra cup of coffee (or two, or three), there is actually much more happening to your body as you endure perpetual sleep deprivation. Your risk for chronic diseases are dramatically increased, including such conditions as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and lowered immune systems. There are even anxiety and mental illnesses that are associated with a lack of proper sleep. Just like a flight attendant advises you to use an oxygen mask on a plane first before your child, so you must prioritize your health in order to take care of your family.
Don’t Take On the Whole World
In the words of a favorite princess, sometimes we just need to “Let it go!” When it comes to being a parent, things that used to be a priority sometimes have to fall lower on the list. Laundry might have to go unfolded, dishes might have to wait until the morning, and the grass might get a little too tall. Dinners might not be gourmet, and your makeup might not be perfect. Those days will happen when you’re lucky just to make it through getting the kids fed and dressed. Do not let sleep be what is sacrificed for something that can wait until the next day. Keep priorities simple and make getting sleep a top one.
Put the Kids to Work
Don’t think that you’re the only one who has to keep the house running. You may always do it best, but delegate out responsibilities to your kids based on their appropriate ages. Preschoolers can learn to pick up their toys, and as they get older, the scope grows along with them. Sweeping, dusting, putting away their clothes—let your children learn responsibility and help you out so that your bedtime can come more quickly!
Sleep When Kids Are Sleeping
Advice that many new moms get is to always grab a few minutes of sleep when the baby is sleeping. Continue to carry out this wisdom even as the child gets older. Take advantage of the quiet and allow yourself to rest your body. Plan your bedtime as close to your child’s as possible. You can enjoy moments together in the evening cleaning up dinner, picking out clothes for the next day, and getting ready for bed. Creating sleep schedules for yourself and your kids is oftentimes necessary to develop healthy sleeping habits.
When you evaluate the importance of getting sleep in your life, consider a coffee pot. Before you can brew and pour yourself out to everyone in your life, first you must have the necessary water filled in your reservoir. Without the sleep your body requires, you will not be able to function and be the person everyone needs you to be!
Many parents find that online learning is a beneficial option for gaining more control over daily schedules and priorities. If you think that online learning may be a good solution for your family, visit K12.com for more information on virtual public and private schools.
Would any veteran moms like to share your wisdom on getting sleep? Please comment below!