Decreased Memory/Loss of Knowledge Retention
Inability to Lose Weight/Increased Risk of Obesity
Decreased Collagen Production (Beauty Sleep, Anyone?)
Slow Reaction Time/Increased Accidents
Loss of Coordination
Are these things looking familiar to anyone out there? Maybe those with newborns, teething infants, sick babies, those with kids transitioning to toddler beds, kids with night terrors, or kids sharing rooms. I'm sure there are a million different scenarios but there is one thing we all have in common... we need more sleep! This is National Sleep Week and us parents need some reminding that the luxurious concept of dreaming applies to us, too!
According to the sleep authorities, these are the numbers:
Infants 16 Hours /Day
Toddlers 12 Hours /Day
Preschoolers 11 Hours /Day
Schoolers 9 - 10 hours /day
Adolescents 8 – 9 hours /day
Adults 6 – 8 hours /day
Are you meeting your quota?
If not, here are some strategies for getting more sleep:
Sometimes getting more sleep means adapting.
For me, that meant co-sleeping with my second child. It was something I didn't think I would do but it ended up that way so that I could get more sleep. There are some excellent products out there that make co-sleeping safer than ever. Check out the Dockatot, it might just change your life! If co-sleeping really freaks you out though I definitely recommend Nuna's Sena Mini Playard. It's a miniature portable crib that opens and closes similar to the 4Moms Breeze. However, the Sena Mini is nice and compact, has an extra sturdy mattress, AND you can get a waterproof sheet for easy cleanup if needed. The whole key with this though is because it is so small you should be able to sidle it right up next to your bed, so you can even keep a hand on baby if needed without compromising any safety.
Also, invest in some products that can help make you more comfortable. The Luna Lullaby Lil Something nursing pillow is perfect for those positions you are laying in while cuddling and feeding your baby in bed (no more kinked neck in the morning, thankyouverymuch).
Give yourself a bedtime (for me it's 10:30 p.m.)
The better rhythm we are in, the better our bodies will be at releasing those hormones that make us drowsy and allow us to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.
Take a hot bath, drink some chamomile tea or do some bedtime yoga.
The important piece here is having a regular routine. Just like with our kids, the bedtime routine helps our bodies and minds wind down and gets those sleep hormones flowing. If it has been a particularly stressful day, instead of eating that bowlful of ice cream (sugar will keep you up) treat yo'self to a bath bomb and some soothing tunes.
Turn off electronics half an hour before lights out.
Read a book with actual pages. The lights from the electronics send signals to the brain that it is not time for bed yet.
Put kids on a sleep schedule.
The better your kids are sleeping, the better you will sleep. For parents of breastfeeding newborns, this is a particularly trying time. Work together. Here is a strategy for you: Mom feeds baby and then pumps for 20 minutes to fill a bottle (p.s. Medela double breast pumps are AMAZING). Mom goes to sleep and Dad takes the first night shift feeding two to three hours later. Mom takes the next shift. Mom gets a block of time to sleep and then Dad gets a block of time. This requires some discipline but I assure you, it works. I did it with my first child and it meant a world of difference, and Dad loved bonding with the baby! If your spouse is not on board with this arrangement, just read to him the possible side effects of sleep deprivation listed above (with emphasis on the second one ;) ) and you'll have him at hello (zombies don't make great moms... or wives).
The Lullaby Trust is a website with helpful points about making sure that if you are co-sleeping, you are doing it in the safest way possible, which is the most important thing.