“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book” -Irish Proverb.
Indeed, sleeping is not only a necessity but also a form of self-love and healing. Although everyone knows how to sleep and would enjoy the idea of sleeping, not everyone feels like they have the luxury to do so because of the limited hours in a day. Additionally, many things keep us awake at night – may it be taking care of a crying baby, catching up on our favorite TV shows, or scrolling through social media. When we’re asleep, it’s like we’re doing nothing, so it feels like a “waste of time.”
With this article, we hope to show you that sleep is very important and definitely not a waste of time. If we get enough of it, we enjoy its many benefits. However, if we deprive ourselves of it, many consequences may result, especially for mothers who need all the sleep they can get to be healthy and strong. We also include tips for you so that you can improve your sleep.
The benefits of sleeping for the prescribed 8 hours are better cognitive & memory power, healthier heart, more positive moods, better weight control, stronger immune system, more alertness, lower stress levels, and lower risk of postpartum depression.
Better Cognitive & Memory Power
To ensure children get the best care and receive all their needs, those who care for the children must know much about how to do so, memorize what’s needed (e.g. medicines to take, amount of milk, etc.), and use their creativity to maximize the care they can provide. Having a good amount of sleep boosts our memory and creativity.
When we sleep, we are resting and give our body a break from many processes that allow us to achieve daytime activities. Our blood pressure decreases during slumber. This gives all our body organs a reduced demand. The risk of heart disease increases when we do not have enough sleep. Additionally, a good night’s sleep prevents us from unhealthy habits that can also impact the health of our hearts.
More Positive Moods
Have you noticed that you’re more cranky, exhausted, and unenthusiastic when you don’t have enough sleep? You’re not alone! Indeed, when we don’t sleep well, our moods are affected, which impacts our relationships with others and how well we can perform various tasks.
Stronger Immune System
When we go about our community, the risk of getting sick is always there: may it be a sick person who sneezes in the grocery or us consuming food or water that is actually dirty. Fortunately, we have an immune system that is equipped to fight pathogens. By sleeping well, we are armored with a stronger immune system that can optimally combat these infections.
When taking care of a child, anything can happen. A baby might accidentally drop her bowl or find something hazardous to play with. A kid might trip over tangled wires or overhear bad words on TV. During these scenarios, you need to be alert. When we are sleepy, we lack alertness and wakefulness to respond quickly.
Better Weight Control
Pregnancy truly has a great impact on weight fluctuations. For many mothers, the goal is to return to their pre-pregnancy weight or achieve a healthy weight. This is a good goal because many research studies have shown a correlation between unsatisfactory weight and many health issues. We can avoid binging on snacks through sleep and improve our gut health and metabolism.
Lower Stress Levels
Taking care of one child is already stressful. It is a much bigger struggle when we consider other things such as work, household responsibilities, family and friend relationships, and others. We are given a better chance to surpass these stressful events when we have enough sleep because it allows us better clarity and patience.
Lower Risk of Postpartum Depression
Research has shown a close link between depression and sleep problems. Specialists agree that poor sleep is a risk factor for depression. Postpartum depression is common among many moms and worsens when mothers do not have enough sleep.
For many of us, we want to sleep well but unfortunately have difficulty doing so, whether it be in getting the prescribed amount of sleep hours or hardships in falling asleep. No worries, as in this article, we will also give you recommendations that can help improve your sleep.
Have a well-balanced diet
Indeed, you are what you eat! Make sure that you eat healthy and nutritious food, and steer away from food or beverages that are very sugary, alcoholic, and/or caffeine-loaded, especially hours before bedtime, such as soda drinks, sponge cakes, and iced coffee.
Maintain a regular sleeping schedule
By doing so, you cause your body to adapt to this pattern and allow natural circadian rhythms to do their thing. Consistency is key.
Minimize screen time before heading to bed
You should stop using devices or watching TV 30 minutes before sleeping. Instead, you can opt to read a book, scan an old photo album, pray or meditate.
Plot sleeping times with those you live with
It’s good to sit down to talk to your housemates, whether your spouse, older children, siblings, or parents, and introduce the idea of taking turns responding to the baby’s needs during the night. Even though society expects you to care for your baby the most, you don’t have to do this alone. It’s okay to seek help, and that doesn’t make you any less of a good mother.
Perhaps for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, you can be the one to accommodate the baby, while your spouse will take his turn on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. The older children or your parents or siblings, if they live with you, can play their part on Saturdays, so they also have the opportunity to help out.
Make your living space one you can fall asleep in
If you have difficulty sleeping, maybe you should check your surrounding environment. Is the room at the right temperature (i.e. do you have heaters or blankets to keep you comfortably warm or electric fans or air conditioning to keep you cool?)? Is the room dark enough? Do you have night lights that make you feel safer sleeping? Is the quietness of your room eerie? If so, there are many options online for calming instrumental music or ambient noise.
Sleep is important, especially for mothers who need all they can get to have the energy, motivation, and joy to raise their children while still enjoying life and balancing responsibilities. Through sleep, we are giving ourselves well-deserved self-care. By taking care of ourselves, we are empowered to care for others.