Spinning out? Stop, take a deep breath and try one of our ideas for extra energy (no caffeine required)
1 Try a triple shot (of positivity)
It’s great advice to sleep when your baby sleeps (when you can manage it), but life sometimes gets in the way of that nap you’re craving. Try this emotional pick-me-up until you can fall into bed, says parenting coach Judy Reith.
three changes while you have the chance (not too many to become an effort,
but enough to make a difference) and
it will re-energise you. Think “Change your outfit, change the track, change the air.”’
So, once you’ve got Rihanna playing, the windows open and a splatter-free T-shirt on, you’ll get your mojo back.
2 Limit the blue light
If you’re glued to your smartphone while breastfeeding or addicted to Breaking Bad before bed, it may be time to change your habits. The blue light that shines out of gadgets can suppress your body’s ability to secrete the sleep hormone melatonin.
Throw in a text conversation during night feeds and it’s no surprise you can’t nod off the minute you get the chance.
So, limit screen time and listen to the radio during the odd night feed. By cutting back on a few sessions, you should sleep better and feel energised in the morning.
3 Eat your water
Dehydration is one of the biggest energy sappers there is. According to the European Food Safety Authority, breastfeeding women need around 700ml more water a day than usual. Go for water-rich foods, such as soups, stews, yoghurts, fruits and vegetables, to top up your total intake and you’ll do it without thinking.
‘Drinking regularly is still important, though,’ says Dr Rob Hicks. ‘Water is a hugely underestimated energy booster, so have a glass every hour.’ Get into the habit of keeping bottles dotted about the house, particularly within arm’s reach of anywhere you’re likely to feed.
‘After a few days, you’ll find you feel more revitalised,’ says Rob.
4 Be bored
Never stifle a yawn (unless you’re
trying to look interested in your
friend’s 97th mama selfie).
you yawn, you take a large amount
of air into your lungs, which, in turn, sends a wave of cool blood to the
brain,’ says Gordon Gallup, a researcher at University at Albany, State University
of New York.
So, there is a point to
it: yawning drives away drowsiness
by waking up your brain.
5 Pick protein over carbs
When your baby is yelling for attention, it can be tempting to start inhaling KitKats. But step away from the biscuit drawer and go for a protein hit instead whenever you feel a hunger pang.
Endurance athletes are taught to eat and drink whenever they’re hungry or thirsty, otherwise the body can go into starvation mode, which slows metabolism and makes you tired. Combining protein and fibre is a winner, because protein gives you energy and fibre helps make that energy last.
Post-Christmas wholegrain turkey sandwich anyone? Also try eggs, pistachios, wasabi peas or Bounce Natural Energy Balls (£1.49, hollandandbarrett. com) for an on-the-go boost.
6 Chip away at sleep debt
Once upon a time, you couldn’t function without eight hours straight. In fact, you were put out if you had to get up in the night for a pee.
To survive motherhood, you need to become master of the cat nap
To survive motherhood, you need to become master of the cat nap. So, when your mum drops round or your partner says he’ll take over for a bit, don’t protest – head bed-wards.
‘It might not sound like much, but even a 10 minute rest is worth having. Napping for less than 20 minutes improves alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with night-time sleep,’ says Mandy Gurney, from the Millpond Sleep Clinic.
7 Romance yourself
Pick yourself up a bunch of red flowers when you’re doing the weekly shop –
Looking at something scarlet has been shown to make your muscles move faster and work harder, giving you a shot of energy, according to University of Rochester research. If you’re flagging, wear something red
and you’ll regularly reap the mood-boosting benefits.
8 Take five minutes to move
Fitting in an hour on the cross trainer might seem as likely as Ryan Gosling ringing your doorbell, but do-able five minute bursts of exercise throughout the day will make a difference.
‘If you fit in small pockets of exercise when you can, this will regularly release endorphins to give you a lift all day long,’ says fitness consultant Sarah Maxwell.
Try walking up and down the stairs while your baby is asleep or do some squats in front of Homes Under The Hammer.
9 Reboot your bedtime regime
It’s the quality of your sleep, not just
the quantity, that will ensure you wake
up energised. That means it’s not just your baby who needs a bedtime routine
– you do, too.
Firstly, do nothing in
your bedroom but sleep and have sex
(if you work or watch TV in there, you’re training your body to be alert in that space). Secondly, practise good sleep hygiene. Medical research group The Mayo Clinic say it’s important to do the same things each night to tell your body it’s time to wind down.
Give yourself 10 minutes to do quick chores for the next day, such as sterilising bottles, another 10 for getting ready, and a final 10 for relaxation – try a few simple stretches before bed. You could also dim the lights in your room an hour before sleep to transition from light to darkness.
10 Make yourself laugh
Nothing works faster to bring your
mind and body back into balance
than a good belly laugh. It gives
the heart a workout, supplies the
lungs with oxygen, stimulates the
brain, activates the immune system, triggers the release of endorphins
(the body’s natural feel-good chemicals) and suppresses stress hormones –
So, phone your best friend,
watch that rom-com you’ve been meaning to catch up on, or take
a tip from laughter yoga and just
fake it. Your body can’t distinguish between genuine and put-on laughter,
so you’ll end up feeling happier
even if you just pretend.