Once you've put them to bed you might be so exhausted that all you want to do is mindlessly scroll social media or watch TV but there are a few simple things you can do (and even products you can buy) to make getting to sleep that bit easier.
Check out this list of 13 sleep tips and advice to help you drift off to the land of nod more easily...
(Until then, you can always fake it until you make it with some glowy make-up to ensure you look like you've had a solid eight hours - even when you haven't!)
13 tips to help you get to sleep more easily:
We know this might be really difficult if you're pregnant or if you are a new mum. But if possible, try and get yourself into a routine. If you get up and go to sleep at roughly the same time every night, it is really beneficial to your internal body clock/circadian rhythm. This routine helps your body know when it should be feeling alert and when it should be relaxed and tired. If you can work is so you get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep then that is ideal as that is the optimal amount of time for an adult.
Get into a routine
As caffeine is a stimulant, it is best to stop drinking it after lunchtime so it doesn't affect your sleep. Some people can drink coffee and tea all day and night long but if you're particularly sensitive it could leave you feeling tired and irritable. Try peppermint tea or a special night time blend if you're still craving an evening hot drink.
Try not to have caffeine after lunchtime
In order to get to sleep more easily, if possible it is a good idea to stop using your phone or computer by 8 or 9pm (if you can get off the TV and read a book, even better but the light in TV is not as disruptive). The blue light in screens can interfere with our circadian rhythm. Bluelight is helpful in the day as it can boost attention, reaction times and mood which conversely makes it very disruptive at night. Too much light exposure at night has even been linked to some diseases like cancer or heart disease although this has still not been fully researched.
Limit screen time
The most common nighttime breathing technique is called the 4-7-8. You inhale through your nose for four seconds, hold the breath for seven seconds and then exhale through the mouth slowly for 8 seconds. This simple but powerful breathing method promotes calmness and relaxation. The breathing pattern relaxes the nervous system and it can be practised anytime you feel anxious or stressed, not just when you're in bed trying to sleep.
Try this breathing technique
Getting better sleep isn't all about the prep you do in the evening. Just like blue light in phones, natural light can influence your body’s internal clock, which regulates sleep and wakefulness. It is good to expose yourself to as much natural light as possible. Getting out first thing in the morning to go for a walk or to pop to the shops will help you feel alert at the right time and making sure you're in complete darkness at night will help induce that lovely sleepy feeling.
Expose yourself to natural light
Your body temperature changes when you are asleep. Your overall core temperature drops but the temperature of your extremities (feet and hands) increases. It is best to sleep in a relatively cool environment, as too much warmth can you leave you feeling overheated and irritable. A temperature between 15-23°C might help you sleep, although obviously everyone is different!
Lower the room temperature
Some people struggle to sleep because their mind is still wide awake thinking about everything from that day. This can make you feel anxious and stressed which will disturb sleep. If you write a journal focusing on the days positives and what you plan to do the next day it can help focus your thoughts and get things off your mind. To keep a gratitude journal simply write three things you are grateful for that day, things that made you happy or something nice to did for something (Top tip: buy a really beautiful notebook to encourage you to do this little task every day). This is also a common mindfulness technique that promotes relaxation, gratitude and happiness while downgrading stress.
Write a journal
This is a great activity to keep you occupied that won't involve disruptive light (so avoid Kindles if you can). Reading is entertaining if you struggle to sleep but the simple act can be enough to tire you out and help you drift off sooner. There is a reason why we read little ones a book before bed as it has been shown to promote longer sleep!
Read a book
Ok ok, this one sounds a bit silly and doesn't make a lot of sense. However, we all know that if you lie there desperately trying to fall asleep you just end up feeling even more awake and frustrated. Try 'paradoxical intention', a technique where you force yourself to stay awake. This means the stress and anxiety you put into falling asleep won't bother you and you are more likely to relax and fall asleep. Don't knock it until you've tried it!
Try to stay awake
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