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6 Common Sleeping Mistakes Moms Should Watch Out For

A good night’s rest is without a doubt crucial for maintaining good health, especially for busy moms who have a lot on their plate. Even missing a few hours of sleep can cause a lack of alertness, impaired intellectual ability, moodiness, and accidents. These are things you want to avoid, especially when your family depends on you.

If you continue to function without getting enough sleep, you may experience more severe and lasting health issues, from diabetes and heart ailments to reduced immunity and depression. You may also become prone to suffering from premature skin wrinkles and other signs of skin aging.

Though the latter won’t necessarily cause you any physical harm, the former effects should be enough to raise concern. After all, you’ll want to be fit and healthy so that you can spend as much quality time as possible with your spouse and your children. At the same time, you wouldn’t want them to worry about you, either.

Considering all of the negative consequences of chronic sleep deprivation, it is unfortunate that, based on statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 30 percent of American adults do not get enough sleep regularly.

If you are one of the many moms who struggle with sleep issues, you may want to assess your nighttime routine. Perhaps you are unknowingly practicing unhealthy habits that prevent you from sleeping well.

Want to know if you’re guilty of committing these habits? Read on. This piece will discuss the most common sleeping mistakes that moms make, and what you can do to correct them:

Not Wearing the Right Clothes for Sleeping

What you wear at night is one of the most critical elements to help you fall asleep faster and for longer. That said, going to bed in tight-fitting and uncomfortable clothes or not changing into proper nightwear can keep you from getting a good night’s rest.

Remember: what you wear affects your mood and behavior. If you don’t bother to change into pajamas or other types of nightwear, your mind will most likely continue thinking you’re supposed to still be awake.

That said, putting on bedtime attire that makes you feel relaxed, cool, and comfy is an effective way to condition your mind into thinking it’s time to sleep. That’s why you should go beyond style and design when choosing and buying sleepwear.

Can’t decide what to get? Opt for outfits that look and feel good when you wear them. For example, you may like items made of cotton, as they are soft, breathable, and don’t irritate the skin. You may also want to invest in nightwear with temperature regulation features. Such nightwear can ensure thermal comfort regardless of the season.

Not Taking Enough Time to Relax

As you may have experienced by now, there is no switch that you can flip to make you fall asleep instantaneously. To induce sleep, your brain wave activity, heart rate, breathing, and other bodily functions need to slow down, and all of this takes time.

That said, you should adopt a sleeping routine that encourages your body to relax. That way, you can fall asleep much faster and remain asleep for much longer. For instance, you can unwind by taking a warm bath, listening to calming music, or reading a good book at least half an hour before bedtime. You can also transform your bedroom to be more sleep-friendly by limiting noise and distractions, installing block-out curtains, and decluttering, among others.

Trying to Make Up for Lost Sleep During Weekends

Perhaps you have a habit of sleeping very late on weekdays, thinking that you can always make up for it by sleeping in during the weekends. If so, you’re causing your body more harm than you realize. If you sleep poorly multiple times a week, there’s nothing that you can do to make up for the lost hours.

That being said, it can be hard for moms to stick to a strict schedule, especially for those who are still taking care of a newborn. However, it’s worth putting in the effort, as you can’t exactly “store” sleep for later.

That’s right: sleeping several hours during Saturdays and Sundays does not give you “sleep funds” that you can use for the coming week. If you continue to get insufficient sleep for an extended period, you will be at risk of suffering from different physical and mental health issues.

Keep in mind that humans are creatures of habit. So, instead of sleeping and waking up at different hours, you should try sticking to a regular bedtime schedule, even on weekends. As you go to bed and wake up at the same time day after day, you’ll be conditioning your body to a distinct pattern of behavior. Over time, you’ll start to automatically feel sleepy when it’s close to your bedtime, and you can wake up without trouble. Indeed, maintaining a regular sleep schedule is one of the most helpful habits you can practice to get sufficient sleep and improve your overall health.

Drinking Caffeinated Beverages in the Evening

You probably know that caffeine helps you stay awake, but you may not be aware of the reason behind it. When you consume caffeinated drinks, the caffeine is readily absorbed by your stomach and small intestines and then distributed to the different parts of your body, including the brain. While inside the brain, caffeine blocks the buildup of adenosine, a chemical that promotes sleep. That’s why you feel alert and awake after drinking a cup of coffee or other caffeinated beverages.

It’s worth noting that caffeine’s stimulatory effects can last for several hours. One study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that even caffeine consumed six hours before bed has disruptive effects on sleep. If you don’t want to struggle to fall asleep, the same study recommends refraining from substantial caffeine intake for at least six hours before bedtime.

Working Out Close to Bedtime

Although regular exercise is essential to keeping your body fit and healthy, exercising before bed can impact your sleep. As you may know, intense physical activity makes you more energetic. How can you get some shut-eye if you’re brimming with energy?

You may not realize it, but there’s also a direct link between body temperature and sleep. Your core body temperature increases as you go about your day and starts dropping when it’s time for you to sleep. The cooling of your body temperature makes you feel relaxed and sleepy. However, working out

increases your body temperature, causing you to feel awake. This is why exercising close to bedtime could be counterproductive to getting some zzz’s.

If you usually squeeze an evening workout into your schedule and have trouble sleeping, you should try a different approach. You can exercise early in the morning, as this will help you feel more energized and alert throughout the day. In case you’re not available during the day, try working out at least two hours before it’s time for you to go to bed. This will give your brain enough time to wind down.

Bringing Electronics to Bed

Watching television and using cellphones, tablets, and electronics before going to bed is one of the top sleeping mistakes committed by many moms.

The digital screens of these devices emit blue light, which is similar to the light produced by the sun. Using such devices affects your circadian rhythm or internal body clock because the blue light tricks your brain into believing that it’s still daytime. As a result, your body stops releasing melatonin, the sleep hormone that is released a couple of hours before bedtime and helps to make you feel calm and sleepy.

Because darkness triggers the release of melatonin, you should avoid looking at bright screens at least two hours before going to bed. If you need only minimal light at night, try using dim red lights in your bedroom, as they’re less likely to curb the release of melatonin and affect the body’s internal clock. Better yet, wear an eye mask to block out artificial light completely.

Without a doubt, getting enough sleep at night can contribute significantly to your health and overall well-being, ensuring that you can still attend to your tasks as a responsible mom. So, do everything you can to avoid committing the unhealthy sleep habits mentioned. By doing so, you shouldn’t have as much trouble falling asleep at night and getting the rest that you need. Also, make an effort to adopt better routines that will help you sleep well. Most importantly, listen to your body and find the approaches that work best for you.

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