5 Tips For Better Sleep Now


It’s midnight and you’re wide awake. You’ve been lying in bed for over an hour and sleep hasn’t taken you yet. Your body is tired, you’re yawning, but you can’t seem to turn off your brain. As you toss and turn, your to-dos, deadlines, and anxieties keep you from drifting off to dreamland. Meanwhile, your partner is snoring next to you. You start feeling even more stressed that you’re still awake. You take a deep breath and hope sleep comes soon.

If this sounds far too familiar, you’re not alone. Two-thirds of women are not getting the 7–9 hours of quality sleep they need thanks to hormones, looming deadlines, endless caregiver responsibilities, and a pandemic sprinkled in for extra fun. According to SleepFoundation.org, every night of poor sleep causes daytime sleepiness; trouble with memory and concentration; and impaired performance at work, home, or school. Chronic sleep deprivation (think the newborn baby stage of life) takes an even greater toll. But you know this because you’re in the middle of it. So am I.

lady sleeping in a bed (sleep tips for moms)
Image by Claudio_Scott from Pixabay

One of the most important things I have learned about sleep is that it doesn’t start when your head hits the pillow. It’s all about the things you do leading up to that moment. Here are some tips to help you get to dreamland and stay there.

Tip #1 :: Create a wind-down routine.

About 30 minutes before closing your eyes for the night, start a wind-down routine. This routine is different for everyone, but its purpose is the same: to signal your body that it’s time to start easing into rest mode. My wind-down routine includes getting into my jammies, washing my face, brushing my teeth, and reading my current book for 15–20 minutes. Your wind-down routine can be any combination of nightly activities: taking a warm bath, drinking a cup of herbal tea, light stretches, meditation, etc. No matter what activities you chose, be sure they are calming and start around the same time each evening.

Tip #2 :: Turn off your screens.

Phone screens, computer screens, and TVs emit blue light. According to Harvard Health, blue light interferes with your body’s natural sleep cycle and suppresses the production of one of the sleep hormones called melatonin. You’re supposed to shut off all screens two to three hours before bed. Easier said than done. If you’re anything like me and my husband, evenings are when we catch up on all our shows! So, we invested in quality blue-light-blocking glasses. (My husband actually had his prescription glasses coated with blue light reflecting tech. Mine are from eyebobs, which has lots of cute styles for women and men.) If you want to commit to turning off screens altogether, a great, relaxing alternative is to read a few chapters nightly before turning in. (Maybe pick up one of these?)

Tip #3 :: Be consistent.

As with everything, consistency is key. Get up at the same time each day (weekends too!), go to bed at the same time each day (weekends too!), and be sure to practice your wind-down routine each night.

Tip #4 :: Avoid alcohol & caffeine.

Being a mom means caffeine is as necessary as breathing. But if you’re drinking caffeine in the afternoon, you may be sabotaging your sleep. Instead of reaching for caffeine in the afternoon, I try to grab a glass of water or herbal tea. It gives me a burst of energy and hydration. On that same note, I generally pass on a glass of wine at night. It may seem like it helps you sleep, but alcohol is a stimulant and will actually cause sleep disruptions.

Tip #5 :: Move your body.

Did you know that exercising boosts the effect of melatonin? According to a study found in the journal SLEEP, postmenopausal women who exercised for about three-and-a-half hours per week had an easier time falling asleep than women who exercised less often. Movement can be as simple as taking a walk, practicing yoga, or going for a run. Just be sure to watch the timing of your workout—too close to bedtime can be stimulating. My prime workout time is between 6:30 and 7:30am.

Sleep is impacted by so many factors. Hopefully, these tips can help you start to identify which factors you should focus on to best improve your sleeping habits. As a final tip, if you haven’t fallen asleep within 30-45 minutes of laying down, get out of bed and go to a different room to read, listen to calming music, or meditate. Then try again. If you’ve been struggling with sleep for a while, and it’s not due to kids waking you up at all hours, be sure to talk with your doctor. You deserve quality sleep.

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Kirsten was born and raised in Chicago, IL and is married her high school sweetheart, Ryan. Her family relocated to Dallas, TX when their first daughter Kaelyn (October 2012) was 18 months. After their second daughter Alanna was born (October 2014), Kirsten became a Certified Group Fitness Instructor and taught bootcamp-style classes to local moms with strolled-aged kiddos. Their third daughter Nora (April 2017) was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 18 months. While struggling to manage her daughter’s T1D, Kirsten went down the rabbit-hole of nutrition and became a Certified Health Coach. She opened her private coaching practice in April of 2020 where she currently provides health and nutrition support to local mompreneurs. You can find her playing with her girls outside, trying a new workout, or on Instagram @nourishbykirsten.


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