Momsomnia Is for Real

One of the most frus­trat­ing truths of #mom­life: Some nights, even when your kids sleep ( ), you don’t. Use our flow­chart to find out why, then try our tai­lored tips and fa­vorite gear to catch some zzz’s.

Parents (USA) - - Contents - By LES­LIE GOLD­MAN

Find out why you can’t seem to sleep even when your kid is zonked out—and how you can get out of that rut.

AS ONE MOM SAYS: “It’s nice to be out of the baby wakeup stage, but older kids mean ac­tiv­i­ties and bud­gets, birth­day par­ties and hol­i­days, not to men­tion the usual ups and downs of work, mar­riage, and home re­pairs. Be­cause I’m so busy dur­ing the day, it seems like all of this comes flood­ing to the sur­face the minute I lie down in bed.” YOUR PLAN: Give your­self one or two 30- to 60-minute pe­ri­ods of zone-out time be­fore hit­ting the sack. That means no work, no lunch prep, no clean­ing up toys, and yes bath, yes re­lax­ing book, yes sex. Most women need a solid seven to eight hours of sleep, so pin­point your wake-up time and count back­ward, tack­ing on 20 min­utes to doze off.

Still can’t quiet your mind? Get out of bed, turn on a dim light, and do some­thing peace­ful: Read, knit, or lis­ten to a med­i­ta­tion app like Calm ($60 for a year of un­lim­ited ac­cess; calm.com) or Bud­dhify ($5; App Store, $3; Google Play). You can also try a calm­ing es­sen­tial oil like Aura Ca­cia Ylang Ylang Body Oil ($8 for 4 ounces; au­ra­ca­cia .com) dabbed on your pulse points or Noc­ti­lessence Sleep Patches ($20 for ten patches; noc­ti­lessence.com), which were cre­ated by a fe­male sci­en­tist and use time-re­lease tech­nol­ogy to keep you in­hal­ing sooth­ing laven­der all night long. New re­search also sug­gests that tak­ing five min­utes at night to jot down your to-do list for the next day can help you fall asleep faster. The more

spe­cific you are (“Buy ba­nanas, cheese, turkey” ver­sus “Gro­cery store”), the sooner you’ll conk out.

If you can’t stand the snor­ing...

AS ONE MOM SAYS: “I feel like I’m sleep­ing with a bear. I le­git freak out if we’re trav­el­ing and I for­get my earplugs. Some­times I just end up sleep­ing on the couch.” YOUR PLAN: Down­load the Noisli app ($2; App Store and Google Play) and mask the foghorn blasts em­a­nat­ing from your part­ner’s face with “pink noise”—a soft and sooth­ing au­di­tory ex­pe­ri­ence that’s more wa­ter­fall than static. (Think of it as white noise’s cool mil­len­nial cousin.) Or go old school and turn on a fan, or bor­row your baby’s white-noise ma­chine. Both will dampen the con­trast be­tween your room’s back­ground din and the racket com­ing from your part­ner’s schnoz—and that will up your odds of sleep­ing through the night.

If the room is too hot...

AS ONE MOM SAYS: “When I was preg­nant, I had night sweats all the time. Now, more than a year post­par­tum, I still can’t sleep un­der any­thing but a sheet with­out wak­ing up drenched!”

YOUR PLAN: The ideal tem­per­a­ture for adult rest is be­tween 60 and 67 de­grees. Keep­ing the room cool is es­pe­cially im­por­tant if you’re breast­feed­ing or you take an­tide­pres­sants, as both can cause night sweats. If you can’t blast the AC, give your­self an arc­tic edge with tem­per­a­ture-reg­u­lat­ing pj’s and bed­ding. Lu­somé’s line of pretty sleep­wear ($38 and up; lu­some.com), which in­cludes ev­ery­thing from ethe­real camisoles to menswearin­spired night­shirts, em­ploys sweat-wick­ing tech­nol­ogy that pulls heat and mois­ture from your skin.

For linens and pil­lows, look for words like “cool­ing,” “breath­able,” and “mois­turewick­ing.” We like Cool-jams’ Cool­ing Rayon Bam­boo Sheet Set ($169 for queen size; cool-jams.com) as well as Sim­mons Beau­tyrest’s Black Ice Mem­ory Foam Pil­low ($130; mat­tress­firm.com).

If you’re over­load­ing on screen time ...

AS ONE MOM SAYS: “After our daugh­ter goes down, I’ll flick the TV on and start scrolling so­cial me­dia and mommy blogs. I don’t get to use my phone much at work, so that’s how I spend my ‘me time.’ The next thing I know, I’m watch­ing Net­flix, it’s past mid­night, and I need to wake up at 5:15 a.m.”

YOUR PLAN: The blue light shin­ing from your phone, tablet, lap­top, and TV tricks your brain into think­ing it’s day­time, mak­ing it harder to fall or stay asleep. Set lim­its: Two hours be­fore bed­time, turn off lap­tops and com­put­ers, and use a blue-light fil­ter on your phone or tablet. (iphones have a Night Shift set­ting, and Sam­sung An­droids have a Blue Light Fil­ter.) One to two hours be­fore bed, say good night to all screens, and switch to a book or a mag­a­zine. Re­search has found that read­ing in a warm and safe en­vi­ron­ment can help you reach a more re­laxed phys­i­cal and men­tal state. Don’t bring your phone to bed (hello, Pin­ter­est rab­bit hole!) and charge ev­ery­thing in an­other room so you can recharge.

If you’re mak­ing bad food choices...

AS ONE MOM SAYS: “The more ex­hausted I am, or the trick­ier bed­time was, the more I’m, like, ‘I need choco­late!’ Then I’ll en­joy a glass of wine, maybe two, while watch­ing TV.” YOUR PLAN: Sweets mess with your blood sugar, leav­ing you too wired to sleep. Al­co­hol helps you drift off faster, but you won’t en­ter the deep, restora­tive stages of REM as eas­ily. Both con­trib­ute to overnight wak­ings. In­stead, reach for sleep-friendly snacks that con­tain tryp­to­phan (an amino acid that your brain con­verts into re­lax­ing chem­i­cals like mela­tonin and sero­tonin), whole-grain carbs (which en­hance sero­tonin pro­duc­tion), and calm­ing min­er­als like mag­ne­sium and cal­cium. Or, put sim­ply: Eat half a ba­nana and a hand­ful of al­monds, or a small bowl of oat­meal with milk. Still crav­ing dessert? Make hot co­coa with milk, and add a hand­ful of whole-grain ce­real, or swirl nut but­ter and choco­late chips into vanilla Greek yo­gurt.

As for bev­er­ages, cut your­self off after one glass of wine or beer—two, max—and try to stop drink­ing one to two hours be­fore bed­time. That will give your body enough time to me­tab­o­lize what you had, so it’s less likely to af­fect your doz­ing. OUR EX­PERTS:

Steve Orma, Psy.d., a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist in San Fran­cisco and au­thor of Stop Wor­ry­ing and Go to Sleep.

Cathy Gold­stein, M.D., a neu­rol­o­gist at the Sleep Dis­or­ders Cen­ter at the Univer­sity of Michi­gan in Ann Ar­bor. Les­lie Bonci, R.D.N., owner of Ac­tive Eat­ing Ad­vice, a nu­tri­tion con­sult­ing com­pany in Pitts­burgh, and a sports-nu­tri­tion con­sul­tant to the WNBA.

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