Only 2% of moms

said they felt well-rested when they re­turned to work af­ter ma­ter­nity leave.

Working Mother - - Sleep -


An­drea ul­tra­sen­si­tive to night­time noises years later. Any­thing would rouse her—the fur­nace click­ing on, her cat jump­ing on the bed, birds chirp­ing.

The so­lu­tion: Dart­mouth-Hitch­cock Hos­pi­tal’s “Live Well” pro­gram. An­drea kept a log for two weeks, writ­ing down when she dozed and awoke. Af­ter re­view­ing the log, an em­ployer-pro­vided sleep coach sug­gested changes: go­ing to bed at 10 p.m., not 9; avoid­ing look­ing at clocks when she woke up; and get­ting out of bed when she couldn’t sleep. Also, no cof­fee af­ter 1 p.m.

The re­sult: “I lost the anx­i­ety I had when I wasn’t sleep­ing, and be­gan ac­cept­ing the ebb and flow of good nights and not-so-great nights,” she says. She usu­ally sleeps well now—and has be­come less grouchy at work and at home. On the nights she wakes up, she heads to the fam­ily room. “It’s hard, but when I do it, I get back to sleep more quickly.”

Her ad­vice: “I even tell my sis­ters to stop watch­ing the clock. The minute you do, you set off a stream of thoughts that makes it hard to sleep: ‘Look at the time, I have to get up in two hours, how am I go­ing to get through the day?’” she says. She turns the alarm clock away from her at bed­time; if she goes to the bath­room or an­other room, she doesn’t peek at clocks along the way.

The ex­pert’s take: You’ll need to re­train your body to as­so­ciate your bed with sleep in­stead of anx­i­ety. So yes, stash that clock and go to an­other room if you toss and turn for more than 20 min­utes—the av­er­age amount of time it takes to drift off, says Dr. Con­sens. Read with the light on be­hind you un­til you’re sleepy. Don’t watch TV or look at your phone; the di­rect light keeps you awake.

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