Mom Naptime: A Necessity
You’ve heard it said, “Sleep when the baby sleeps,” but you can’t, you have things to do! Napping isn’t actually a thing new moms do, right? Right.
Women have taken on everything from dominating a career to raising a family, many even doing it all as a solo parent. Even if you aren’t juggling the entire world, you are still juggling your entire world. It is overwhelming on the best days.
No matter where you spend your weekdays – at an office or a playground – you understand the meaning of exhaustion. Sleep deprivation can feel like torture throughout the early years of parenthood.
A minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night is needed to maintain a healthy, balanced physical and emotional state of living. Moms everywhere survive on a whole lot less sleep, though, and it has become a glorified right of passage. The ‘up all night’ reality of early parenthood can’t be altered, but the mentality that a mother can thrive without sleep can be.
Scratch that – it must be.
There is a huge shift happening throughout our society, and we are in the midst of family transitions. How children are being raised has changed. Traditional roles have been relabeled. We are moving away from the thoughts of, “The grass is always greener on the other side,” and, “Keeping up with the Joneses.” There is an extreme focus on self-happiness and self-care. While the pendulum is widely swinging, it will find a balance, and as it does, mothers everywhere should find theirs as well.
The extremes will settle, but the true self-care must stay a priority. At the foundation of it all is sleep.
Moms Need a Nap
Newborns should wake every few hours.
Infants should be fed and soothed back to sleep whenever needed.
Toddlers should be snuggled throughout the night.
This equates to restless hours of tossing, turning, and nonbeneficial sleep for (typically) Mom. It’s to be expected and is completely normal. However, the missed sleep accumulates and eventually can trigger a domino effect on life. Not only does it cause a bad mood, lower the metabolism and impact overall health, but it can decrease milk supply, alertness and reaction time, while increasing the probability of postpartum depression, insomnia, anxiety, divorce (or strain on relationships), weight struggles, and brain fog.
To combat these risks, moms everywhere need to rest. They need to clock out and take a break. They need a nap.
Napping for 15-30 minutes each day can stimulate the brain, speed metabolism, and improve happiness. Even on days where hours of sleep are missed, a nap will help with your attitude.
How to Nap
It seems funny to think that napping can be done wrong, but the science shows there are ways to nap properly to increase the benefits. As a mom any nap will help – rest assured, but if you can, try to do the following:
- Nap for 30 minutes or under for an instant energy boost.
- Nap for 40-90 minutes for an energy boost that will last throughout the day (but expect to feel groggy and tired for about 30 minutes after waking).
- Meditate to clear your mind and push away any worry.
- Exercise (a simple walk outside) for 30 minutes a day.
- Get sunshine (vitamin D) daily.
- Form an enjoyable bedtime routine for yourself (not just your baby) that you can stick with daily.
- Say no to others to protect your naptime.
- Schedule your nap into your afternoon.
- Create a family bed. You and your baby will sleep longer stretches together.
- Ensure your sleep environment is peaceful, dark, calm, cool, and welcoming – even during the afternoon.
- Ask for help if you need someone to watch the baby so you can rest.
Remember that good sleep boosts the brain’s ability to form lasting memories. It grants the body the rest needed to repair cells and fight viruses. You deserve to enjoy these days and not sleepwalk through them. Go, take a nap.