Mother’s Day Sleep Tip #3: Create A “Mom Cave”

Mother's Day Sleep Tip #3: Create A "Mom Cave"

In my last post, I suggested going to bed early and throwing caution (and a sit down dinner) to the winds. Carving out 2-3 nights a week to go to bed early can get you an extra 60 hours (or more) of night sleep each month.

But where you retreat to is just as important as when. Which is why I encourage my exhausted clients to create a “mom cave” to sleep in. You would think that after weeks or months of no sleep, you would have no trouble falling face down on your pillow at seven or eight o’clock in the evening.

Often the opposite is true. Moms who are “overtired” have much higher levels of two stimulating hormones in their system called adrenaline and cortisol. This makes falling asleep and staying asleep overnight more difficult for sleep deprived women.

Here are what I consider mom cave necessities:
Black out shades: They cut out light during the summer evenings and encourages the production of melatonin, a sleep inducing hormone that rises in our bloodstream when it is dark.

Lavendar oil: For many, the scent of lavender is relaxing. Choose lavender oil over incents or candles, which can cause a fire.

A comfortable bed: Many of my clients create their mom cave from offices or guest bedrooms. If you plan on sleeping on an air-matress, make sure it is a good one. A twin mattress or a firm futon can work. But loveseats, gliders and fold out cots just won’t do.

Old fashioned, printed reading material. Mom caves are a tech free zone. Leave computers, tablets, cell phones, kindles, nooks etc. out in the real world. If you need an alarm, buy/use one that plugs into the wall. Magazines, books (no parenting books!) cheap novels, cook books…anything that takes your mind off your children and daily responsibilities are great. People magazine was like a sleep elixir when I had my second baby. Choose your poison.

Dress comfortably: At least take a minute to take off your shoes and bra. Anything more is gravy.

Water/Snacks: (I wish this said Wine/Chocolate). Alcohol, chocolate, caffeinated sodas foods with high fat content or overly spiced can interfere with a good night’s sleep. Water, herbal tea, nuts, fruit, chicken or turkey sandwiches, granola bars, raisins etc. Basically anything that is boring, is just fine.

Earplugs/sound machine/heavy pillows: I have grouped these three items together because they, when used together, combat the biggest threat to a mother’s sleep: SOUND.

Moms of young children are evolutionarily wired to hear their baby/children’s cries—anytime and anywhere. For thousands of years, moms were solely responsible for their offspring’s survival and care. It’s no accident, than, that as soon as your baby makes a whimper you are wide awake.

With this in mind, use ear plugs a white sound machine and/or heavy pillows to block sounds from the rest of the house. Unplug phones, fax machines, even alarm systems that might go off and wake you. (smoke alarms should never be disabled).

Remember your mom cave doesn’t have to be pretty or feng shui. Keep it simple, dark, relaxing and most importantly, as soundproof as possible. Don’t get frustrated if the first couple nights finds you pacing around like a caged lion. Don’t fall into the trap of “well, I am awake, I might as well get up and feed the baby/help my spouse.” Fight that urge and remind yourself that exhausted mom’s, like their babies, need practice and time to become great sleepers.

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