How to Sleep Your To-Do List Away: Part II
4 Steps for Sleeping More and Being More Productive
Now that it’s clear why sleep is so important, here’s how to get more sleep to be more productive.
For moms with babies and toddlers who still don’t sleep through the night (especially during those endless teething months!), I advise that you just do your best to sleep when you can. Squeeze in power naps when the kids are napping and keep your daily routine simple so you’re not too hard on yourself!
For those of us who are past those pre-K years, the culprit isn’t usually our kids’ sleep schedule, but #allofthethings that need to get done for them, for you, and for the household in general!
Try these 4 steps to get a handle on your sleep and boost your productivity.
1. Set a Realistic Nighttime Routine
I’m really emphasizing realistic here because in today’s crazy busy world, especially as working moms, it’s difficult to have a consistent routine. Instead of telling yourself to be in bed at 9 PM every night, give yourself a flexible time range that you can stick to—for example, try to get to bed sometime between 9 and 10 PM every night.
Creating a nighttime routine for yourself is more than just sticking to a bedtime, though. Establishing certain habits before heading to bed can help train your body that it’s time to sleep. It’s also a great opportunity to cross a few more items off your to-do list and maybe create a fresh to-do list for the next day.
Before heading to bed, make your morning simpler by getting some tasks out of the way now. Pack the kids’ lunches the night before and lay out your outfit for the next day. Through it all, start to wind down mentally so that you can fall asleep easier.
The more prepared you are for the next day, the more productive you’ll be with your time!
2. Pay Attention to What You Consume Before Bed
After a long, hard day of work and mommy responsibilities, you may be tempted to have a glass—or 3—of wine once the kids are asleep. I know I am!
Contrary to popular belief, alcohol can actually cause sleep disturbances. While one glass likely won’t do much damage, drinking more than a couple glasses of liquor before heading to bed can cause disruptions to your sleep later in the night, leaving you feeling sleepy the next day.
Smokers should also avoid nicotine before bed as they can go through withdrawals while asleep, resulting in interrupted sleep.
3. Avoid Screens
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t watch your favorite TV series before bed, just don’t start watching it too late! Give yourself a few minutes of time after you’ve turned the TV off to unwind before heading to bed—this will make it easier to fall asleep.
And, as tempting as it is, don’t break out your smartphone to catch up on social media once you’re in bed. The backlight can suppress the chemical in your body—melatonin—that tells you it’s time to sleep.
Plus, if you like to read before bed, try to read an actual paper book or magazine instead of your phone or tablet (for the same reason).
4. Exercise—But Not Right Before Bed
Exercise improves your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep longer. It also helps increase your REM sleep cycle, the deepest, most rejuvenating part of sleep. Without it, you wouldn’t wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day’s tasks.
But, since exercise gets your blood pumping, it also raises your internal temperature and increases adrenaline—all of which can make it hard to fall asleep. So try to get your exercise in long before it’s time for bed.
Most Importantly, Make Sleep a Priority!
Sleep and productivity are directly linked. There’s so much more we can all do to improve our sleep, but the key is that you should make sleep a priority—just like eating, drinking, and staying active. Sleeping more will prepare you for tackling your busy day and clearing off your to-do list efficiently.
If you get enough sleep to function at your best, you’ll be well on your way to being a productive, successful, happy mom.