BY NERISSA BENTLEY
You know the feeling. Your eyes feel like grit and the blessed relief you think you’ll find by closing your eyes just for a second is replaced by a burning behind your eyelids. Your brain is as soggy as this morning’s cereal that’s still sitting in the bowl, and you haven’t had a creative thought in, what weeks? Your hair hasn’t been brushed properly in days, let alone washed, and you can’t remember if the yoga pants you’re wearing came from the clean laundry basket, or the dirty clothes pile.
Even though you desperately want to stop the world and get off for just an hour, you continue to plod along, somehow managing to ensure your beautiful bubba is being taken care of. And at the end of the day, you head to bed and count up how many hours it will be, until you have to do it all again.
MUM TIREDNESS EXISTS
Despite well-meaning people warning you that having a baby would equal less sleep, you never believed that tiredness could run so deep. Pulling all-nighters in your younger days didn’t take its toll like this, and you never thought that donning the PJs and pulling the doona over your head, would be your number one fantasy.
Unfortunately, mum tiredness is a thing. A recent survey by the Australian Institute of Family Studies found that 40% of women with pre-school aged children said they were often tired, worn out, or exhausted. Can you imagine if they interviewed mothers of newborns?
WHY WE'RE TIRED
Obviously, lack of sleep — particularly quality sleep — is a major factor in why we’re so darn exhausted. But there may be a few other contributing factors that may surprise you. These include:
Poor diet — because eating a handful of crackers for lunch (or nothing at all), is so much easier than making a healthy sandwich.
Lack of exercise — who has time to exercise? And if we did scrape together a spare half-hour, who’s got the energy?
Carrying extra weight — yes, I know this is caused by poor diet and lack of exercise, but… we’re tired!
Poor immune system — being permanently exhausted causes us to become run-down, which makes us more tired! ARGH!
Stress and anxiety — stress is a big drainer of energy, and as a mum there’s lots to be stressed about such as running a household, juggling parenting duties, worrying about finances and for some, combining all of this with paid work. Phew! It’s exhausting just thinking about it all.
WHY WE NEED SLEEP
Interestingly, scientists aren’t clear why sleep is essential, despite many studies into the subject. However, lack of sleep has been linked to:
- Increased negative feelings such as moodiness, irritability and depression
- Impaired thinking and learning
- Weakened immune system
- Weight gain, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Yikes!
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
The most important thing is to be kind to yourself. You’re allowed to be tired, because being a mum is a HUGE job. After giving yourself a pat on the back for being totally awesome, you might want to try these top tips, in order to increase the amount and quality of your sleep (if your little one will co-operate!)
Stick to a routine where possible — try to get up at the same time every day and go to bed at the same time each night, as this will promote a natural rhythm to your sleep.
Get to bed earlier — just one hour of extra sleep a night will make a huge difference to how you feel.
Be active — any kind of activity during the day (even walking around your backyard) will help promote good sleep.
Relax — set some time aside each day (even if it’s only 5 minutes) to switch off from everything.
Eat properly — make the effort to eat good, nourishing meals. Your body, and energy levels will thank you.
Take a nap — when your beautiful bubba is sleeping, try to nap yourself.
Ask for help — being a mum is exhausting so ask for help if you need it.
NATURAL SLEEP AIDS
Natural sleep aids are a great way to support a deeper, more rejuvenating sleep cycle. From teas, sprays and balms, there are a host of beautifully calming solutions out there to help lull you into a better sleep.
The herbs used in this blend, including passion flower, valerian and lavender, have traditionally been used to support the nervous system, aid relaxation and improve sleep quality.
Allow your stress and tension to drift away with each sip of this soothing and relaxing blend. This delicious blend of calming herbs is soothing for the mind and body.
This balm is perfect for those nights when you just can't seem to stop the mind chatter. It contains essential oils which help to calm thoughts and clear the mind, allowing sleep to come naturally.
Magnesium Oil Spray by Caim & Able - a traditional calming fusion of herbal rosemary and the soft, floral notes of lavender. Perfect to use as a natural sleep aid, and to relieve stress, cramps, tension and headaches.