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How to recharge & improve your sleep quality

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As a parent, you know all too well how hard it can be to get a good night’s sleep. From taking care of your little ones to worrying about their future, there never seems to be enough time in the day for you to rest and recharge. Thankfully, there are some ways that you can improve your sleep quality as a parent. Let’s take a look at how you can get the restful sleep you deserve.

Create A relaxing environment before bedtime

Creating a relaxing atmosphere before bedtime is essential for achieving better quality of sleep. Try dimming the lights, avoiding blue light from screens, and using white noise or music to create an environment that promotes relaxation. It may also help to have comfortable pillows, sheets, and blankets so that you don’t have any distractions while trying to drift off into dreamland.

Prioritise self-care during the day

Self-care is an important part of parenting, but it’s often neglected when faced with the demands of everyday life. However, self-care during the day can actually help improve your sleep quality at night. Make sure that you are taking regular breaks throughout the day for yourself—read a book or go for walks outside—and try to fit in at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. This will help keep your energy levels up and promote better sleep habits at night.

Set a consistent sleep schedule

Having a consistent sleep schedule is key when it comes to improving your overall sleep quality as a parent. This means setting regular times for going to bed and waking up each day—even on weekends! By keeping this routine, your body will naturally become more accustomed to getting tired around the same time each night which allows for deeper and more restorative sleep cycles throughout the night. Additionally, avoid naps during the day if possible because they can disrupt your nighttime sleep patterns if they are too long or taken too close to bedtime.

Getting enough restful sleep as a parent can seem like an impossible task at times but it doesn’t have to be! With these tips in mind—including creating a relaxing environment before bedtime, prioritising self-care during the day, and setting a consistent sleep schedule—you should soon find yourself sleeping soundly every night without worry or stress weighing on your mind (or keeping you up!). So grab those comfy pillows and snuggle up tight; sweet dreams await!

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5 ways to improve your sleep hygiene as a parent

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Being a parent is one of the most rewarding, but also exhausting, experiences you will ever have. You are constantly on the go, taking care of your little ones and making sure they are happy and healthy. It’s no wonder that so many parents struggle to get a good night’s sleep! If you’re finding it hard to catch some Zs, here are five ways to improve your sleep hygiene.

1. Establish a regular sleep schedule.
One of the best ways to improve your sleep hygiene is to establish a regular sleep schedule. When your body is used to going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, it will be easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. So, do your best to stick to a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, even on weekends.

2. Create a calm and relaxing bedtime routine.
Another way to help improve your sleep hygiene is by creating a calm and relaxing bedtime routine. This could involve taking a warm bath, reading a book, or stretching before getting into bed. By doing something calming before trying to sleep, you’ll be more likely to fall asleep quickly.

3. Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet
Your bedroom should be a haven for rest and relaxation. To help make it more conducive for sleep, make sure it is dark and quiet. Consider investing in blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out any unwanted light, and use earplugs or white noise if you live in a noisy area.

4. Avoid caffeine late in the day
If you want to have a solid sleep through the night without any interruptions, avoid caffeine late in the day. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to eight hours, so if you drink it too close to bedtime, you may find it harder to drift off—and harder to stay asleep once you finally do fall asleep.

5. Put away all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime
It’s important to disconnect from electronics before trying to sleep because the blue light emitted from screens can interfere with your natural circadian rhythm and make it harder for your head to hit the pillow feeling sleepy. So, put away all electronics—including your phone, laptop, TV, etc at least 30 minutes before bedtime so you can unwind and relax in peace before trying to drift off for the night.

If you’re finding it difficult to get enough rest as a parent, know that you’re not alone! Many parents struggle with insomnia or poor sleep quality due largely in part due to chaotic schedules and stress levels that come with being responsible for tiny humans 24/7/365. However, there are things you can do proactively to improve your sleep hygiene starting with establishing (and sticking) to regular sleep schedule; making sure your bedroom is dark quiet; avoiding caffeine later in day; unplugging from electronics screens at least 30 minutes before aimless tossing turning time; implementing a calming nighttime ritual (reading books in baths). All of these things will help zzz’s happen—and happen more deeply—so try some or all of them get to get your sleep back on track.

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Surviving sleep deprivation

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Many of the symptoms of sleep deprivation manifest themselves in impaired cognitive function. In her book Brain Food, Dr Lisa Mosconi explores the neuroscience behind the foods that improve mental fitness. Meaning, there is such a thing as brain food, what Mosconi terms ‘neuro nutrition’.

What most people don’t realise that the nutritional requirements of the brain are substantially different from those of the other organs of the body.”

Dr Lisa Mosconi

The sugar-laden, carbohydrate heavy foods we crave when we’re tired (and that deliver instant gratification with the first bite) aren’t really doing you any favours in the long term when it comes to combating fatigue. Try to avoid and plump for healthier alternatives instead.

Water is crucial, two litres a day and tap water is absolutely fine, as is bottled mineral water. Purified water ain’t so great as it’s been filtered of all its precious minerals and nutrients. Water-rich fruit and veg is also good; such as cucumbers, courgettes, strawberries, grapefruit and watermelons.

A balance of Omega 3s and 6s is essential to get your neurons communicating properly and can be found not just in fish oils but plant oils (i.e., grapeseed oil). Mosconi also recommends certain nuts and seeds (chia, flaxseed); food high in choline (B vitamins), glucose (spring onions, turnips, apricots, grapes) and phenylalanine (spinach, high-protein animal products).  Her book contains some brilliant brain-boosting recipes and we’re a particular fan of her cacao smoothie, which tastes like pudding in a glass – and is still good for you! Wins! Proof that you don’t have to forgo sweet treats.


We know. It’s hard to exercise when you’ve a baby – or two – in tow. But it’s crucial. Exercise literally changes your state of mind, be it a stroll with the pram, an at home HIIT workout or a 10-minute yoga flow with the baby on the mat beside you. There are exercise classes up and down the country that cater to new parents where you can actually leave the house and exercise in a group setting with your babies and toddlers. Do whatever you feel most comfortable with, but the point here is really to do it. Shoehorn it into your day. Perhaps this might mean asking a partner or a friend to take over whilst you exercise, and that’s ok.

Yes, when you’re exhausted the last thing you feel like doing is exhausting yourself even more, but it really works. It’s a great stress reliever and ushers in a feeling of real positivity and achievement. So do try to set aside a little time every day to exercise. You won’t regret it.

Sloooww down & step off

Sometimes having a baby can feel like operating in the normal world with your hands tied behind your back. Things take longer, you can’t just­–

All the stuff you used to be able to do at your peak productivity, well, try not to lament it. That was then, this is now. A different gravy. The laundry will wait. And the world will still turn.

Do less.

Don’t expect so much of yourself.

Give yourself a break.

You’re raising a child, not trying to be a superhero.

Screen time

Your circadian rhythms are already shot with the arrival of a new baby, and screen time at night will only exacerbate the situation. If you need something to while away the witching hours then try swapping your scrolling for audio books – or the shipping forecast, and you’ll probably find it much easier to fall back asleep if/when your baby does.

Have a giggle

Don’t be afraid to be silly. Sometimes laughter really is the best medicine. Embrace the ridiculous situations that often present themselves to you as a new parent; projectile poo/wee whilst changing a nappy; thinking you could get a quick quiet coffee only for your baby to howl down the café, the list is long…Try to laugh about them. Or, if you find that difficult, get your laughs in watching a TV programme you love or a clip of your favourite comedian on social media. Whatever it is, laughter can break through the tension. It always feels good to giggle. Find comfort in the little things. 

Cuddle your partner as well as your baby

Having an addition to the family can be isolating for a partner, especially if you’re night feeding in another bedroom. Physical contact is so important. Get close, enjoy a hug. If you’re a single parent, don’t underestimate the strength of an embrace from a friend. Sometimes, it really is the little things that make all the difference.

Sleep, whenever, wherever.

As discussed in our first blog post, there are no-points for martyrdom in the sleep stakes. Get it whilst you can. Forget household chores and put your head down, even if it’s just for 10 minutes for a quick refresh. Clinical studies have shown that a nap of less than half an hour in the day promotes wakefulness, enhances performance and learning ability.

Writer and memoirist Amy Liptrot regularly extolls the restorative effect of a stolen ‘wild sleep’ with her young children. Or, join the army of parents who sleep in cinema matinee performances. Whatever it takes, you’ll be much more capable of completing your to-do lists if you’ve had more sleep. Forget the pressures of being productive and remind yourself how much you’re taking care of yourself getting in all the sleep you can.

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sleep deprivation

No, you’re not losing your mind. You’re sleep deprived.

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Babies don’t sleep. They just don’t. Not like we do.

They don’t operate on a 24-hour cycle, nor do they have any regard for night or day. They can be up to six months old before they begin to show any sense of functional consistency and may be years old before they stop night waking. All this to say, there are legions of sleep deprived parents out there in the world, going about their days in a time-warped slow motion, feeling anything other than themselves.

As a sleep-deprived parent you may find yourself the butt of many jokes or on the end of pitying looks as family and friends – sometimes even strangers –recall ‘the slog’ of their own early parenting days before dishing out supremely unhelpful comments like ‘What else did you expect?’ We’ve all been there. The chances are you’re there right now.

If only it were a laughing matter. But the effects of sleep deprivation are real. You may find it hard to concentrate, suffer memory lapses, mood swings, anxiety, elevated stress, slurred speech, lose your libido, put on weight and even find you have a low immunity making you less able to fend off bugs. At its extreme, studies have shown sleep deprivation can lead to brain damage. That sleep deprivation has been used as a means of torture for centuries says it all really. 

For those of us who have always enjoyed – or survived on – a good night’s sleep, the lack of sleep that comes with being a parent can be a shock. No, debilitating. Of course, some days are better than others and it’s incredible how quickly you can return to baseline with a good night’s sleep, that feeling of being a new person again hard to top.  

Not so long ago, the idea of being able to survive on little sleep may have held some kudos; ‘successful’ people championing themselves on needing as little as two to three hours a night. How we marvelled that Margaret Thatcher could run a country on four hours sleep is, frankly, ridiculous knowing what we know now; that persistent lack of sleep is directly linked to an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Yep, that ship has sailed. Boasting about how little sleep you need is really only a race to the bottom. Sleep is not, ‘just for wimps’.

As a new parent you may covet the enviable extensive sleeping hours of today’s teenagers and your younger self, but instead, ask how is it they can sleep for so long? It is not because they are ‘lazy’. It’s because their brains and bodies are developing at such rapid speed it necessitates the factory reset that sleep brings. Wanting more sleep does not make you lazy. Instead, it shows a healthy regard for your own physical and mental well-being.

According to the US National Institute of Health, ‘When one sleeps the brain reorganizes and recharges itself, and removes toxic waste by-products which have accumulated throughout the day…a minimum of seven hours of daily sleep seems to be necessary for proper cognitive function.’ Seven hours. A luxury if you’re a new parent. And toxic waste? No wonder you’re feeling so rubbish.

In their paper The Neuroprotective Aspects of Sleep, Andy R Eugene and Jolanta Masiak write “Essentially, sleeping acts as a garbage collector that comes during the night and removes the waste product left by the brain. This allows the brain to function normally the next day when one wakes up from slumber.” Clinically, this is known as the brain’s glymphatic system. We can now appreciate how not getting enough sleep physically alters the chemical balance in your brain, hence the title of this post; You’re not losing your mind, you’re just sleep deprived.

What’s worse, in a punishing twist, the states produced by sleep deprivation can actually make it harder to sleep. Anxiety and depression brought on by poor sleep patterns can often cause insomnia so that you may find when your baby is finally sleeping, frustratingly, you cannot.

So, what is going on in your brain when you are sleeping? Well, sleep turns off the norepinephrine (a stress hormone), serotonin (modulates mood) and histamine (immunity) neurotransmitters, allowing their receptors to rest. Now we can see directly the consequences of not getting enough sleep; the elevated stress levels, a struggle to make a proportionate response to an emotional event, of feeling constantly under the weather – every day a battle. Now we can understand what is happening to us.

And in today’s world of peak perfection and productivity, of having heightened expectations, increased stimulations, technology on tap, of always being ‘on’, of problems being solved in a ‘hack’ we can consume on TikTok then we may be feeling the effects of sleep deprivation more than our predecessors – and its negative effect on our psyche.

But it’s not all bad. It won’t last forever (trust, us, it really won’t). You will get through it. Your children will grow and sleep. Until they do, there are things you can do to address the slump you feel, to try and rebalance your brain and body and feel more like yourself.

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