Who needs an alarm clock when you have children? Those little love nuggets have not only stolen your heart, but they've hijacked your sleep. Whether you have a newborn, toddler, or school-aged children, a decent night's sleep is something you don't take for granted. You know a solid slumber is out there somewhere, you just need to find it. Looks like it may be time to start using some sleep hacks for parents that actually work and can make your dreamtime sweeter.
Yes, they do exist! And the best part is, you can start implementing these tricks for better sleep tonight. No prescriptions or expensive equipment necessary — just a few changes to your routine are all you need to start enjoying the quality of sleep you dream of (or would dream of, if you weren't being woken up every two hours). Keep in mind, things may never be perfect. Life with kids is unpredictable whether it's day time or after dark. But at least you can find some hope in the fact that even if it isn't perfect, it can be better.
Before you start thinking that you are sentenced to three hours of sleep a night, try out some of these 11 sleep hacks for parents who aren't getting enough sleep at night, and say good bye to tossing and turning.
1. Put On The Red Light
Exposure to light at night has been shown to affect sleeping patterns. And the worst offender: those blue lights emitted from electronics. But to keep yourself from tripping over your shoes when cruising your bedroom after dark, Harvard Health suggests using red lights. According to their research, "red light has the least power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin."
2. Take Melatonin
Whether it's trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, a little does of melatonin may be the solution. Melatonin is a hormone the body produces to induce sleep, and ,as The National Sleep Foundation pointed out, just one to three milligrams of melatonin can help you sleep better. Pick up this supplement at any health food store and see if it bring on the slumber you've been missing.
3. Hang Blackout Curtains
Deck out your bedroom in darkness with some blackout curtains. According to Health magazine, light stops melatonin production, which will make it harder for you to stay asleep at night. Try swapping out regular curtains for blackout curtains and hibernate like a bear in a cave.
4. Nap And Nap Alike
If you have a baby or child that still naps, take a page from their well rested book, and grab a nap yourself. Mayo Clinic suggests that napping when your child naps can help you get more sleep and feel refreshed.
5. Resist The Afternoon Latte
It's no surprise that an exhausted parent may be reaching for a cup of coffee come 3 p.m., but that little dose of caffeine may do more harm than good. As Psychology Today reported, caffeine disrupts sleep patterns and can interfere with your body's relaxation when bedtime rolls around. If you just can't seem to imagine your life without your post-lunch java, try cutting yourself off by 2 p.m.
6. Get Some Vitamin D
Can't sleep? Grab a little sunshine. As Forbes reported, sunlight helps promote good sleep because it helps your body set rhythms. Just as darkness triggers the brain to sleep, sunlight helps remind the brain that it is in the wake cycle of the day. Your body relies on these distinct cycles for healthy sleep patterns.
7. Cut Back On Sugar
To get more Zs at night, try decreasing your sugar intake throughout the day. Science Daily found that sugar disrupts sleep, by causing people who eat more of it to wake more often throughout the night. For longer stretches of uninterrupted sleep, they suggest upping your fiber intake and passing on the third cookie.
8. Practice Restoative Yoga
A little namaste goes a long way. To prepare your body for a glorious night of sleep, Yoga Journal recommends these 15 yoga poses for better sleep. And yes, this counts as your exercise for the day.
9. Power Down
You may want to think twice before scrolling through those last updates on your handheld device — at least when it's close to bedtime. As The Washington Post reported, using devices before bed disrupts sleep, since the blue light screens inhibit melatonin production. To get a good night's sleep, put the devices down a few hours before closing your eyes.
10. Tag Team Night Duty
If you are fortunate enough to have a partner in parenting, take turns with night duties. As Mayo Clinic pointed out, splitting up parenting tasks at night and taking turns, will help both of you to get more rest, overall.
11. Try A Cup Of Chamomile
If you can't have your afternoon coffee, then get yourself some nighttime tea. Reach for a cup of chamomile tea before you hit the bed. As Reader's Digest reported, chamomile increases glycine, which leads to sleep by acting as a mild sedative. So raise your cup and toast to a better night's sleep, even if your little ones do their best to hijack it.