Okay, so you don’t have insomnia, but it feels like you do! Part of being a parent is enduring a lack sleep. But, what the “experts” don’t tell you is that late nights and early mornings don’t stop. Even when the kids are out of their baby phase, they want to sleep in bed with mommy and daddy. Or, they have nightmares and can’t get to sleep without a parent. A mother who has to endure this is going to be one tired mommy. Thankfully, it turns out you can nap your way back to full health.
Here is what every mother should know.
- The 30-Minute Limit
We all know about a power nap, yet most of us wake up feeling worse than before. Why? It’s because we break the 30-minute limit. Experts say that any time after half an hour is when the body goes into deep sleep. It is called REM sleep and it’s what you should aim for at night time. During the day, however, it will only make you feel groggy and more fatigued. A nap, if it is short, should last no longer than 30 minutes but 20 minutes is the optimal amount of time.
- The Full Sleep Cycle
If you are feeling adventurous, there is the full sleep cycle which lasts for 90 minutes. Yes, the experts said the 30-minute sequence was the limit, but that was for a short nap. It is possible to take a long nap and not feel as tired when you awake. One hour and a half should allow you to enter into the Rapid Eye Movement phase and make up for lost sleep. Be warned, however, that it is only an option if you have 90 minutes to spare. Go over the 30-minute limit without lasting the full ninety and your body will suffer.
- Don’t Nap At All
Napping is an excellent way to boost your energy levels, but it isn’t the only option. If you need an eye opener (literally), you might be better to talk a walk. Walking in the sunshine or the wind and rain is a great way to kick the body into shape. The light levels, for example, tell the brain that it isn’t time to sleep, which in turn increases hormone production. Just changing the interior design pattern of the house is another option. Painting with colors which are less likely to make you want to sleep in the day could help you get to bedtime.
- Don’t Break The Routine
Everyone has a sleep cycle, otherwise known as a bedtime. Just because you had a nap during the day doesn’t mean you get to push back your bedtime. Why? It’s because a nap makes up for lost sleep. By going to bed later, you will negate the effects of your power nap. Plus, it will ruin your routine and knock your body clock out of sync. The side-effects will result in less sleep and extra tiredness. So, whether you have a nap or not, don’t go to bed any later.
Remember - 30 minutes or 90 minutes if you have the time. But, no more, no less.