You would think that with all the work a mom does in a day — whether it’s in the office or at home — that she’d doze off the moment she hits the bed. However, according to the National Sleep Foundation, a non-profit organization in the U.S., many women exhibit symptoms of insomnia several nights a week. As a remedy, about 3 out of 10 take oral sleeping medications, which is not recommended.
Parents, especially, are likely to suffer from sleeplessness because “A lot of new parents are hyper-vigilant: They’re listening for the baby’s cry and more aware of their surroundings at night,” Stephanie Silberman, Ph.D. a psychologist and a fellow at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, tells Parents.
We all know how essential sleep is. If you’re one of those parents who crave sleep but find it elusive, here are some tips that don’t involve taking any medications.
How to psych yourself to sleep
1. Do nothing an hour before bedtime.
We know it sounds foreign for a parent to “do nothing” at any time during her waking hours, so instead, try reserving activities that aren’t highly stimulating for this hour, such as folding the laundry (the smell of newly-laundered clothes may also relax you). You can also play classical music or an audio clip of rain or waterfalls to help you unwind. Also, breastfeeding may make you sleepy.
2. Drink “banana tea.”
Remove the top and bottom of a banana but keep the peel on. Place it in boiling water for 3 minutes, then steep the water and drink it. Says Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., the man behind TheSleepDoctor.com, “You get three or four times more magnesium from drinking this than from just eating a banana, and it’s very calming.” Magnesium is said to improve the ability to fall asleep and sleep quality in general.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
3. Write down your thoughts.
Observe what is really keeping you up at night. If you’re like most people, it’s their to-do list that pops up in their head just as they’re getting ready for bed. “A lot of sleeplessness comes because you don’t have a plan,” says Dr. Silberman. To avoid this, make a list of your worries and tasks, and add a solution or the date you intend to accomplish it.
4. Strike a (yoga) pose.
Lie with your back on the floor, while you raise your legs straight up against the adjacent wall. Do this for 5 to 20 minutes before bedtime. This yoga pose, known as viparita karani, puts the mind and body in a state of deep calm, says yoga teacher Juliana Mitchell.
5. Get out of bed.
If you’re in bed trying to sleep but could not doze off, don’t force it. Get up and find something to do, like reading a book or getting a warm bath. Says psychologist Amy Wolfson, Ph.D., “It’s important to break any association between going to bed and not being able to sleep.”