Early mornings, new extracurricular activities and loads of homework - back to school is a big transition for kids. With the focus on children's success, there's one family member who always sacrifices her well-being to ensure days run smoothly: Mom.
"She lays in bed at night planning the next day. She gets up earlier than the kids to prepare meals. She selflessly packs her schedule to meet family obligations," says Shannon Wright, Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences and wellness expert for Natrol.
Wright says that this do-it-all attitude is admirable, but the effects mean moms are losing the important sleep they need to feel their best and stay healthy.
"Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night that includes all sleep stages in order to feel well rested," Wright says. "One out of three Americans don't get enough sleep and women are two times more likely to have difficulty falling and staying asleep."
A good night's rest includes four different sleep stages with 90-minute phases of alternating non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. To help moms everywhere reach all stages and sleep better during the hectic back-to-school season and all year long, Wright recommends following these tips and tricks:
Adopt a sleep routine
A consistent sleep-wake schedule isn't just good for your kids, it's good for you, too. This supports your body's natural circadian rhythms that occur with the day-night transition. This also supports the release of melatonin, the body's naturally produced hormone that signals the body to sleep soundly.
Create a sleep oasis
The bedroom environment should be conducive to sleep and that goes beyond the bed. A cool, dark, noise-free bedroom helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer. If you have noise or light challenges, consider blackout shades, face masks, ear plugs and white noise machines.
Avoid late evening screen time
The kids are finally in bed and moms everywhere have a few moments to themselves. Catching up on email, watching TV shows and perusing your smartphone can kill sleep potential if you do it within an hour of bedtime. Essentially, the LED lights make your brain believe it's day and therefore prohibit melatonin release.
There is a lot of research that connects quality sleep to exercise, so even if you're tired, try to move and groove your body every day. Walk the field perimeter at the kids' soccer practice, join the kids on the playground or pop in that yoga DVD to start your morning out with a good stretch.
Be proactive about tomorrow
Enjoy a smoother morning and fewer worries while you're lying in bed by getting things done the night before. For example, make lunches, pack backpacks, shower and lay out clothes for the next day in the evening. You'll have fewer to-do's in the morning and you can sleep in a little later.
Take sleep-supportive supplements
Stress, along with other things like age, diet and lifestyle can affect our bodies' production of melatonin. Taking a melatonin supplement can help. Try Natrol, a 100% drug-free melatonin supplement that is non-habit forming. The fast-dissolve tablets help moms fall asleep faster, stay asleep and wake up refreshed to tackle another busy day.
"These tips may be simple, but they are extremely effective. Remember, with a good night's rest it's a whole lot easier to be Super Mom," Wright says.
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