For the first few years of your little one’s life, you may feel that getting enough sleep is next to impossible. There are ways you can maximize your chances of getting more sleep and higher quality sleep. Juggling parenting and working from home may feel exhausting, so here are some tips to potentially increase, and improve, the sleep you do get.
Try to go to sleep and wake at the same time each day. Sticking to a routine can train your body to release melatonin at the same time each night when you usually wind down. Do your best to maintain your schedule over the weekend (even though it’s tempting to ‘catch up on sleep), so as not to confuse your circadian rhythm.
Prioritize sleep-over jobs that can wait until tomorrow. While you don’t want to let days of dirty dishes build up or wait until your little one has no clean clothes left before you do laundry, some chores can afford to be left for one more day. Being well-rested (or at least more rested) improves your mood, energy, and ability to be productive. You don’t need to feel guilty for leaving some chores overnight if the alternative is getting to sleep earlier – trust your judgment.
If you can, work anywhere other than your bedroom. Leave your bedroom as your space to relax – keep work mode and sleep mode separate to the extent possible.
Try to keep screens out of the bedroom as best you can, especially at night time. Try setting your alarm to repeat at the same time each morning, so you don’t need to interact with your phone before bed to set an alarm. It is also beneficial for your little ones to get to sleep without the use of anything which emits blue light like iPads or laptops.
Try to avoid caffeine in the last few hours of your workday. If you’re struggling through that last chunk of work, turn to natural sugars for an energy boost, like fruit.
If you find that you’re really struggling to fall asleep, and just tossing and turning in bed, try to use this time productively. If you’re going to be awake anyway, consider getting some chores done to make your workload lighter for the next day. It may also help tire you out. Chat to your GP if you’re having difficulty getting to sleep for an extended period.
The power of power naps: even a 20-minute rest can improve your concentration and energy for the rest of the day. Communicate to your employer about changes you can make to your work schedule to cope.
Utilize what used to be commute time! The benefit of working from home is that when you walk from your bedroom to your office space (kitchen table, spare room, couch), you’re at work! Try to use this extra time productively – which can include sleeping in.
Try to train your little one into good sleeping habits. Chat to your child’s doctor for extra guidance or consult with a sleep specialist.
Being well-rested means that the time you do spend awake will be more productive. You’re less likely to snap at your family, and more likely to kick goals at work and around the house, if you have enough energy. Sleeping enough is easier said than done, but by consciously implementing healthy sleep habits, you’re giving yourself the best chance to be a well-rested parent and employee.