Wake Up, Dad! Let Mom Get More Sleep

Wake Up, Dad! Let Mom Get More SleepSimple Tips can Help Mom’s Get More SleepLooking for a Mother’s Day present? The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) and UNM Sleep Disorders Center says give mom an extra hour of sleep before the kids serve her breakfast in bed.

In March 2007, the National Sleep Foundation released its tenth annual Sleep in America poll which revealed the sleep habits of American women from both biological and lifestyle perspectives. Women are not getting the sleep they need and mothers - in particular - experience great hurdles in getting good sleep.

In fact, 64% report getting a good night’s sleep only a few nights a week or less. By asking dads (and the whole family) to start Mother’s Day festivities an hour later, NSF hopes that this will set a precedent not only for this special holiday but all year round.

 “Mother’s Day is the perfect day to treat Mom to an extra hour of sleep,” said Lee Brown, M.D, Professor of Internal Medicine and Medical Director of the UNM Sleep Disorders Clinic.

There are also simple lifestyle changes mothers can look at taking that can translate into a big difference in the quality of life for them and their families. “Some 68 percent of mothers admit to ‘accepting’ their sleepiness and forging ahead, but accepting sleepiness is not acceptable; simple lifestyle changes can help.”Simple Tips to Help Mom Sleep Better All Year LongThere are a number of things that mom’s can do to get better sleep and the first is simple:

  • Ask for help! Some 47 percent of new mothers report not getting help with childcare during the night. It’s OK to ask the family to chip in with chores and meal preparation too. A few minutes here and there can add up quickly - allowing for more time to sleep.
  • Make Time for Fun. More than four in ten moms state that they have no time to spend with family and friends (45%) or do leisure activities (41%). Try to carve out a few hours during the week to enjoy the people you love most. It may require some juggling, but in the long run you will be rewarded emotionally – and sleep better.
  • Have Healthy Habits. Sleep, diet and exercise are the three critical elements to a healthy lifestyle. Yet 62 percent of moms put sleep on the back burner; 52% admit to not exercising and 40% stop eating healthy when pressed for time. Poor health and sleep are linked to increased incidence of sleep disorders, daytime sleepiness, and missing work and sleep aid usage. Make sleep and smart lifestyle choices a priority.
  • How Sleep and Weight Relate.Some 54% of American moms are either overweight or obese . Poor health and obesity are linked to frequency of sleep problems. Stay fit, eat right, sleep well to live longer.
  • Don’t Drive Drowsy.About one-third of moms admit to driving while drowsy at least once a month and19% have driven drowsy with kids in the car. If you are too tired to drive fully alert, do not drive. Create a buddy system where you have a back-up driver in case you are too fatigued to get behind the wheel.
  • Don’t Ignore Snoring.Some 30% of moms snore at least a few nights a week. It may be embarrassing to admit but snoring is something to discuss with a doctor as it may be a symptom of a bigger problem - sleep apnea, a breathing-related sleep disorder that results in brief interruptions of respiration during sleep. Pauses in breath can last from 10-30 seconds or more and occur up to 400 times a night. It is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition that is far more common than generally understood.
  • Cut the Caffeine.Half of all moms reported using caffeine - on average 2.5 cups/cans of a caffeinated beverage - as a coping mechanism to get them through the day. Even if you do not think caffeine affects you, it may be disrupting and changing the quality of your sleep. Avoid coffee and colas within six to eight hours of going to bed..
  • Take a Nap.Only 11% of moms are likely to nap when tired. While naps won’t necessarily make up for inadequate or poor quality nighttime sleep, a short 20-30 minute nap can improve mood, alertness and performance.
  • Turn Off Technology.One-quarter of moms choose to do work-related activities an hour before bedtime and 87% report watching television an hour before bedtime at least a few nights per week. Try to practice a standard, relaxing bedtime routine that does not include stimuli from computer and television screens. The bedroom should be reserved for sleep and sex only.

Contact: Cindy Foster, 272-3322

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