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Challenge: Sleep Solutions

7 Steps to a Better Night's Sleep

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Most mom's today carry this superhuman label. Being a mom in today's society is rough. Between "Mom Wars" and Cosmopolitan's latest article on "How to Keep Your Man," no wonder us moms are swimming in mom guilt while we try to conceal our dark circles under our eyes before Polly Perfect next door sees. We have soccer practice, ballet lessons, homework, dinner, laundry, and a full time job. If you find time for a mommy war between all of that, then kudos to you. Also, you deserve to be metaphorically blown up. The women I know, are so focused on how to stay afloat, that there's no time to focus on other women and how their families are run. After the blur of the day lightening bolts past you, it's time for that elusive thing, we mom's once knew as sleep. Follow these 7 steps and you too can have a good night's sleep, without that whole bottle of Pinot stashed in your nightstand drawer (just me?!).

Step One: Delegate!

There is no hard fast rule that says mom's must be the be all, end all of their children's lives. Guess what. You had a partner help you create these little replica's of you. One or two of your little ones may even resemble the person that helped create them. Look, I know it's hard, but your partner can help. If you don't have a partner, you likely have an older child (one usually comes before the other). This is a great time to teach them responsibility and accountability. It also teaches your sweet babies that it's OK to ask for help. Moms, (whispering) it's OK to ask for help. Try it! You may feel uncomfortable at first, but, the pay off will be worth it. No significant other, or older child, try a grandparent or close friend. Really, avenues for help are everywhere, just ask.

Step Two: Find Time for You

Moms, why do we do this? We have got to make time for ourselves. Even if it's at the butt crack of dawn, momma needs a little down time. Guilt free! I saw you trying to sneak in that mom guilt. Back away slowly. If you aren't taking care of you, then how will anyone else know that's something that you need. The time you take for yourself could be 30 minutes of uninterrupted quiet time before the alarms go off in the morning. Getting to enjoy your entire cup of coffee, before tiny people are pulling at your robe can be your saving grace for the day. For some people, going for a walk or run alone is all they need. Maybe you don't have time to run a marathon, but 15 minutes is all you need to get in a quick jog. Your heart and your stress level will thank you.

Step Three: Let Go of Perfection

I hate to burst anyone's rainbow colored, glitter filled bubble but, you're not perfect. In fact, no one is perfect, and it's OK. Really, it is. It's 9PM and it still looks like Hot Wheels cars and Barbie and friends were trying to reenact Fast and Furious in your living room? It's ok to leave it until morning or better yet, leave it for after school. No one will tell, you're the boss and can do what you want. Oh, the perks of being an adult. Dinner does not have to come from Pintrest or from The Pioneer Woman. If Mrs. Drummond wants to come over and cook your family a meal, by golly, you better run and answer the door, but you don't have to be her. I'm sure even at the pioneer house, sometimes it's just a chicken nugget night. Maybe, just maybe, coloring outside the lines is fun. If being a tulip in a field of roses means you get more sleep, be a dang tulip!

Step Four: Establish a Bedtime Routine

No, Sally can't get water for the fifth time in the last hour. Set clear bedtime routines and boundaries for your children. Educate yourself on how many hours of sleep each child needs per night and set their bedtimes accordingly. If you decide bedtime is 7:30 for Sally, let bedtime be at 7:30. Get your little one in the bath at least 45 minutes before bedtime. Let them snuggle with you to get out all of their kisses, hugs, and bonding time before bed. If you know they will ask for water, give them a glass before bed or keep a small cup with water on their night stand. Unless they have a medical need, they will be OK without water past bedtime. Once they know you aren't budging from your new routine, quiet nights are ahead.

Step Five: Find Out What Relaxes You

It's the end of the night and you still have a million things on your mind. Did the trash get taken to the curb? Did the water bill get paid? Was that a murderer outside of my house, or the wind blowing the darn tree branch again? The ability to turn off our minds was not a gift that the universe saw fit to give us women. While you're on your overthinking marathon, think about what relaxes you. Every one has something that relaxes them to the point of feeling like your body is the consistency of Jello. It can be a nice bubble bath, paired with a good book. It could be a glass of wine or mind blowing sex. Whatever it might be, find a way to make it into something you can do nightly before bed. Establishing your own bedtime routine can be just as important as establishing a bedtime routine for your children.

Step Six: Have Sex

Did I just say that out loud? Yes, yes I did. I know, you're thinking, I'm too exhausted to even think about sex. Here's the thing, not only will your significant other be perfectly happy with you wanting more sex, but it will make you feel better. Sex releases these fabulous things called endorphins. These things can help elevate your mood, which in turn will make you less stressed. If you're less stressed, you sleep better. So, though you may be tired from the day's activities, don't throw sex by the wayside. Human's need sex, moms are humans; therefore, moms need sex. See how that works?

Step Seven: Allow Yourself Time to Sleep

Don't jam pack your schedule with your children's activities. They are little people, they need downtime too. They need you to model how to do that. Limit their activities to one or two activities a year, with none overlapping. Sally wants to dance, well dance lasts all school year. Sally can't join another activity until dance is over. I know it can be difficult, but this will allow you and your little ones the rest they need. Activities take up time, that time is usually homework time. If homework time gets pushed back, then bedtime gets pushed back. If their bedtime gets pushed back, then your bedtime gets pushed back. Eliminate the desire to overfill your child's schedule. This will allow for you to keep your schedule, and get the rest you deserve.

Overall, the key to getting a good nights sleep is asking for help when needed, and not overloading yourself. Everyone deserves to wake up well rested in the morning. Hopefully, by following these steps you will be among the elite few well rested moms.

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