Coping with a lack of sleep
The best remedy for sleep deprivation is simply getting more sleep. However, a busy working parent doesn’t always have this luxury.
If you have problems staying awake during the working day, try doing something active; run an errand, or go for a walk. If you have trouble sleeping at night, try to drink little or no caffeine during the late afternoon and evening and avoid taking naps during the day as they can actually perpetuate insomnia problems.
Caffeine and nicotine can delay your sleep for several hours, so don’t have any in the late afternoon or evening. More than a glass or two of beer or wine will make your sleep more restless.
Be careful about when you eat
Avoid heavy meals too close to your bedtime as the digestion process can disrupt your sleep. However, a quick carbohydrate rich snack before bed like a bowl of cereal can help to promote sleep.
Exercise at the right times
Finish exercising at least three hours before you go to bed to give your body a chance to relax.
Schedule some extra rest into your day
Try and see if you can get to bed early one night a week, or ask a relative or friend to babysit for you so you can get some extra sleep. Do less in the mornings and sleep for longer.
Keep your bedroom cool and block out light with dark curtains or blinds. Avoid watching TV or doing your admin tasks in bed. Use your bed just for sleep and having sex to prevent it becoming associated with daytime activities.
Make it a habit to finish doing any work or administrative tasks an hour before bed. Have a soothing warm bath and a cup of warm milk. Read a good book and allow yourself to gradually relax towards sleep. Keep a notebook by the bed so you can write down any worrying thoughts and save them until the morning before you do anything about them.
Avoid sleeping in other places at bedtime
Try not to doze off on the sofa too often. The habit of sleeping anywhere but the bed can lead to sleep problems later on.