Optimising sleep as a knackered Mum

I’m tired. Pretty much constantly. I may have mentioned this once or twice right here on this very blog.

Even on the rare occasion our nights have been through good phases, I still feel like I’m dragging my tired butt through life. I blame every bad mood, stressy school run and short tempered moment on the fact that, you guessed it… I’m tired.

I have started to believe that a few years of sleep deprivation have lead to some kind of sleep debt – so even if you do get an amazing night, you still never really feel fully caught up. Maybe this is just a new, post-kids, permanent state of mind, and one that just requires some kind of survival mechanism to continue and enjoy this very existence.

So how do us shattered Mums and Dads manage to carry on; to navigate the school run and after school club schedule, make pleasantries at toddler groups and for some of us, function at work when inside we are feeling like Shaun of the dead (fave movie alert FYI).

Here’s how I’m rocking it…please feel free to share any trade secrets in return.

  1. Coffee. Multiple cups of it before leaving the house and throughout the morning. But, never after 5pm and that last ‘pick me up cup’ during the tea time clean up operation (just to get me through the bedtime routine). Think of coffee as your best friend during the day, and your worst enemy come sundown.
  2. Early nights. Sad as it is, I hate to tell you this but unless it’s some kind of special occasion, if you knock on my door post 7pm I’ll be in my PJs. If you knock after 9.30 I’ll probably be in bed. When you have a 5 am riser, it’s the only way I’m afraid. It’s all about the reverse lay in as coined by Talya aka motherhood the real deal…
  3. Fresh sheets. Nothing screams ‘get in my bed’ like a beautiful freshly laundered set of bedding. It’s a small slice of heaven in the hell that is being dragged out of that bed several times a night. It makes the getting back into it all the more amazing.
  4. A decent mattress. If you haven’t joined the memory foam mattress party yet, it’s never too late. If your kids aren’t jabbing and poking you in the ribs waking you up, then you DEFINITELY do not want your mattress springs to be.
  5. A good sleeping position. I know myself that I need two pillows to support my neck perfectly, otherwise I end up in all sorts of creaks and pains come the morning. It’s not unusual for a bad position to disturb my sleep, and lately I’ve even been waking with a weird pain in my wrist due to how I hug the pillow. This video is pretty cool at helping understand the best way to position yourself in bed, and you could even consider investing in one of those electrical adjustable beds to really mean business. Your spine will thank you for it.
  6. Smells. I’m not massively into herbal remedies, but I swear by the sleepy effects of lavender as a sleep aid and always keep a little dried bag of it by my bed (and the girls’). I also have the most incredible bed spray from Rituals which immediately sends me into a sleepy sleepy zone. It smells like nothing else on this planet and is one of my must have luxury items.The Ritual of Dao Bed & Body Mist
  7. Reading. That doesn’t include digital devices my friend. Yes, I mean you. Even I can’t resist most evenings one cheeky last look at instagram before bed, but all those electronic devices do not help with the getting good sleep situation. You know it, I know it. Grab a book and get old school with a bit of bedtime reading to wind down from a day probably filled with screen time.
  8. Two kiwis before bed. My hubby swears by this one – apparently the serotonin content in kiwis is enough to send you off for the perfect night sleep. He reckons it works, and with all the goodness packed in those green babies, what have you got to lose?
  9. A long hot soak. I remember reading once that it’s not the rise in temperature that makes you sleepy, but the sudden reduction from that core temperature which makes you sleepy. Whatever the science behind it is, there is nothing like a lovely bubbly bath with some good old Radox to prepare you for a wonderful sleep.
  10. Tag team. I once thought parents who turned to this technique were a little extreme. Alternating lay ins at weekends has however saved us since the birth of our second daughter. Karma sent me a bad sleeper to teach my smug arse all about that little gem.
  11. Call in the favours. In all honesty, there is only one fail safe way of getting a truly decent night’s kip in our house – no disruptions and no ridiculously early wake up, and that is to pack the kids off for a sleepover. However bad sleepers they are it’s just one night for someone else, and you need to refresh your batteries. Beg steal or borrow, offer to return the favour, do what you gotta do – we all need a break from time to time (just resist the temptation to go wild with the prosecco or you’ll end up waking up feeling worse than ever #beentheredonethatfartoomanytimes).

Night night


Disclosure: Collaborative post


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35 thoughts on “Optimising sleep as a knackered Mum

  1. anywaytostayathome Reply

    I know what you mean about being in sleep debt. All very curious to try the kiwi theory, I do love kiwis so this seems live a good excuse to eat more and of I sleep better it’s a real winner #coolmumclub

  2. beautybabyandme Reply

    I am so with you on this one! Early night, bath, read, pillow spray! Absolutely necessary! I need sleep and am vile without it. Needs Must! xx #coolmumclub

  3. Donna Reply

    …there is another way to get a serotonin kick!!
    We’re not bad off for sleep I don’t think and I’m still knackered after a day working and parenting! Don’t know how I’d cope without a decent night. #coolmumclub

  4. Pass the wine please Reply

    Feeling your pain here, our girl is a pretty good sleeper these days but anything past 6am is a lie in! Definitely considering the new mattress idea… #CoolMumClub

  5. motherhoodtherealdeal Reply

    Totes got this one locked down but seriously 2 kiwis before bed….I am going to start guzzling those things! #coolmumclub loving xoxox

  6. mummyhereandthere Reply

    I love slipping into bed after a nice warm bath and into some fresh new sheets, that is heaven right there X #coolmumclub

  7. RaisieBay Reply

    I watched Sean of the Dead last night, definitely one of my favs! Of course I went to bed and dreamt of zombies (don’t say that word!) Great tips here though, I always fall asleep if I pick up a book to read. I’ve never heard of eating kiwis though.

  8. Tubbs Reply

    Not heard about the Kiwi fruit one, but worth a try – and a way to get some extra fruit down! Thank you

  9. and Jacob makes three Reply

    Great tips. I’m an early to bed fan and coffee is my best friend. I’m going to try the kiwis thing though. Sounds interesting. #coolmumclub

  10. Sunita Reply

    I never knew about the kiwis thing! I’m going to try this #coolmumclub

  11. thetaleofmummyhood Reply

    I totally believe in the sleep debt, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to feel refreshed! #coolmumclub

  12. Annie Reply

    I love fresh sheets. Just the thought makes me want to curl up in my bed now!
    I also keep saying I must leave my phone and iPad downstairs and just read an actual book but I ‘forget’ until I’m too cosy in bed every night! #coolmumclub

  13. Something About Baby Reply

    God, I feel you on this. 22 months of bad sleep and counting, I fear I am never going to catch up. Even after a month of “good sleep”, we’ve gone back to co-sleeping and I have to say I miss the better sleep I was having! I am terrible for digital devices for bed, so really need to dig out a good book, have a bath and spray some calming lavender on my pillow to send me off to sleepy town! #Coolmumclub

  14. Helen Reply

    Oo I’m going to be taking advantage of all of these tips before our second baby arrives in the next few weeks! Our first didn’t sleep, so I know what’s to come and it isn’t pretty! #coolmumclub

  15. Rhyming with Wine Reply

    The sleep debt thing is so true! I’m very lucky in that ours are pretty good sleepers now, but I now have immediate panic attacks as soon as one of them wakes in the night for whatever reason? It’s like my brain is terrified that I’m going to surprise it with another newborn / year of zero sleep and it’s shouting “NOOOOOOO! I CAN’T DO THAT AGAIN!!” Fab tips lovely. Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub x

  16. tinmccarthy Reply

    Some mornings I open my eyes and think to myself: people can not be this tired and function all day. Not possible. Like right now- sooooo freaking tired. #coolmumsclub

  17. msmamabean Reply

    This is a great post – I wrote about co-sleeping last week and reading this has definitely given me some ideas on how to make the most out of my sleep.

  18. Nicole Reply

    Never knew of the kiwis…
    Coffee is my best friend first thing in the morn and during that afternoon slump
    And a good mattress makes a huge difference.

  19. Muffintopmummyblog Reply

    Yes, I’m feeling you on the sleep debt! I could sleep all night/day and still wake up tired. I love the kiwi idea – so random but intriguing #coolmumclub

  20. oldhouseintheshires Reply

    This is sooo true! It’s interesting though as once your kids are teens they sleep in but by then you are so used to living off little sleep, you wake up early anyway! Great post. #coolmumclub

  21. mealsandmakes Reply

    Ugh lack of sleep is such a killer. With good sleep you can do anything. Having had twins, I totally know sleep deprivation. Im not very good at early nights but the other things (particularly the coffee) are all good. Had not heard the kiwi thing before!

  22. thesingleswan Reply

    I would add Berocca Boost to your list. I love it. Don’t take it after midday though because it has a whole heap of natural caffeine in it. I have also tried reading before bed. I always read a hard copy book rather than a kindle or my phone. I never have trouble getting to sleep. There are just not enough hours in the day to get all of the sleep I feel I need. Pen x #coolmumclub

  23. Surrey mama Reply

    I completely agree with the tag team, we always try and do this to catch up on some sleep! And your number one coffee, I couldn’t survive without this. #coolmumclub

  24. fancypaperblog Reply

    Suffering major exhaustion too. Haven’t tried the bedspray trick. Will be having a go !

  25. Aleena Brown Reply

    We definitely tag team weekend lay in’s! I’m terrible for drinking coffee right up until bedtime, but I have been using a Headspace app recently that’s been talking me to sleep. Its brilliant! As ever, thanks for hosting #coolmumclub

  26. Confessions of a Working Mum Reply

    I sympathise so much with you. You find yourself clinging on to every bit of shut eye don’t you? I totally believe in sleep debt but tell myself it’s not forever. Soon enough we’ll be trying to drag our teenagers out of their pit at 11am on a Saturday and look back on these days and smile.. I bloody hope so anyway! #coolmumclub

  27. Louise Reply

    Climbing in to a bed with freshly laundered sheets after having a nice hot bath is utterly blissful. Sleep deprivation is so tough. I never used to drink anywhere near as much coffee as I do now – and if I’m grumpy in the mornings, the girls ask me if I need coffee! Having a decent pillow and a good sleeping position makes a difference – although options become limited once the girls climb into our bed! I’ve never heard of kiwis helping with sleep, will have to give that a try. Hope you get a little more sleep soon. #coolmumclub

  28. rockandrosesmama Reply

    I LOVE all of these! We have recently joined the memory foam club! Whoop! Ohmygosh I DO NOT miss the springs poking me all the time!!! And fresh sheets… yes! I spray the bead with Lavender scented Zoflora when I make it in the morning so it smells fresh and aids sleep too! Perfection <3 #coolmumclub

  29. talkingmums1 Reply

    Brilliant tips, I might have to try the Rituals spray. I don’t have caffeine after 5pm either and yep the reverse lie in is the only way! haha x

  30. Mrs Lighty Reply

    I’m just sitting here debating an early night but having one last look at my phone (oops!). I also feel permanently tired. Agree with you on the fresh sheets but have never heard of the kiwi thing…might give it a go!! #coolmumclub

  31. justsayingmum Reply

    kiwis, who knew?? I’m a terrible one for overthinking everything at night and then not being able to sleep but i’ve recently started mindfulness breathing – count to 4 as you inhale and 4 on exhale and focus purely on the counting – I swear I’m asleep in 5 seconds flat – has been a miracle for me! #coolmumclub

  32. Helena Reply

    Ah sleep deprivation I know it well. From being woken early by my girls to being asked why I’m listening to my body and going to bed early! Thanks for sharing your tips on how to get through this. #coolmumclub

  33. Mrs Mummy Harris Reply

    I’m always tired, even though Ben is an amazing sleeper. Im just always knackered! I used to sleep so heavy but i think parenthood turned me into a light sleeper so now im not fully rested. I also have zero lay ins and wake up earlier than i did on a weekday for getting ready for work even though our MIL gets Ben dressed so its just a nappy change that we do in the mornings.
    I think its more the fact that im always in mum mode even at work. ive become that co-worker that overly worries about colleagues and offers to help out anywhere and everywhere.. damn maternal instincts! #coolmumclub

  34. crummymummy1 Reply

    I’m in my jim jams as soon as we get home from the school run so this has made me feel better! #coolmumclub

  35. absolutely prabulous Reply

    I almost want to just leave the death knell of all blog comments and just safely say ‘great post’ because you’ll want to wrap your hands around my neck if I tell you we’ve never ever had sleepless nights after the babies were 10 months old, they don’t wake us up by coming into our room ever and I drink tea at night and can’t say I’ve noticed a difference between the nights when I don’t re sleeping any better. The kiwis thing has blown my mind! The tempur mattress we bought just before our first child was born is the best money we’ve ever spent and I’m so getting that lavender oil. #coolmumclub

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