Mom-Approved Tips For Beating Momsomnia

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mom awake with momsomnia

Whether you’re navigating life with a newborn or you have your hands full chasing around a toddler or two, motherhood is — in a word — exhausting. But even when you finally fall into bed at night, sleep can be elusive. Sound familiar? 

You may be experiencing momsomnia — part biology, part desperate need for me-time that means you’re willing to forego sleep to scroll through social media or zone out in front of the TV. We spoke with a certified sleep coach and some moms who have been there for tips on how to combat momsomnia so you can get the sleep you need.

What Is Momsomnia?

“Momsomnia, also known as revenge bedtime procrastination, has been around for a long time,” says Dr. Shelby Harris, Sleepopolis’ director of sleep health. “Essentially, when you’re a busy parent and your kids finally go to sleep, you want to steal back some of that time for yourself… you just want to watch TV and do the things you normally don’t get time to do during the day.” 

This might not seem like a huge deal — everyone needs a little me-time, right? — but getting it at the expense of your sleep can have serious ramifications. 

When moms don’t get enough sleep, they can experience moodiness, impaired memory and judgment, fatigue, and other short- and long-term symptoms of sleep deprivation. New moms are also at a greater risk of postpartum depression, Kelly Murray, a certified sleep coach, tells Sleepopolis. Over time, these problems get worse and can lead to serious health risks, including diabetes and heart attacks.

On top of that, women with children are already getting less sleep than men. Disrupted sleep often begins during pregnancy, and it worsens with a newborn. “Research has shown moms sleep for about 5-6 hours a night when they first bring home a baby versus the recommended 7 to 9 hours,”  says Murray. “For the first year, they lose just shy of two hours of sleep a night.”

Mom-Approved Tips For Combating Momsomnia

We polled moms for their tips on combating momsomnia — without giving up me-time entirely.

Put Down The Phone

A majority of the moms we spoke with recommended leaving the phone in another room entirely or powering it off to minimize the temptation for mindless bedtime scrolling, a tip Harris also advocates for. “I try leaving my phone downstairs to charge at night instead of right beside the bed,” says Megan Moffat, mom of two.

Bri Bannick, mom of three, suggests setting a timer if you really want to zone out with some television or scrolling. “It keeps you accountable, and you don’t feel horribly deprived or out of touch if you give yourself 20 or 30 minutes,” she says. 

A word of caution, however — remember that the blue light from devices used within an hour of falling asleep makes it harder to fall asleep and reduces sleep quality. 

Try Some Relaxation Techniques

A warm bath, a good book, guided meditation, or bedtime yoga can all be a wonderful way to treat yourself and signal your body that it’s time to wind down for sleep. Jordy Cirac, mom of three, finds reading before bed can be really relaxing. “It calms the mind of everything running through it from the day and what you may be worrying about for tomorrow,” she says.

Mindfulness podcasts are another option. “I put podcasts on almost every night to wind down,” says Moffat. “That way, I’m relaxing on the couch, but have something to unwind with that’s not just television or my phone.”

Get Your Kids On A Good Sleep Schedule

Harris, a mother of two herself, recommends getting your children on a good sleep schedule and letting the rest follow. “I recommend getting your kids on a good sleep schedule if you can, and then making time for yourself to really unwind,” she says. “But really set a hard and fast bedtime for yourself, and maybe give yourself 15 or 20 minutes to unwind before.” 

If you have older kids who still struggle with bedtime, check out our guide for sleep training older children

Build In Breaks During The Day

Marilyn York, mom of three, front-loads her day to ensure she has time for herself. “I wake up at 5 a.m. every day for an hour of me-time,” she says. Having a consistent wake-up like that can make it easier to fall asleep, too.

Building in breaks during the day is another option. “It’s a luxury, but tapping in someone else for some down time during the day is great,” says Shannon Magee, mom of two. Even if you don’t have someone else who can step in and give you a break during the day, look for opportunities as they come up. If your kids go down for a nap in the early afternoon, give yourself the gift of a little free time instead of stressing about housework or answering all those emails.

Lean On Your Partner

If you have a partner, have a discussion about sharing childcare responsibilities. Every family is different, but figuring out how you can work together to fairly manage household and childcare responsibilities can actually create stronger relationships. “Having my husband step in when he got home from work was always such a lifesaver,” says Sarah Grant, mom of four. “It gave me time for myself, and that’s so important.”

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Experts recommend building a calming bedtime routine, and our mom experts agree it can help. You’ll benefit from a cool, quiet, dark place to sleep, so make your bedroom as much of a sanctuary as you can. “My humidifier, my sleep mask, my soft sheets, and my pillow mist are so much better than zoning out with my phone,” says Allison Records, mom of two.

The Last Word From Sleepopolis 

Momsomnia may have a cutesy name, but it describes a real issue with real health risks. Prioritizing sleep may come at a cost, but moms are much better off getting the sleep they need and saving me-time for their regular waking hours.

Jessica Timmons

Jessica Timmons

Jessica Timmons has been working as a freelance writer since 2007, covering everything from pregnancy and parenting to cannabis, fitness, home decor, and much more. Her work has appeared in Healthline, mindbodygreen, Everyday Health, Pregnancy & Newborn, and other outlets. She loves weight lifting, a good cup of tea, and family time. You can connect with her on her website, Instagram, and LinkedIn.