Being a mom and getting beauty sleep… is that a joke? No, just far from reality. During the first year with a new baby, we lose almost 3 hours of sleep a day. Multiply this and you will have lost close to 45 total days of sleep in that year.
We lose precious nighttime sleep for many reasons.
Babies (and older kids) wake us up when they are hungry. Often they need fresh diapers in the middle of the night, and sometimes there are accidents and clothing and crib sheets need to be changed too. They need our help and company going to sleep, and falling back asleep after waking up. They might wake us up with a wail if they are teething or gassy. And when they do sleep, whether it’s during naptime or nighttime, we often skip our own nap or go to bed late in order to fit in chores. And even if we do get in bed, we may just lie awake worrying about them and then get up to check on them.
While all this happens, we lose our beauty sleep.
For me, it was 3+ years of poor sleep.
In my case, I had twins who were born at 30 weeks. One of them had reflux and required not only medication, but also had to sit upright for 30 minutes after each feeding (every 3-4 hours). I lost a lot of sleep during the pregnancy and after they were born due to constant worry as well. We had lots of concerns during the pregnancy (long story for a different day), then the twins spent around eight weeks in the NICU, and then came home in time for colic to kick in! Long story short, the first time we did not wake up every 30 minutes was THREE AND A HALF YEARS after they were born! Getting beauty sleep was really a joke.
So, what makes it beauty sleep?
There are different stages of sleep, including the famous REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. They are all important. During sleep, our memories are imprinted in our brains. There are proteins and processes required for us to remember things. So, yes, being knowledgeable and smart makes you pretty, attractive. If you are tired all the time and cannot remember things at your job outside your home, trust me, it will be ugly.
“Get at least 8 hours of beauty sleep, 9 if you’re ugly.”
~ Betty White.
Our sleep does in fact affect our physical beauty.
While we sleep, our faces can change day-to-day and over time. Unfortunately, we can develop wrinkles based on the position we sleep in and the shape of our face. But, if we don’t sleep it is worse. Studies have been done in the US and Sweden and they have found that good sleepers (more than 7 hours), have lower intrinsic aging scores and their skin can have “30% greater barrier function compared to poor sleepers.” We all have seen it, but these studies prove that people who are “sleep deprived have more swollen eyes, darker circles, more wrinkles, fine lines and more droopy corners of the eyes.” (Sources at the end)
Melatonin is another reason to call it beauty sleep.
Melatonin is really a hormone that is produced while we are sleeping in darkness. People who are exposed to total darkness will have more melatonin than people who do not. So, it is important to not use a TV or cellphone at bedtime.
We can take melatonin as a supplement to help us sleep and to deal with jetlag. But, let us review what it is capable of. Melatonin contributes to our beauty sleep because it is a wonderful anti-oxidant that protects our DNA, proteins, and lipids. It lessens the damage caused to our brain cells by different proteins. Also, it has been known to improve our immune function, which makes us healthier. In turn, we look healthier, which makes us more beautiful.
“The man who uses intelligence with respect to his diet, his sleeping habits and who exercises properly, is beyond any question of doubt taking the very best preventive medicines provided so freely and abundantly by nature.”
~ Joseph Pilates
So, what can we do to get our beauty sleep?
Obviously, trying to get your baby into a routine is priority number one. Trust me, we tried everything, from bundling, to special oils, to Ferberizing, to you name it. We were not that lucky. But this is the first option: Develop a routine for your baby and yourself. Determine when your baby will go to sleep and plan to go to bed at the same time. Stop all social media and high stimulation around an hour before bedtime, drink chamomile tea, play relaxing music or guided meditation (The Honest Guys on Youtube are great). One of the best gifts a friend has ever given me is to offer to care for my twins one night. That is a night I will always remember. We slept. Thus, getting help from family and friends is one way to get some quality beauty sleep.
So, keep in mind, to care for others properly and continue to be beautiful on the inside and outside you have to get your beauty sleep. Yes, it should be a priority, even while also being a mom. And no, it’s not a joke.