Sleep it off: The wonders of a good night’s rest

Sleep is a wonderful thing. It’s no secret: a full night’s rest tops the list of elusive pleasures for most new moms. Where seven, eight or nine hours may have been the norm, five consecutive hours could now be a delight.

Knocking off early or sleeping in late sounds like a dream, right? Actually it’s more than a dream.  For we mamas trying to improve fitness and drop pounds, a good sound slumber can be a dream come true!

The human body is a miraculous creation. Can I get an amen?!  While we sleep our bodies are still hard at work  repairing, replenishing, and lots of other neat stuff. There are processes happening overnight that specifically affect weight loss like muscle building and appetite regulation. Research has shown that inadequate sleep can hinder weight loss efforts. Conversely, proper sleep patterns help the cause. I chose a communications major over kinesiology so my biology lesson ends there, sorry!

You don’t need a science degree to understand that sleep and fitness share a reciprocal relationship. Being fit can help you sleep better. Being rested can help you perform better – in the gym and otherwise. And so you’ll hear trainers refer to sleep as an overlooked part of fitness.

Knowing this, you’d think I’d be catching zees whenever possible. “Sleep when baby sleeps” everyone says. Not me. Unless I’m totally zonked, I use nap time to eat, pump milk, clean, email, etc. Take now for instance. Naomi is in dreamland as I type. Darn, probably just jinxed it! LOL.

Nighttime is even worse. I’m often up writing well past midnight praying baby won’t need a surprise overnight feeding when I finally do turn in. A few hours later, I’m up for the regular routine of feedings, changes and play before going to the gym.

I know better. I am vowing here and now to make this lifestyle change for the sake of my fitness efforts. And the dark circles under my eyes. It would suck to be holding onto extra weight months from now simply because I wouldn’t get a good night’s sleep. Plus there’s all the other benefits of sleep that are especially great for new moms. The blowouts are easier to deal with when you’re not dead tired, right? Yep, sleep is a wonderful thing. If Naomi will give me seven hours, I’ll take them!

Once baby is down, what’s your next move? Bed? Kitchen? Computer?

GOOD TO KNOW: Weekly fitness programs should include rest days to allow for proper recovery.

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8 Comments

Filed under Fitness

8 responses to “Sleep it off: The wonders of a good night’s rest

  1. kirstenheyerdahl

    I would kill for a five hour stretch of sleep! I seldom nap when Calvin is napping, because it is a treasured time when I can do the dishes or tidy the house. I get to nap when family is over watching the baby, so that I can get a guaranteed couple of hours — as soon as I have fed him I pass him off and jump into bed. This only happens a couple of times a week. I live for the weekend when my husband is home to help me out.

  2. I always thought the ‘sleep when baby sleeps’ was a bit hard. I hate to admit, but I usually go running for the computer in those in between times. I’m generally too wired right after getting the wee one down to go to bed myself. And lately when I manage to get kid to take a nap during the day time I try to go for a run. I’ve set up my treadmill right beside her crib, and ironically the whir of the motor tends to help lull the little one to sleep 🙂

    • Debbie King

      Re: Treadmill beside crib. That’s so awesome Jen! I never would have thought of that.

      How do your runs feel? I still find it a bit too high impact myself.

      • When I say run, I should really be saying really fast walking + a very short jog tacked onto the end. I haven’t been able to go as hard as I’ve wanted, because like you have described – I am still really sore (when I run too hard my uterus feels like it might fall out :). I got scared off high impact after reading up on loose ligaments as it relates to the pelvic floor. However after 3 months – I got anxious to get back at it, so I started slow. Now at 4 months I don’t feel like it is any better yet, but the “runs” are doing a world of good mentally. Some contradictory reading seem to suggest that the hormone relaxin leaves the body from 4 weeks to as long as 5 months after birth. Ugh

  3. Pauline

    Bad-habit-Mom, here! I tend to lie down with my kids to get them to sleep. As such, lately I have been falling asleep at 8pm every night. Really puts a damper on hanging out with the hubby!! 😦
    As for naps, you KNOW I’m on the computer whatever chance I get. lol
    When it was just me and Lily, though, I did nap with her quite often. It was a really sweet luxury! But now it’s kind of impossible. She hardly naps and I don’t think she’d appreciate if I lay down to sleep with Marcus while she sat around by herself. LOL!

  4. Don’t worry. I never got sleep and I still lost weight – actually too much at one point. You will sleep again. As a matter of fact, I got about 8 hours last night. I’m still wearing the clothes I went to work in yesterday, and woke up next to Ione who had just peed her bed but – Hey! – I got sleep! LOL

  5. Lyris MacEachern

    I dream of sleeping when my baby is sleeping but having a 4yr old that does not nap makes it tough..however when I do have a chance I end up doing house chores and at that time I do not feel sleepy at all. I think its a mothers/woman’s nature to keep doing the things they need to do in their life. ie. My 4yr old went to the movies with her dad today and I stayed home with the baby…he slept most of the time, what did I do? Treadmill, shower, laundry and computer. Perhaps in the back of my mind I think if I napped…the things I need to do will still be waiting for me! Mine as well get a head start.

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