With four kids under seven, I’ve become an expert on what sleep deprivation does to your mind and body. Lack of sleep is not okay – unless you don’t need to make sense in conversation and you actually want to crave donuts all day.

I hate feeling sleep deprived, so I’ve become an expert on how to get as much sleep as possible. Here are my tricks for a restful night, even if it’s only until someone wakes you up at 3am to tell you there’s a hamburger monster in the bathroom…

  • Stop looking at screens. No doubt you’re being bombarded with this advice from all directions, and there’s a reason for that – steering clear of screens is good for you. The artificial light emitted from screens tricks your brain and stops your body from wanting to fall asleep. Try turning off the television and switching your phone to airplane mode two hours before bed. Trust me, you can wait till the morning to find out how Sally’s trip to Thailand is going via Facebook.
  • If you absolutely cannot get away from your screen, download an automatic light-adjusting app (I like the f.lux app). Basically these types of apps alter the amount of red versus blue light that you see at different times of the day. So if you can’t end the day without checking the latest to land on your Facebook feed, you’ll at least be minimizing the damage to your sleep cycle.
  • Hit the gym earlier. Working out late at night could be messing with your sleep, especially if your group fitness class is hype. We all need to wind down from exercise, so try to get your workout done a few hours before bed, or stick to something calming like BODYBALANCE™.

This final tip is the toughest…

  • When I made the decision to cut caffeine, I actually cried. For me, coffee is like beautiful music you can drink. Coffee is what made me feel alive, even after a night of poop-filled nappies and nightmares. But I’ve found that cutting the caffeine is what has made the biggest difference of all. Caffeine stays in your system for hours, even the whole day, and it made me sleep badly. If you can’t quit completely, try to stop drinking coffee after 10am. Remember, chocolate often has caffeine in it, so it’s not an ideal dessert – I am so, so sorry.

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