Last night I woke up at 3:30 a.m., my mind racing with the myriad of tasks that need doing. I was wide awake and it took me well over an hour and a half to get back to sleep. This was definitely a first for me and, I desperately hope, not a sign of things to come. My own mother loves to talk about how well I slept as a child and my husband never stops being amazed by how quickly I'm off to dreamland once my head hits the pillow at night. But, I know this is not the case for lots of moms.
A recent survey of 500 moms found that over half of us fail to get the sleep we need (seen a Lunesta commercial lately?) and that mothers who work full time outside the home suffer the most. Even 48% of stay-at-home moms felt like they did not get the sleep they needed. Not surprisingly, most of the mothers surveyed said they would be happier and much better parents if they got enough sleep. If you've ever had to work at night or get up in the wee hours to nurse a baby or tend to a sick child, you know how true this is.
So, why all those wide eyes? Worries about tackling all the things on our "to do" lists and stressing about family finances are among the top culprits. And, while a soak in a hot tub or cup of warm milk might be the remedy that some moms need, it doesn't get at the root of the problem. The fact is that we live in a society that talks a good family values game but hasn't put its money where its mouth is when it comes to supporting the important work that mothers (and fathers, for that matter) do in caring for our children and families. Not only is this causing us to lose sleep but it's affecting our overall health and well-being.
I can't help but think that a few more family-friendly policies and a little relief from the time and economic pressures we face would go a long way in helping us get the rest we need.