Before having kids, moms were better equipped to handle long nights without sleep. Whether it was pulling all-nighters, studying, or dancing into the wee hours of the morning, they could somehow pull themselves together and make it through the next day at work. But, when a baby is in the picture, trying to deal with lack of sleep, and actually be functional and productive at work, can be nearly impossible.
Being a new mom is wonderful, but let’s be honest... It can also be maddening. Certainly, new moms feel tired before the baby arrives, but it's not even close to the fatigue they experience once the baby comes. Having to care for the baby every few hours and taking quick cat-naps between feedings is hardly restful and rejuvenating – especially when it happens every single night for weeks or months on end.
All moms feel pressure, but for new moms who have to work – especially when they haven’t gotten decent sleep in who knows how long – the pressure is even greater. So, how can new moms who are returning to work beat their exhaustion, stay awake, and be productive on the job?
Here are some tips that could really help…
13 One Word: Caffeine
Caffeine is every mom’s best friend, especially when she has to go to work after a long, sleepless night of taking care of the baby. Ladies, make sure to stock up on caffeine and a reliable coffee pot before the baby arrives and, most especially, after the baby arrives. You’re going to need it! Before going to “bed" at night (notice we didn’t say sleep, because chances are you aren’t going to be getting much of it) make sure your coffee pot is fully loaded and you have the timer set so your coffee starts brewing before your alarm clock goes off. And, don’t forget to bring coffee along with you to the office or familiarize yourself with all of the coffee spots close to your work; you’re likely going to need a few pick-me-ups to make it through the day.
12 Make Time For A Workout Sesh
Yes, we know how exhausted you are, and yes, we know that the last thing you probably want to do after a long, sleepless night is pull yourself out of bed and go to the gym. But believe us, you’ll be glad that you did.
Working out has been found to significantly boost energy levels; plus, it helps to release endorphins, which are those feel-good chemicals that your brain naturally produces. This means if you make time to exercise, you may have more throughout the day. Plus, those released endorphins can even put you in a better mood.
Another bonus of exercising: You’ll be able to shed some pounds, tone up your body, and work on being in the best shape of your life. Now, we call that a win-win-win!
11 Take A Stroll With The Baby
If you’re not someone who likes going to the gym, you can still get in a good workout. By taking a brisk walk outside, you can spend some quality time with your baby before you have to depart for your day at work. Just like any other form of exercise, a brisk walk can energize you and put you in a better mood. Plus, you’ll have a few minutes to really enjoy some bonding time with your little one without any distractions, all the while taking in the beauty of nature and breathing in the fresh air. If the weather isn’t cooperating, consider going for your walk inside a shopping mall, for example. Although the element of nature wont be there, you will still get some time to clear your mind, recharge your batteries, enhance your mood, and gear yourself up for the workday ahead.
10 Fuel Up With Protein
Add some more protein to your diet.
Research has found that not consuming enough protein is one of the leading causes of fatigue, so if you aren’t eating enough of it and you are up all night with the baby, you’re going to be doubly tired.
While you may not be able to control if the baby wakes in the middle of the night, you can certainly control how much protein you eat during the day. It takes the body a lot longer to break down proteins than it does to break down other nutrients, such as carbs. When you eat a diet that is high in protein, will be fuller for longer and you will have an energy source that lasts. So, trade in your go-to bagel breakfast and opt for hard boiled eggs instead. Meats, nuts, and dairy products like cottage cheese and yogurt are also great options to include in your diet. You’ll be much more energized and ready to tackle the day.
9 It's All About Breakfast
If mama always used to say that breakfast is the most important part of the day, well guess what – she wasn’t lying.
Breakfast is the meal that sets the tone for the rest of the day. Research has found that eating breakfast can actually make you more alert, as it jumpstarts your metabolism and gets things moving inside your body. In other words, breakfast can give you the energy that you'll need to get your inner motor running. Skip it, and you’ll find yourself dragging butt even more.
Yes, we know that working moms have little time, but that’s no reason to skip out on breakfast. Grab a high fiber and high protein granola bar with some fruit; crack up some hardboiled eggs; spread some peanut butter on toast and top it with bananas. These are all quick and healthy breakfast items that will boost your energy and get your day started on the right foot.
8 Don't Forget The Snacks
Ever notice how women get grumpy and tired when their belly starts to rumble? Well, that’s because when women are hungry, their blood sugar levels drop. This can cause women to feel pretty lethargic. If you want to combat the drops in your blood sugar, along with those mid-day crashes, it is important to nibble on some snacks throughout the day. The trick here is to choose healthy snacks, so skip out on those bags of salty chips and chocolate candy bars and instead, pack yourself a nutritious snack. Trail mix, nuts, cheese and crackers, mixed fruits, and fresh veggies and dip are all great options. You’ll satiate your hunger between meals, prevent your blood sugar levels from dropping and get the energy you need to power through your work day.
7 Stay Hydrated
Water is such a vital element, especially for moms who may be nursing. If you’re not drinking enough water throughout the day, you will can get dehydrated, which could end up making you lose energy and feel deflated as the day goes on.
Suggestion? Keep a source of drinking water within arm’s reach at all times. You don’t need to buy a juice, fancy vitamin water, or sports drinks either. These beverages add extra and unnecessary calories and sugar to your diet, which can actually make you feel more tired by the end of the day. It's that simple, all you need is good old fashioned plain water.
If you want to add some flavor to your water, add in some lemons, cucumbers, oranges, limes, berries, or even peppermint and ginger. This way, you’ll improve the taste of your water and get the added benefit of more vitamins and minerals!
6 Keep Off The Carbs
Carbs are so tempting and so tasty. There is nothing more satisfying than a bowl of spaghetti, a bagel with cheese, or a bag of chips. Why are carbs so tempting and why do they taste so good? Well, carbs are the source of fuel that your body prefers. However, though your body may crave them, eating too much of the wrong types of carbs can cause your energy levels to seriously drop.
It doesn’t take much time for your body to digest food, which means you don’t hold onto them for long, and your body runs out of fuel more quickly. Just like a car stops moving when it runs out of gas, the same thing happens to your body. You can try to push your body, but it’s going to be tough.
You don’t have to eliminate carbs completely from your diet. You just need to be wise about your food choices. Opt for whole grains instead of processed carbs and keep tabs on how much you are eating.
5 Up The Magnesium Intake
Magnesium is such an important mineral but, unfortunately, a lot of people don’t get enough of it.
Magnesium helps the body turn carbs into energy, which enables you to get the most nutrition from the carbs that you do eat. As a result, you’ll have higher energy levels, which means you will have an easier time staying awake while you’re hard at work – or anywhere else, for that matter.
Whole grains and dark, leafy green veggies are loaded with magnesium, so make sure to incorporate more of them into your diet. Veggies such as spinach and kale are great options. You can also take a magnesium supplement, but just make sure you speak to your doctor first to find out if it’s the best option for you and how much you should take.
4 Get Up And Get Out
Sitting in the same spot, in the same location, and in the same position for a long period of time is bound to make anyone tired. Even if you've gotten a long and fantastic night of rest or you're a mom who hasn't gotten a decent amount of sleep in ages. But if you're sitting at your work desk and you start to feel yourself drifting off, get up and get out!
When you feel a wave of fatigue coming over you, get up from your desk, get out of your office (or wherever it is that you work), and move! Go outside and take a walk around the block. Stand under the sun and soak it all in. Take in deep breaths of fresh air and get rid of the recycled air you’ve been breathing in while you’re working. When you change your surroundings and move around, you’ll stimulate your brain and get the blood flowing. In doing so, you’ll feel more awake.
3 Change The Lighting
Light has a dramatic effect on your mood. If you work in a dimly lit space, you’re naturally going to feel more tired, which is no good for moms who are already having trouble keeping their eyes open. Also, if you work in a space that's lit by fluorescent lights, they’ll make you feel even more tired too.
By making some adjustments to the lighting in your workspace, this can help you stay awake, alert, and focused. If possible, open up the blinds and let the sun shine in. If you don’t have access to windows, switch fluorescent bulbs with blue hues with ones that emit more natural yellow light. If there just isn’t enough light in your workspace, bring in some more! Place a lamp or two on your desk and you may end up feeling more awake and alert.
2 Jam Out To Music
It’s no secret that music can have a profound impact on someone's mood. So when you’re feeling sleepy, listening to music can help to wake you up. The trick here though is choosing the right tunes to listen to. Skip out on those ballads and anything that has melodic instrumentals; they’ll probably lull you right off to sleep. Instead, opt for upbeat and energetic songs. Listen to something with a catchy tune, a good percussion, or a song that will make you tap your fingers, bobble your head, and even hum along to.
Can’t play music in your workspace? Load up your playlist and pop in an ear bud (leave one out so you can hear what’s going on around you.) You won’t believe how much more awake you will feel when you’re listening to some upbeat music.
1 Take a Nap
When all else fails, take a nap. No, we’re not kidding. If it’s at all possible, try to squeeze in as much Zs at work as you can without slacking off from your job. While you're on a 15 minute break, or on your lunch break, draw the curtains in your office shut, lean back in your chair, and get some much needed shut eye. If you don't have an office you can nap in, you could also head out to your car. Yes, your car! Push the seat back, close your eyes, and give yourself some rest. But don't forget to set an alarm so you can wake up in time before your break ends. How embarrassing would it be to sleep through the rest of the workday?
We know that napping at work isn’t exactly the best solution, but desperate times call for desperate measures.