Mom’s Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep

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When was the last time you got a good night’s sleep? Got your attention yet?

Sleep is the one thing moms want – and NEED – more of! The average American woman gets only 6.5 hours of sleep a night. That’s much less than needed. ModernMom got a chance to interview Dr. Donnica Moore about ways you can improve your sleeping habits so you get more Zzz’s and less hazy days.

MM: Can you reveal the truth about some common sleep myths?

DM: There are so many sleep myths, but probably the most prevalent is that it doesn’t really matter how much sleep you get or that you can make it up later. We need 7 to 9 hours sleep, and most of us get 6 1/2 hours of sleep or less.

What special tricks will help me fall asleep and stay asleep?

The number one trick is to turn off the TV. Most of us are in bed watching TV or leaving the Internet on or on Facebook. Those kinds of things are just detrimental to our sleep.

Are midday naps worth it?

They can be very helpful, especially to those who can do the 20 minute power nap. Studies have shown that naps can increase your longevity, though getting nighttime sleep is preferred.

What is the biggest barrier to women getting enough sleep?

The biggest barrier to women getting enough sleep is kids, and then second is their husbands! We also need to remember that when everybody is asleep, that’s not the best time to do things like laundry. Laundry will wait. Also, medical problems can keep us up. Women are twice as likely than men to have sleep disorders.

Is there anything I can do to help myself/my husband stop snoring?

Snoring is a major marital conflict! Many spouses actually use a tape recorder to tape their spouses snoring to confront them. If your partner has a significant snoring problem though, the most important thing is to get him to a doctor because this may be a sign of a major medical problem like sleep apnea. This can have terrible health consequences, but the good news is it is treatable.

My husband and I have different mattress preferences. Is there a way to reconcile our differences so both of us can still get great sleep?

One of the great marriage mysteries is how two people with different preferences can actually sleep together in the same bed. Allocating a mattress that works well for both of you is as important as life or death. This is one of the reasons I really like individual pocketed springs like Simmons has, which limits motion transfer. Basically, every time he rolls over you won’t wake up.

My kids never go to sleep the first time I put them to bed–any advice?

Kids not going to sleep on time can be a major mommy problem. The most important advice is to try to be consistent with their bedtime routine. Set good sleep habits early on. I’m not a believer in having infants cry themselves to sleep. But by the time your child is a preschooler, they should be sleeping regularly through the night. Identify what the problem is and take slow, consistent steps to resolve that problem.

What are your best tips for getting a great night’s sleep?

My best tip is to go to bed on time. Most of us aren’t going to bed early enough, and then we are waking up too early.

Dr. Donnica Moore has been on Oprah, The View, Good Morning America and other shows. She is also the "Doctor on Call" columnist for First for Women magazine and has been featured in more than 40 publications including Business Week, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Additionally, Dr. Moore served on the Boards of Directors of the American Medical Women’s Association, the Society for Women’s Health Research, and Research!America.

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