Power on, mama: 5 tips for working after a sleepless night

As a working mother, getting everything done is hard enough as it is.

Power on, mama: 5 tips for working after a sleepless night

On a recent night, I found myself up at 3:45 am, sitting in my son’s room, desperately trying to get him back to sleep.

On nights like that, when I’m up in the middle of the night, I also find myself anxiously looking at the clock and thinking about everything I need to get done in the office the next day.

As a working mother, getting everything done is hard enough as it is.

Working after being up in the middle of the night, sometimes most of the night, with your little one is harder still.

Here are 5 ways that Motherly mamas stay focused at the office after a sleepless night with baby.

Get your priorities straight.

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You’ll likely be moving a bit slower and having a harder time staying focused, so take a few extra minutes at the start of the day to prioritize what’s on your plate for the day.

Try picking the top five things you need to get done, and focus on those before anything else.

If you accomplish them—AMAZING. If you don’t, hopefully you’ll have made a dent on top-priority items.

And hey, you showed up.

On the roughest days, that totally counts.


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This is easier if you work from home or have a flexible work schedule, but if you can, take a nap.

It doesn’t have to be a long nap (we know you probably don’t have a lot of time to spare.)

Just a 20-minute power nap can increase alertness, stamina and help your long-term memory.

You can also try a magical experience called a caffeine nap (you drink a cup of coffee before a short rest) so that you’re waking up at the same time the caffeine hits your system.

Allow yourself to take breaks.

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Take breaks even if you are overwhelmed by everything on your to do list.

Breaks will help you refocus, especially when you’re exhausted.

One of our Motherly mamas keeps a beverage nearby for micro-breaks and rewards every time she finishes a task.

Every 10 to15 minutes, she stretches, hydrates and resets.

At least once an hour she gets up to walk around, and every four or five hours, she goes outside for what she calls a “real break.”

This is all about survival.

Go outside and take a walk.

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The exercise helps to get the blood pumping, and sunlight helps regulate our bodies’ natural rhythms. Neurologist and sleep specialist Clete Kushida tells Everyday Health, “Getting bright light in the morning syncs the [brain’s circadian pacemaker] and enables the brain to remain more awake.”

Nourish your body.

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We know it’s tempting to eat quick snacks high in sugar when you’re super exhausted, but your best bet is to fuel yourself with high quality foods.

You need all the extra help you can get today to look alive, and eating poorly will only make it harder on you.

Try healthy snacks such as hard-boiled eggs, chia pudding, nuts, a banana or whole-grain toast.

Oh—and tonight, it’s dad’s turn to get up.

This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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Now, more than ever, we need to hear those good news stories.

Last week was a week.

We lost a legal and cultural icon with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and deadly wildfires continue to blaze on the West Coast. Now, more than ever, we need to see creativity, kindness and compassion in our world—we need to hear those "good news" stories, but we also need to see the headlines that show us how and why the world needs to change .

And right now both kinds of stories are going viral.

Here are the viral stories you need to read right now:

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