Get Better Sleep as a Working Mom by Using These 6 Baby Sleep Tips

Sleep Tips for Working Mothers: Get Some Zzzzs Tonight!2017 Update: We still stand by these sleep tips for working mothers — you may also want to check out our most recent discussion of how to deal with sleep deprivation as a working mom.

If you search on Amazon for “baby sleep advice” books, you’ll find more than 200 books. Google “baby sleep advice” and you’ll get almost 35,000,000 results. As a mom, did you ever think you could use some of those tips to get better sleep yourself? OK, maybe you won’t be swaddling yourself, using a pacifier, or gazing at one of those pretend aquariums anytime soon, but many other baby sleep tips can help you get better sleep. Some great sleep tips for working mothers include:

  1. Stick to a regular bedtime routine. For babies, a bedtime routine might look like bath-book-feed. You can create your own routine to signal to yourself that it’s time for sleep. Try something like this: 1) Put away your work and stop checking work email. 2) Write a list of things to do the next day so they won’t be swirling around your brain when you want to relax. 3) Change into your pajamas. 4) Do something relaxing and screen-free, like reading a book, journaling, or coloring. 5) Go to bed at roughly the same time every night (even on weekends). 6) Listen to something relaxing and/or boring, like “the most relaxing song ever,” a relaxing or purposely-boring podcast such as Sleep With Me, a white noise app, or an ocean-sounds Spotify playlist.

  1. Put away your phone, iPad, tablet, etc. Just like kids, adults should set aside devices before bedtime to get better sleep. This is a particularly important sleep tip for working mothers! Avoid looking at bright screens for two to three hours before bed, or at least use an app like f.lux, which adjusts your screen’s light according to the time of day. Any kind of light can suppress your body’s melatonin production (melatonin is a hormone that affects your sleep/wake cycle), but blue light, of which digital screens are a major source (along with CFLs), does this to an even greater extent.
  2. Speaking of light, try blackout shades. Blackout shades or curtains can work wonders for kids and adults alike. Here’s a tip: We saved money by only using one curtain of each pair of blackout curtains to cover each window in my son’s room, and we hung them up with a cup hook at each corner of the window frame. No one’s going to be featuring it in a home decorating magazine, but it’s easy and it works, and the shades are put to the side during the day, anyway. (I recommend using curtains that don’t have a row of grommets along the top; ours have one small one in each corner.)
  3. Another sleep aid that’s not just for kids: weighted blanketsUse a heavy comforter, or go for something designated as a weighted blanket from companies like The Magic Blanket or Mosaic Weighted Blankets, or Etsy sellers, some of whom do custom orders.
  4. Do some relaxing yoga. Like we mentioned in the Corporette discussion of insomnia and professional women, research studies have often found that yoga can help people sleep better — but be sure to avoid vigorous styles of yoga, because being too active before bed can increase your adrenaline and brain activity, which makes it hard to rest. Here are 15 specific poses to try, from Yoga Journal. (Yoga Journal also has recommendations for kids.)
  5. Read a sleep-friendly book. For babies and kids, this may mean The Rabbit Who Wants to Go to Sleep or Goodnight Moon. Grownups can read one of these 10 books recommended by Bustle (from Salman Rushdie to Eudora Welty) or check out the Paris Review’s “Sleep Aid, a series devoted to curing insomnia with the dullest, most soporific texts available in the public domain.” Titles include History of the Beef Cattle Industry in Illinois and Cold Storage, Heating, and Ventilating on Board Ship. Fascinating!

How do you try to get better sleep at night? Have you borrowed any tips for babies and kids in your own quest to get better sleep? If you’ve tried any of the tips above, which of them have been helpful? In general, what are your best sleep tips for working mothers? 

Pictured: Pixabay


  1. Mommy Monster says:

    Can I get some recommendations for birthday party favors for my 4-year old? Our “theme” (from the invitation) is sort of pink (blech) and castle-y (yay) but we’re having the party at one of those indoor play area places. I was thinking some Melissa and Doug fairy tale hand puppets, which work out to a couple bucks a piece on Amazon, but I am totally open to suggestions that do or do not go with any theme.

    • Anon in NOVA says:

      I’ve always had good luck with Oriental Trading dot com for party favours.

    • anne-on says:

      I try to stick with consumable stuff and/or arts and crafts. As a huge grinch about bringing anymore plastic junk into the house, I try to spare others as well. So, pencils, mini-play doh, mini stampers, tattoos, and candy (or your choice of kid friendly snack) are our go-to items in a color-coordinated treat bag. All these things are available on amazon or party city depending on your preference.

      • Maddie Ross says:

        Oh goodness, please no mini-stampers. I hate these things. They always lose their lids and end up stamping things unintentionally. I agree with the other consumables though. And in this case I actually think the M&D hand puppets are a totally cute themed idea.

    • Anonymous says:

      Handpuppets sound lovely. I prefer when party favors isn’t a bunch of small plastic items. Either consumables (food/tattoos/stickers) or a small ‘nicer’ toy.

      I’ve also had a hula hoop and a ball given as favors at other parties.

    • EB0220 says:

      As the mother of a 4 year old I agree with the above – stickers, food, tattoos.

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      I would greatly prefer hand puppets to pencils, tattoos, play doh, and candy (son is 6). I end up throwing out all that kind of stuff asap.
      Also, I would vote for a candidate whose platform included banning birthday party favors.

    • mascot says:

      Books are always good. We handed out Mr. Bounce books (from that Mr Men and Little Ms series) when we had a party at an indoor jump house. I think they were about $3 each. I’ve also seen people wrap up a bunch of the Golden books and hand one out to each kid (cuts down on kids trying to pick a favorite)

    • Meg Murry says:

      Another easy not too annoying favor my son has gotten was a mylar balloon and a tube of bubbles. The balloons were the party decorations and then handed out at the end of the party. Quick, easy, disposable and fairly cheap.

      Of course, this is in a car centric place where we drove to the party, were able to task an aunt with buying and bringing the balloons and all the kids were driven to and from the party. I could see trying to travel with a giant bundle of balloons on public transit might not work so well.

  2. Anon in NOVA says:

    I find re-reading a book helps me go to sleep. If I’m bothering to re-read it, it’s interesting enough to distract my brain from swirling, but since I’ve read it before I’m not tempted to stay up late into the night to see what happens. Works great for me. My kindle suddenly offered the ability to turn off the blue light (it makes the screen go orange, but it’s still readable) at night and that seems to have helped. Not sure why one of them started suddenly offering it but my others don’t!

  3. Anonymous says:

    White noise. We started using white noise with #1 (I coslept in her room), and #2 slept in our room for the first 4 mos with white noise. Now DH and I find that WE require it! The only trouble is the sound of rain is now likely to make all four of us fall over.

    • CPA Lady says:

      We do “ocean sounds” white noise for our daughter. We’re taking her to the beach for the first time next month and I’m wondering if she’s going to fall asleep on the sand.

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