Why Moms Need Sleep: Too Tired to Mom

Momming ain’t easy, and being tired is fo’ real. Moms spend so much of their days taking care of someone else, hardly thinking of themselves. Cutting up fruit to the precise angle in which your child will eat it. Worried that we aren’t reading to them enough, teaching them enough, giving them enough encouragement, while also letting them find themselves independently… We are always pushing ourselves to the limit. And we are often doing so on very little sleep, leaving us too tired to mom.

Moms are also unbearably overwhelmed. Not only do we hold ourselves to such high standards, the world does too. We have reached a new age of mothering: we are expected to do it all. Mothers are held to a new high standard, an unimaginable stress, and expectations, working, mothering, crafting, fixing, exercising. Moms must do it all, being all. For the most part we do all this and more: because we are super women. But even super women need some rest. We think we can all agree, we are all damn tired. 

We bare so much emotional responsibility, the weight of our children’s world on our shoulders because we care. We are good mothers, we worry out of love. But sometimes we must also take care of ourselves. 

The Importance of Sleep


Sleep is an essential ingredient to life. So many of our bodily functions correlate with good sleep habits. Moms are constantly juggling things, but a lack of sleep interferes with our ability to learn and concentrate. We may lose the ability to assess situations and make the best decisions. It may seem as if you are doing fine on less and less sleep, that you’ve gotten accustomed to less sleep, but if you were to actually test your mental alertness and performance you would see that it goes down.

Lack of sleep also interferes with other facets of our lives. It lowers motor skills, lowering our ability to concentrate on driving. It also lowers libido, thus decreasing our interest in sex due to our decreased energy. Lack of sleep shows up in our faces in the form of dark circles and puffy eyes. Your body produces more cortisol, which is the stress hormone. Cortisol breaks down collagen which helps to keep your skin elastic, thus your skin starts to look saggy.

As you sleep your body repairs itself. Lack of sleep can lead to serious health concerns such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and increased risk of obesity. Other serious mental health issues like depression, risky decisions, and suicide are heightened when we are tired. You may feel overly angry or have emotional outbursts, lack of motivation, or mood swings.

Signs of Sleep Deprivation


This should be obvious, right? Definition: if you woke up 1 million times before dawn, you are sleep deprived (aka a mom), but there are also some signs backed by science.

  • Moodiness and irritation are among the first signs – Even on our best days being a mom is hard; when we are predisposed to mood swings, it makes it even that much harder.
  • Indecisiveness – being unable to make a decision because your brain is foggy.
  • Always feeling hungry – Finish your kid’s plate much? Worse, you tend to crave things like carbs and high fat foods.
  • Forgetfulness – You aren’t paying as much attention as you should, therefore you forget some of what you are supposed to.
  • Illness – Cytokines are proteins that help fight off infection, and are produced when you are sleeping. Therefore, you get sick more often because your immune system is compromised.

How to Cope With Sleep Deprivation


  1. Mom Friends This cannot be stressed enough. We are all moms, we all need to vent, we all need to get it out. Find someone that listens, a person that loves and cares about you no matter what. Find them and cling to them. Tell them your worries, how tired you are, or just talk – if we bottle it up, the more anxious we become, which will backfire and keep us awake even more!
  2. Caffeine Hello, my friend, is that you? The go-to pick me up of many. Don’t forget dark chocolate and green tea are also good options if coffee isn’t for you.
  3. Help – You know it takes two to tango? So, if there is a dad in the bed next to you, wake his ass up. He can help with that sleepy baby. Do not feel like you have to do it all. If you are a single mom (props to you) then call on one of your mom friends, your own mom, sister, whomever, because we can’t stay awake forever. And we cannot hold up the world on our own, it takes a village right? So, don’t be afraid to utilize that village.

Will I Ever Sleep Again


The short answer is: yes, there is an end in sight. Or at least a reprieve, because while our teenagers may not need us to tuck them in at night or fix a sock that’s fallen off, we may lie awake worrying about so many more things. So, maybe the real answer is yes, you will sleep, until you don’t sleep again. We stay awake because we care, because we love our kiddos so deeply, and because they need our love so much. But hey, mommin’ ain’t easy, but we are killing it (even if we are tired) fo’ real. 

Still need a pick me up? Check out our article Why Moms Need To Drink Coffee and continue to check back for more of our Why Moms Need ____ Series.

Sources: NIH, American Psychological Association, WebMd, Health

Photo Credits: Ashley Wells, Danielle

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Ashley Wells

Ashley lives in North Carolina, with her husband, 4 year old little girl and infant son. She has dreamed of being a SAHM since she was a little girl and now enjoys living out this dream by making everyday adventures with her two tiny sidekicks. She loves yoga, fitness, dark chocolate, and wine. She's an organizer of playdates, preschool happenings, and girls night outs. She's an encourager of making messes, finding passions, and dreaming the impossible.

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