According to the CDC, one in three American adults aren’t getting at least seven hours of sleep per night and that stat is likely even higher for working moms with kids under the age of 18. 

Every stage of motherhood poses a threat to our sleep. Obviously the newborn phase is the toughest, when we’re nursing and changing diapers around the clock. Then the infant stage arrives and poses challenges when we’re working on sleep training. The toddler stage is next and is often filled with bedtime tantrums, potty training and bad dreams about scary monsters. The preschool and elementary school stages may still involve some bedtime protesting and bad dreams and the teenage stage may involve worrying throughout the night about missed curfews, peer pressure, getting into college and more.

And this doesn’t even include all of our work stresses that impact our sleep, such as working late nights to finish a quarterly business review presentation, catching an early morning flight at the crack of dawn for an important client meeting and never-ending deadlines and administrative tasks to complete, such as writing performance reviews and submitting expense reports.

However, there’s hope for working moms to take back control of our sleep. It just involves a little organization, planning and discipline. Here are four ways to do just that. 

1. Put away all screens an hour before bedtime: Yes, it might be hard to put away our screens when we tell ourselves that sending those last three emails will mean a less stressful day at work tomorrow. It may also be hard to stop our venting session over text with our girlfriend about our husband’s snoring or how much we dislike making school lunches. However, it’s important to be vigilant about closing computer, tablet and smart phone screens an hour before bedtime so we can truly wind down, get a good night’s sleep and be more productive the next day. Storing these screens outside our bedroom is one of the best ways to be disciplined about putting them away and not engaging with them until morning.

2.  Pick me-time activities that will promote and not hinder sleep: While it might be tempting to finish binging-watching Game of Thrones on Netflix or have a glass of wine because it was one of those days at work, these nightly me-time activities could be hindering sleep rather than helping. Watching shows filled with intensity could make it hard to fall asleep and having alcohol right before bedtime may result in disrupted sleep in the middle of the night. Therefore, we’re better off taking a relaxing bath, listening to calming music or a guided meditation or reading a book. These will all promote healthy sleep through the night.

3. Set bedroom temperatures at comfortable levels that work for us and our significant other: This one can be tough because in many cases, one person may get cold at night and the other may get hot. According to, the optimal temperature for sleep is 67 degrees. We can negotiate on temperature with our significant others or add an extra blanket if needed. The key is to allow the room to be cool enough to encourage healthy sleep, but not so hot that it negatively impacts sleep.

4. Create a sleep sanctuary with our bedding and bedroom decor choices: We should give ourselves permission to invest in things like high quality bedding, including sheets with high thread-counts, fluffy pillows and soft blankets. We could also consider repainting the walls with a more calming color, removing our kids’ loud toys that were left behind on the floor and placing some aromatherapy candles on our nightstand. These are all ways to create a wonderful sanctuary that will allow us to relax and prepare ourselves for a good night of sleep.

While life as a working mom will inevitably be unpredictable and we won’t always get our desired amount of sleep, especially when we have babies, putting in the effort to practice the above strategies can help us get sufficient sleep more often than not and will help us be more productive and present at work and at home!


  • Reena Vokoun

    Entrepreneur | TEDx Speaker | Author | Media Spokesperson | Health & Wellness Expert | Content Creator & Marketer | Personal & Professional Development Coach | Activewear Designer

    Reena Vokoun graduated with a BBA in marketing and management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MS in advertising and communications from Boston University. She spent several years in corporate America working in marketing, sales and business development roles for companies such as Google, Yahoo, Reebok, CNET, GE and Grokker, while also being certified in health, fitness, nutrition and behavior change through the American Council on Exercise, Athletics and Fitness Association of America and IDEA Fitness. Her experiences and witnessing others during those years, showed her how much overwork, stress and a lack of work-life balance can impact your health and life. Therefore, she's passionate about educating others and helping them take control of their lives in these areas. Today, she serves companies, nonprofits, universities, schools and the media through her products, services and content, which focus on wellness education and training in the areas of fitness, nutrition, mindfulness, work-life balance, productivity and healthy lifestyles. She's featured regularly as a health contributor on the Fox KTVU news morning show in the San Francisco Bay Area, writes a monthly health column for the Los Altos Town Crier and also writes for Thrive Global, Shape and Working Mother. She's a mom, wife and first generation born Indian-American and has a unique perspective to help others balance it all.