6 Ways Tired Moms & Dads Can Get Back the Energy They Need

Don't feel like you're at the end of your rope; we've got the tired parent's lifeline.

Published March 24, 2023
Mom and dad cuddling baby while dad yawns

There's an age-old saying that "you've never known tired until you become a parent." Parental exhaustion is no joke, and whether you have a whole village behind you or you're making it work on your own, you can't ignore that creeping tiredness forever. Instead, tired moms and dads can get ahead of any burnout by implementing a few easy tips.

Why Are Parents So Tired?

If you've ever seen the parent TikToks or Instagram Reels out there talking about the difficulties of parenting, then you know exactly what kind of state parents are in today. Yet, there's more than just a poor sleep schedule to account for this exhaustion, and here are a few common reasons why.

Dad asleep while holding baby

Social Stigma

There's a stigma around parental exhaustion that can make it a difficult thing to talk about. For generations, the expectation was that you should be able to handle parenting right out of the gate. Yet, if you don't reach out for help because you're worried about social backlash, then you're only going to get more and more tired.

Culture can be nasty sometimes, and the dominant western parenting style dictates that you're a failure if you can't handle all the aspects of parenthood. When you don't ask for help, you don't get any, and you dig your hole deeper.

Having a Different Sleep Schedule Than Your Kids'

Depending on your job, you might not have the luxury of matching your kids' sleep schedules. They'll wake up bright and early - and you might not have gotten in until really late or been able to wind down until closer to their wake-up time than you wanted. This can put you in a perpetual cycle of getting too little sleep, which will eventually turn from just feeling tired into some serious physical and mental symptoms.

Too Much Stimulation

It's well-known that being on technology too close to your bedtime can make falling asleep difficult because of the way it activates your brain. Well, other stimulation can create the same effect. It's why, even when you're exhausted, you can catch that 'second-wind.' Doing a little extra cleaning, meal prepping, or personal care after you put the kiddos down can disrupt your regular rhythm and push you into that stimulated territory.

Practical Ways Tired Parents Can Combat Exhaustion

When you're tired, the last thing you care about is the why. The only thing you care about is the 'how it's going to be fixed' part of the equation. When you're in that multi-sleep deprived haze where you're literally too tired to cry about how tired you are, turn to these practical methods.

Woman laying happily in bed

Don't Spend Your Before Bed 'Me-Time' on the Phone

Technology is hard-wired to stimulate our brains too much, and doctors are always recommending that we don't use our phones right before bed. There's no bigger demographic of people who really shouldn't be using their phones right before bed than parents. Get as many zzz's as you can by putting the phone down at least 30 minutes before bed.

Don't Overload on Caffeine

You might feel like caffeine is your lifeline throughout the day, but it's just another stimulant that can throw off your circadian rhythm. Turning to a cup of coffee shouldn't always be your reaction to getting tired. Don't fall prey to the habit of ignoring your body's symptoms of needing rest by giving it a cup of joe.

Don't Skip Breakfast

There's probably too many days that you realize around noon that you haven't even eaten yet. Breakfast isn't called the most important meal of the day for nothing. You need those nutrients, proteins, and carbohydrates to nourish your body in the early morning hours. The more strategically you nourish your body throughout the day, the more energized you'll feel.

Close Your Eyes and Rest

Not everyone is a nap taker, and sometimes you just don't have the time to work one in. But, you'd be surprised at just how restorative closing your eyes and reclining for a few minutes is. Taking 20 minutes for a breather and to disengage with the highly stimulating world of parenting will give you the small pick-me-up you might need to tackle the more stressful parts of your day.

Consider Taking Sleep Supplements

If you find that you don't struggle to have a consistent sleep schedule, but you can't seem to feel tired when it's time to go to bed, or you take forever to fall asleep, consider taking a sleep supplement. Many people love the natural supplement melatonin because you can adjust the dosing in small enough increments to tailor the amount to your needs. That way, you'll get to sleep quick and won't be groggy when you wake up.

Ask For Help When You Need It

It sounds like the most obvious recommendation on the list, but it's one of the hardest for people to put into practice. Asking for help with inconsequential things can feel impossible, let alone admitting that your life's overwhelming you at the minute. But you need to let the people around you support you in the way that you'd support them. If it's inconvenient or they don't want to help, then they won't when you ask. So, don't let any fears or internalized shame get in the way of you battling exhaustion by asking for some help every now and again.

Take Care of Yourself Like You Would Your Kids

Parenting can make you ignore all of the healthy habits you used to have in favor of making sure your kids get the structure, help, and discipline they need to thrive. Instead of pushing yourself to see just how exhausted you can be without falling asleep where you stand, try parenting yourself like how you'd parent your kids. Be attentive to what signals your body's giving you and treat it with kindness and care.

6 Ways Tired Moms & Dads Can Get Back the Energy They Need