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depleted mother syndrome

Depleted mother syndrome

By Mental health, Relationships, sleep
by Sally-Ann Makin
Potter’s Houses Nursery Settings and
Makin Connections – Family Consultancy

Depleted mother syndrome is a state of emotional and physical exhaustion experienced by mothers when the demands of motherhood exceed their ability to cope.

I had a very different idea in my head for this issue’s article, but last night I found myself feeling more than the hormonal emotions I usually feel once a month. The noise the children were making was really grating on me to the point where I desperately needed to get away from them – the screaming and shouting from a teenager playing interactive games and the loud wailing from my 11 year old playing on their computer (before you judge we had been out at football all morning and for a long dog walk in the afternoon), I’d heard “Mummy” 50,000 times mostly with absolutely nothing of any substance to follow. The house which had already been cleaned and tidied was a mess again, I was ‘touched out’ from my nine year old leaning on me for hours, my 12 year old constantly tapping me and my toddler needing to be picked up regularly. It was a Sunday evening and we all know the pressure of Sunday evening with the week ahead and the endless list of things to do looming.

As a side note, I was feeling overwhelmed after spending some time organising my fathers memorial and the sheer weight and realisation of what it was I was doing, and why, had completely floored me. I was tired from a rare evening out the night before and I was stressed because my work/life balance is balancing about as well as a rabbit and an elephant on a seesaw. Life is busy and chaotic and while I have made active decisions that create chaos, it can still be overwhelming with so very many plates to spin.

I was beginning to wonder what was making me feel so down and listless when I can usually cope fairly well and I tried to pinpoint why parenting suddenly felt so hard, when nothing major had happened. I had a really strong sense that I was just really rubbish at being a mum. I was certain other mums didn’t desperately want to escape from their children so much, other mums didn’t get irritable and short tempered with their children and other mums didn’t decide it was totally fine to not give the toddler a bath purely because he was going to scream and they didn’t have the energy for the battle. Washing needed folding and putting away, an online food shop needed doing and meals and packed lunches organised for the week.

It turns out mums can burn out too – we feel like we cannot and will not break because we are so heavily relied on by the rest of our family to function. Depleted mother syndrome can be felt by any mum at any time due to the high needs and emotional intensity of caring for a family with very little structured societal support for parents. We are over-extending ourselves and never really filling our cups back up because we either feel guilty and selfish or because we have no support network to lean on and often feel that we are the default parent.

Did you know that post partum fatigue can last for years? Your body is still recuperating even after all the midwife and health visitor support has subsided and your sleep is likely fragmented from waking with small children or just having an unreliable sleep schedule. And you might well be emotionally worn out. But just because millions of women do it every day and what you see on social media is that they’re all doing it and looking amazing, it doesn’t mean that what you’re feeling isn’t valid. You don’t need an event to validate feeling overstimulated, overwhelmed, exhausted, drained or listless – it’s normal and we’ve all been there!

Having a label on this feeling (depleted mother syndrome) has really helped me to be able to accept that what I am feeling is normal. It also helps me feel like less of a failure and that it’s OK to say that sometimes life just feels hard.

Take some time, ask for the help from people around you if you can – they don’t offer if they don’t mean it. Make a decision to not cook one night or skip bath time, remove the pressure of making sure the reading record is completed the recommended five times per week, choose to give the school raffle a swerve because trying to remember to get a prize on the way to school feels like one job too many. Sometimes you have to remove the expectation that you need to be perfect, have all your balls in the air and all your ducks in a row and realise you’re doing the absolute best you can – it might not be acknowledged by your family but it is noticed and it is valued. And you’re a queen!

Sally-Ann runs Makin Connections, Garden of Eden Preschool, Potters House Preschool and Blossom and Bloom Day Nursery. For more information please contact her at or call 07939 620934

sleepy woman

Why sleep is important – and what happens when you don’t get enough?

By family, sleep
by Dr Audrey Tang

How many hours sleep do you actually need to function at your best? While research would suggest that on average adults need around seven to nine hours, in fact individuals need to find out what works best for them. We know that children need more sleep, as we age we need less, some people function very well on different patterns such as ‘biphasic sleep’ sleeping in two short periods and then napping in the day. ‘Power napping’ for some is also beneficial.

When it comes to sleep, I would always say try to get the number of hours that works for you! And if that can’t be at night, try and find some nap time in the day.

A word about our circadian rhythms
On average, a person’s circadian rhythm – colloquially the ‘internal body clock’ – naturally rises and falls in energy within a 24 hour period. It responds very well to light, especially natural light. If it is dark, then our brain signals to release melatonin which makes us sleepy – hence why when a flight crosses time zones the aeroplane lights are dimmed or brightened to try and get your body as adjusted as possible to your arrival time. When there is light – especially natural light – the melatonin stops. This means that if you wake with natural daylight outside, it can be difficult to return to sleep because your internal processes are already signalling that it is time to rise. As such blackout curtains can help in the summer months.

How does the body react if we don’t get enough sleep?
Our bodies have trouble adjusting when we have not slept enough, and the complexity of life can cause us to disrupt (or ‘override’) our preferred circadian rhythm.

If we are sleep deprived this can result in:
• Irritability
• An inability to think rationally
• An inability to focus
• A lowered immune system. As such this can cause further problems in the context of work and relationships.

There has also been research on architectural students which found that when sleep deprived their written examination performance remained constant, but those that lacked sleep performed significantly less well in their presentations.

Sleep is also our body’s opportunity to repair and plays a role in regulating the production of some hormones important for health. If we do not sleep enough we produce more ghrelin – the hormone which signals hunger which can cause us to seek high carb, high sugar foods because we instinctively know they will give us energy. Enough sleep means we produce less ghrelin and more leptin (which supresses hunger).

Furthermore if we are not sleepy we have a greater capacity to make healthy choices on food and activity as we tend to be more focused, as well as be at less risk of injury when exercising or doing anything physical or manual.

BUT the body is adaptable!
We do tend to sleep for longer once we do fall asleep, after a period of deprivation – and this can be irrespective of external cues. Therefore, while the circadian rhythm is similar to a preferred internal thermostat, it can be over-ridden, but it can also be trained ie. it is possible for someone who has for many years always slept eight hours to learn to feel rested and function efficiently on six if this is established as a habit. Similarly it is possible to adjust to shift work or for parents whose sleep is disrupted with a newborn – it is possible to adapt for a certain time, and function effectively on a new sleeping pattern. Research on shift workers finds sleep can be improved by wearing sunglasses (to keep the daylight moderate) when returning home after a shift, and by having blackout curtains in the sleeping area…perhaps parents can make similar adaptations temporarily.

Our body is very adaptable, and what is ‘best’ in terms of sleep – is what is ‘best’ in terms of our need physically and contextually.

Practical tips to help with sleep
1. If possible – have a bedtime routine:
• Always have a glass of water by your bed.
• Keep a writing pad by your bed for when you wake in the middle of the night and need to remember something – write it down (try not to open your phone).
• Plan for the next day if you need to (clothes, lunch prep and so on).
• Stop drinking caffeinated drinks about six hours before bed – and instead have a camomile tea, or warm water, or even warm milk.
• Go to the toilet.
• Set your alarm.
• Come off social media/your smartphone an hour before bed – leaving an ‘out of office’ message if necessary.

2. Try some deep breathing
Simple centred breathing (breathing in for four, holding for two, and out through the mouth for six) whilst listening to nature sounds, gentle music, or even a relaxation podcast can be the final step for a restful night.

3. Will exercise – or a relaxing cool down – help?
Sometimes people find exercising at night helps (others don’t – heed your body’s response to whatever you try), and after exercising, a bath tends to be more soothing than a shower (unless it feels ‘too long’ for you).

Importantly: if you find yourself waking in the night and struggling to return to sleep:
Change context! Get up and do something (ideally not on the phone or computer) such as read a book. It’s best not to associate the bedroom with the feelings of stress that you cannot get to sleep.

Dr Audrey Tang is a chartered psychologist, wellness expert and author of The Leaders Guide to Resilience.


The communication and capabilities of a newborn baby

By baby health, Education, Language, play, Relationships, sleep
by Karen Emery
Founder of Haven & Base,
Perinatal Practitioner, Parent Coach & Children’s Sleep Advisor

It wasn’t too long ago that we thought newborn babies couldn’t do much at all, other than eat, sleep and cry. But the exact opposite is true. Newborn babies are born with amazing communication capabilities and are primed and ready for social contact with their parents and caregivers right from birth. More importantly, brain science has shown us just how important this early communication is between a baby and their parent for a baby’s brain development.

Many parents are unaware that a human baby is born with an undeveloped brain and that a baby’s brain and nervous system grows most rapidly in the first few years following birth. A baby’s brain grows and develops in response to their environment but crucially in response to the interactions that a baby shares with their parent(s) and caregivers. Communication is more than talking. It’s any form of message sent from one party to another through sounds, words, or physical hints like body language. From the first moment that your baby is placed in your arms, you and your baby will be communicating with each other. These first glances, sounds, and touches literally shape the way in which your baby’s brain will grow and develop.

Everyone knows that babies cry but did you know that every baby has their own crying repertoire? Every baby has a unique and different cry for a different reason. Unlike other mammal babies, human babies are born completely dependent upon their parent or caregiver for survival and their ability to cry is very important for alerting an adult that something is wrong, or a change is needed. Babies have different cries for different reasons: a hungry baby may cry in a low or short pitched tone, while a baby who is angry or upset may cry in a choppier tone. As your baby grows, you as a parent will be able to recognise and understand what need that your baby is expressing. Even if we as parents cannot always work out why our baby is crying and what our baby is trying to express to us, it’s always important to respond to your baby’s cry for help. Responding to your baby’s cries (even when we may not know what they are crying for) helps to make your baby feel safe, secure, listened to, and heard. You cannot spoil a baby when you are meeting their physical and emotional needs.

Babies love talking! Although a baby doesn’t say a meaningful word until they are about a year old, they love to ‘take turns’ communicating with you as a parent or caregiver with facial expressions, gurgles, coo’s and body language. Why not give this a try? Find a moment when your baby is quiet but alert and give this ‘turn taking’ a go. Position your baby in front of you gazing into their eyes. What ever your baby does – you copy. If your baby gurgles, you gurgle back. Always wait for your baby to respond. This is a beautiful way to connect with your baby but don’t expect a full-blown conversation for hours at a time. Newborns can only manage this type of interaction for a few moments at each sitting before it can become over stimulating for their immature nervous system. As your baby grows and develops you can spend longer gazing at one another and conversing for longer periods each time but it’s always best to follow your baby’s lead. When your baby has had enough, they may look away, grimace, arch their back or posset (spit up milk). Crying is usually the last signal that your baby has had enough, and a change is needed.

This is the second article of three in a series about babies. In my final article, which will be available in the summer edition, I will discuss sleep tips for babies aged from birth until three months old.

You can learn more about how to communicate with your baby by visiting

Karen Emery is available for VIRTUAL one-to-one parent-baby consultations.
You can email her for an appointment at

What to expect from your new baby’s sleep

By baby health, Health, sleep
by Katie Venn
Precious Little Bunnies

This article, ‘What to expect from your new baby’s sleep’, is the first in a series of three articles on children’s sleep. This will be followed by ‘Nailing the perfect bedtime routine’ and ‘Sleep myths busted’. Before we get into baby’s sleep, did you know that foetus’ start sleeping from 23 weeks? In fact they spend most of their time before birth asleep. Mothers can even affect how the foetus is sleeping. Most women avoid alcohol in the first trimester, as it is widely known to impact development, what is lesser known is that alcohol in the final trimester and particularly the last few weeks before birth can reduce the foetus’ ability to REM sleep (which is the type of sleep needed for development).

Birth – 10 weeks

In the early days sleep is driven by the feeding. Babies will wake to be fed and often fall asleep whilst being fed. If your baby is waking up a lot, he/she is probably hungry or needs a nappy change, rather than having a sleep issue. Whilst all babies are different, there are a few things you might expect in this period:
• Initially your baby will want to feed regularly (expect 8-10 times a day) – this means sleep and awake times will be evenly distributed over 24 hours.
• Don’t be surprised if your baby hates being put down. It’s difficult to cope with, but completely normal and is a historic protection mechanism going back to caveman days where a baby left on it’s own would be vulnerable to attack. Being defenceless and unable to move, all they could do was cry to ensure their caregiver remained close to them. Remember this stage doesn’t last long and congratulate your baby for it’s strong desire to survive!
• You may find yourself holding the baby most of the time. Consider a sling/baby carrier in the day as these are fantastic for keeping the baby close but allowing you to do other things too.
• Babies twitch, snuffle and move around whilst sleeping. This is completely normal and happens when your baby is in REM (dream) sleep. Usually in REM sleep the brain sends inhibitory signals to the muscles (effectively paralysing the sleeper); this doesn’t happen with babies as they are not sufficiently developed to be able to block motor impulses.
• As long as there are no medical concerns, go with the flow and don’t panic about having a routine.
• You can’t create habits at this age – enjoy comforting and cuddling your baby when he/she needs it.

Helping your baby sleep well in the early days
• Help the baby differentiate between night and day by:
1) Keeping the night time dark and quiet.
2) Keeping the daytime light and noisy.
3) Limiting your interaction with the baby at night. Of course you may need to change their nappy but this isn’t the time to start chatting with your baby.
• Try changing the nappy when the baby first wakes up, then if they fall asleep whilst feeding you don’t have to wake them up to change them.
• Breastfeeding. Yes I know most people associate breastfeeding with less sleep but breastmilk actually contains tryptophan the precursor to melatonin which helps your baby sleep in those early weeks.
• Swaddling. Wrapping the baby in a swaddle can prevent natural twitches and movements from triggering the startle reflex waking them up.
• Quick bedtime routines (5-10 minutes) – a quick bath, massage and lullaby can help them associate the start of the night from an early age.
• Try warming the sheet with your hand (or a warmish, but not too hot, hot water bottle) before laying the baby down.
• Babies are used to noise in the stomach, white noise or heartbeat noise machines can keep them calm.
• Try putting the baby down on its side and then gently roll over to it’s back, this technique can help reduce the falling feeling for babies when you put them down.

By 10-12 weeks

Congratulations, you’ve made it through those newborn days!
• Your baby has now developed a circadian rhythm (a 24 hour body clock, making us sleepy at night and awake in the morning).
• Your baby’s sleep is starting to mature (introducing lighter sleep
as part of the sleep cycle).
• Your baby should now be getting into a more regular three/four nap pattern.

Your baby may not magically sleep through the night at this stage, and many babies are still feeding at night up to 18 months, but you should start to see more independence. From six months, if you are struggling with your baby’s sleep, do seek help. Sometimes a small tweak can make a big difference!

How much sleep should my child be getting? (1)

Happy sleeping!

Katie Venn (Sleep Consultant and Director) of Precious Little Bunnies.
For more information go to

1. Hirshkowitz M, Whiton K, Albert SM, Alessi C, Bruni O, DonCarlos L, Hazen N,Herman J, Adams Hillard PJ, Katz ES, Kheirandish-Gozal L, Neubauer DN, O’Donnell AE,
Ohayon M, Peever J, Rawding R, Sachdeva RC, Setters B, Vitiello MV, Ware JC.
National Sleep Foundation’s updated sleep duration recommendations: final report. Sleep Health. 2015 Dec;1(4):233-243. doi: 10.1016/j.sleh. 2015.10.004. Epub 2015 Oct 31. PMID: 29073398.

How not to lose sleep over your holidays!

By children's health, family, fun for children, sleep
by Becky Goman
Child Sleep Expert

Holidays are something we work hard for and look forward to, but sometimes the thought of going away with children can be stressful and a big difference from the holidays we were used to ‘pre-children’.

I sometimes reminisce about the ‘pre-children’ holidays, the lack of responsibility, wasting hours doing nothing and eating and drinking far too much, however when we have children, holiday priorities need to change. We need to remember that those lazy beach holidays will be replaced by the ‘child friendly’ ones or that the busy city breaks will be impractical with a child in tow.

If you are lucky enough to have a child that sleeps well, whether it’s always been that way, or you have made a concerted effort to get your child sleeping well, it may come as no surprise that holidays are one of the biggest causes of sleep regression in children.

Children thrive on routine and whilst the odd car nap or late night will probably not do too much harm in the long run, if we completely mess with our child’s routine it is likely to have a detrimental effect on their sleep, not only whilst we are on holiday but also when we return home.

It is really normal and to be expected for children to test the boundaries when they are somewhere new and it is also really common for parents to adopt a ‘we are on holiday!’ attitude. Try and think about your child’s sleep needs as much as possible when you are away and this will ensure the holiday is much more enjoyable for all of you.

If you go abroad with a slight time difference (for example one or two hours, within Europe), this can be really beneficial. Keep your child’s routine the same as it is and that way you will be able to enjoy a slightly later night and a lie in!

If your journey is slightly further afield, a well-rested child should slip much more easily into a new time zone than an adult. It is always advisable to adjust to the new time zone as quickly as possible, and maybe offer a nap for no longer than 45 minute to get them through until bedtime. If you have a choice between a strange dinner time or an earlier bedtime, always go with the earlier bedtime as an over tired child is much more likely to wake early, perpetuating the cycle and eventually making their sleep all over the place.

Sunlight is a really good tool for helping children adapt to the new time zone since natural daylight is the most powerful cue for our bodies to differentiate between day and night. Try to plan meals around the new time zone and get an hour or two of fresh air in the early afternoon.

As with all sleep situations, environment is key to ensure your child sleeps well. Use black out blinds and try and stay out of direct sunlight for an hour or two before bed as this will help to stimulate the production of melatonin, the sleepy hormone. Try and bring some things from home, such as their sleep toy or blanket or their unwashed sheets. Familiar smells from home can really help with your child feeling safe and settled in a new place.

If your child is eight months or older, try and create some sort of private sleep space for your child if possible and certainly try and avoid sharing a bed with your child. This will avoid the battle when you get home of your child being used to your presence at bedtime.

Regardless of whether you go abroad or have a ‘staycation’, or even just go to visit family for a few days, keeping the routine and environment as close to what would happen at home will ensure less chance of a regression either on holiday or when you return home.

Remember, family holidays are exactly that. They are for the whole family to recharge and reconnect, so don’t stress and enjoy!

Parents I have worked with have said: “Teaching our son to sleep properly was one of the best decisions we have ever made. It wasn’t easy at first but Becky was absolutely amazing supporting us through every single step. In particular we liked that Becky’s approach was gentle but it really worked. We now have our evenings back and our son is well rested.”

“I’m writing this as I’m having a glass of wine, just as I imagined. We are in Lithuania which is two hours ahead but we are keeping A to UK time so we are doing 9pm-9am routine – and it’s working! He took less than 10 minutes to settle yesterday and today he settled as soon as I left the room. We are very impressed and happy. Thank you once again!”

Becky Goman is a fully certified Child Sleep Consultant and founder of The Independent Child Sleep Expert, who has helped families all over the UK get more sleep. For a FREE initial minute consultation call 07770 591159 or email Or for more information visit the website

Time for a change… How to ensure daylight savings time does not affect your child’s sleep

By family, Health, sleep
by Becky Goman
Child Sleep Expert

When the clocks change in the winter, it seems to make us all a little bit sleepier. The dark evenings are inviting to snuggle up and the dark mornings make it even less appealing to get up.

Don’t get me wrong, for children with sleep issues, they often give little regard to whether it is light or dark outside, but for most children, dealing effectively with the clock changes can prevent unnecessary tiredness for parents.

It’s not simply a case of ‘losing an hour’s sleep’. Moving the clock an hour forward also interferes with our internal body clock. Circadian rhythm is the process inside our bodies that regulates changes to our body temperature, stress levels, appetite, metabolism and the desire to sleep, so it’s no surprise that when we change the physical clocks, our internal clocks take a little while to reset.

Not only does Daylight Savings Time affect children’s sleeping patterns but also adults as well. The Monday after Daylight Savings Time occurs in spring, adults are statistically 8% more likely to have a car accident and 5% more likely to have a heart attack, research suggests. Around the clock changes in autumn and spring, I get a lot of questions from parents asking how to deal with the clock changes and their children’s sleep. Children that sleep well, generally do so due to good routines and consistency, so when this is altered, even by an hour, it can throw everything off course. This is why the effects are often noticed more in young children as timings are so important in getting your child to sleep well.

So what can we do to help our children with this transition and make it more seamless for the whole family?
The best way to manage this change is to ‘split the difference’. Adjust their naptimes and bedtimes by 30 minutes for the three days after the clock change. For example, if your child usually goes to bed at 7.00 pm, put them to bed at 7.30pm. Although this means they are technically going to bed half an hour early and it may take them a little longer to settle, it is not so much of a jump that it will interfere as much. If we pay too much attention to the actual time on the clock, we run the risk of having an hour long ‘battle’ on our hands and possibly creating inconsistencies in what we do, because we are tired too. Remember the children are not the only ones who have lost an hours sleep. The inconsistencies we create are likely to have far more of an impact on your child’s sleep than the clocks changing.

Use the same 30 minutes earlier strategies for babies and toddlers at naptime too. On day and night four, work to the correct time on the clock again. For older children who can tell the time or have a digital clock in their room, it can be beneficial to change all the clocks in the house to 30 minutes later for three days and then to the correct time. This can minimise the psychological impact on them. Just make sure you don’t get confused as to what the actual time is! By using this method, things should be back to normal within a week.

I always recommend making sure the bedroom environment is right too. It can be hugely beneficial to ensure that your child’s bedroom is the same all year round. I always opt for blackout blinds to make the room pitch black and a low nightlight to make it less day-like again. By doing this it will ensure your children’s sleep environment is always exactly the same whether it is January or July.

Parents I have worked with have said: “Becky came up with a plan that suited us all as a family and it’s worked so well. My son now naps regularly and sleeps through the night, something we thought would not be happening for quite a while.”

“Becky gave us a set of instructions which enabled us to get our baby to sleep, this totally transformed our lives!”

“Along the way Becky has been a constant support, checking in and answering my every question no matter how erratic and emotional they were. I’d secretly like to keep her on speed dial just in case but she reassured me on our closing call that we’re more than set up to go it alone.”

Becky Goman is a fully certified Child Sleep Consultant and founder of The Independent Child Sleep Expert, and has helped families all over the UK get more sleep.
For a FREE initial minute consultation call 07770 591159 or email
Or for more information visit the website

How women can empower themselves with good health

By beauty, Education, family, Food & Eating, Health, Relationships, sleep, Uncategorized
by Dr Mathi Woodhouse
GP at Your Doctor –

1 Being proactive about your health is vital both in terms of strengthening your body’s natural self-repair mechanisms and preventing future illness and disease. Planning, testing, check-ups and addressing all kinds of areas of mental to sexual health matters all take time. People often do not prioritise their own health. Be proactive now.

2 Have you ever wondered what your biological age is? Telomere testing can reveal your biological age through a simple blood test. Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces. Lifestyle can influence the rate which your telomeres shorten faster that simple tests can reveal. Eat well, exercise often, sleep well, and address stress levels. These can all reduce the inflammatory process and therefore slow the rate of telomere shortening.

3 Don’t miss your vaginal smear. In 2013 60% of all new HIV diagnoses were to young adolescent women and girls. HPV (human papillomavirus) is a sexually transmitted infection, it accounts for around 70% of all cervical cancers. Sexual health in women is of the utmost importance and more importantly is totally preventable. Take measures for safe sex, and ensure all available screening is seized. A cervical smear should be available at least once every three years until the age of 65. Oral contraceptive pills protect against pregnancy but offer no protection against infection. Ensure you take measures to keep yourself clear of pelvic disease. Use condoms and get yourself tested for STDs if you’re worried. Do not wait.

4 Feel those boobs. Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths amongst women. Early detection can result in great long-term outcomes. A simple examination once a month after your period is the best time to check. Pay particular attention to dimples in the skin and inversion of the nipple. If you are unsure have a doctor give you a quick tutorial. It’s simple, easy and a potential lifesaver. If you are above 50 you should be able to have routine mammography to screen for breast cancer; ensure this happens.

5 Hot flushes… if you feel perimenopausal there are many non-hormonal ways to assist. Soya, red clover and black cohosh are all approved herbal remedies to fight your fluctuating hormones. If these symptoms are really bothersome and you want to avoid HRT, your doctor may be able to offer some alternatives.

6 Women are more likely to have greater emotional intelligence and empathy. They typically have a larger limbic system which supports a variety of functions including emotion, behavior, motivation, long-term memory. Use it!

7 Eating well goes without saying. A large proportion of women are anaemic without knowing. Tiredness, poor skin and hair loss, and pallor are all signs of this. Eat foods rich in iron such as dark green vegetables, small servings of red meat, and legumes. Keeping your folate and calcium levels up also will help in preserving good health prior/during pregnancy and your bones will be strong beyond the menopause.

8 Eat to energise yourself. Stick to a diet low in saturated fats, salt and processed sugars. Increase your intake of omega 3 through nuts, avocados, or oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and tuna. Eat enough fibre by increasing your portions of fruit and vegetables. Experts believe that 30g of fibre a day can reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

9 Sleep is crucial in maintaining your physical and mental health, it supports many facets of healthy brain function. Good quality, deep sleep is important for all of us, especially multi-tasking women. To really train your body to sleep well, allow a period of de-stressing before bedtime, get into bed at a decent hour and keep the room dark. Avoid browsing the Internet on your phone or laptop in bed and limit caffeine and alcohol.

10 Stress management is one of the key pillars to good health. Much of our stress is caused by too many responsibilities. Start saying ‘no’ to requests that are asking too much of you. Meditation, practicing some mindfulness and deep breathing are all worth investing in a few minutes per day. Find a quiet moment to sit down and focus on yourself. Positive thoughts and self-worth can make leaps and bounds to self-esteem and mood.

11 Drink less alcohol. Women should stick to no more than 14 units per week allowing at least three alcohol free days per week. High alcohol intake can lead to a heart disease, diabetes and liver damage. Binge drinking can cause serious injury, collapse, and irregular heart rhythms called arrhythmias. Alcohol also contains a lot of calories and sugar which can have a big impact on weight management and the risk of diabetes.

12 Smoking is the largest single preventable cause of cancer each year in the UK yet some 9.4 million people in the UK smoke every day. Set a date and time to stop smoking. Slowly cutting down on cigarettes can have a psychological effect that makes the cigarettes seem far more precious than they actually are. Put the money aside that you would have otherwise spent on cigarettes and watch your money grow!