Sleep can be like a rare gem as a new parent! It can be a challenge getting enough of it when you are looking after a new baby. You feel like you are constantly getting in and out of bed, often leading to a feeling of intense tiredness and irritability.
Trust me, you are not alone if you are a new parent struggling with sleep.
This article will act as a simple guide. It will comprise of 12 tips. The first 6 are all about helping you get more sleep. The last 6 are about what to do if your balance of sleep is in the red zone!
I hope these 12 strategies will help any new parent struggling when it comes to sleep or the lack of it.
6 tips to boost your amount and quality of sleep:
Boost your deep sleep. When it comes to sleep, your golden ticket should be getting to the “deep sleep” stage. For most people, this only happens after one to two hours of constant sleep. Don’t think of sleep as simply the amount of hours you get. It is more about how much quality “deep sleep” time you are getting. I would encourage you to do research into sleep patterns, for example you can take a look at this excellent article over at Time Magazine. By understanding how sleep works, you can try to tailor your sleeping arrangements to suit.
Top up your sleep balance with power naps. Babies can take a while until they are ale to sleep through the night. Until then, you may find yourself sleep challenged! Using daytime power naps, you will be able to survive and top up that sleep balance a bit more. You can simply take a map at the same time as your baby. These days there are many baby monitors and such like that will alert you when your baby wakes back up! You can attempt to prolong this nap time for both of you by feeding your little one just before their sleep.
Team work is key. Looking after your child at night should be a team effort. This is what will help both of you get the deep sleep you require. Breastfeeding may make this slightly more complicated, but a simple breast pump should be enough to let your partner take some of the load. If your partner is working in the daytime, they may not be able to take an equal share. However, anything they can help with will greatly reduce your load.
Think ahead! Get your family involved! You will find the first few weeks of having a new baby the most demanding and stressful. So plan ahead, I am sure you will have many friends and family members that would be more than willing to help you out. Close family might even be happy to move in with you for those first few weeks. Trust me, you will appreciate any breather that this support can bring. Ask around, you will probably be surprised at the response.
Proritise help for the first feeding of the night. When you are organising your support schedule, make sure that you prioritise help for the first feeding. This will help you get a good few hours of quality sleep at the start of the night. As well as helping with your deep sleep, often sleep at this time is more worthwhile than sleep in the early hours of the morning. This is perfect for those that have a busy partner.
Remember that all of this is just temporary. The first few weeks of looking after a baby can feel exhausting and never ending. However, always remember this is a temporary situation. Before you know it, your child will be sleeping through the night and you can resume a normal schedule. It can be hard at the time, but try to use these thoughts to keep you feeling more positive.
6 tips for dealing with sleep deprivation:
Meditation is sleeps younger brother! You may or may not be surprised to learn that meditation will give you some similar boosts as sleeping. The benefits are actually pretty similar. So if sleep if a problem and nap times are not working for some reason, try meditation.Start with some deep breathing exercises and, if this works, research more techniques on the internet.
Maintain a good quality diet. You may feel drawn to caffeine and/or alcohol at this time, but make sure to keep it under control. Too much of these will make your quality of sleep lower and act as a counterweight to other techniques you maybe be trying. As well as this, make sure you drink plenty of water and eat a high quality diet. You will need plenty of energy at this time, and eating healthily is the best way to gain it.
Low impact exercises. A non strenuous workout session may do wonders for your ability to sleep. Just make sure to check with your doctor and only follow workout regimes specifically designed for new mothers!
Jump in the shower. It sounds simple, but a quick shower can go a long way to helping you feel refreshed and renewed. This, combined with a fresh set of clothes, will help you feel a lot better!
Keep stress to a minimum. Being a new mom will already be bringing you a lot of stress and worry. Therefore, you need to make sure you have any other sources of stress under control. Family can pitch in to help you with any additional commitments you have around the house. Put those big family decisions on the backburner until you feel focused and clear headed enough to deal with them. If you are experiencing other areas of stress outside of baby matters, seek the support of your friends and family.
Have regular checkups or chats with your doctor. A severe or continued lack of sleep can have a serious impact on your health. For new moms, this is yet another thing your bodies have to deal with. Therefore, if you do feel run down for extended periods, make sure to seek advice from your doctor.
As a new mother, you may be feeling many things. However, never loose sight of the fact that being a mother is an amazing gift that will keep on giving throughout your child’s life. With a little help, you can sail through the early part of parenthood and look forward to a great family future.
If you are a new mom and have any further tips for your counterparts, we would love to hear about it in the comment section below.