How new moms can get more sleep
One of the toughest parts of the early days of parenting is the loss of sleep, and while you love your little one, it’s okay to yearn for uninterrupted sleep and admit that it’s an exhausting thing you’re doing, because it really is. On average, a new parent loses around 110 minutes (almost two hours) of sleep every night for the first year after having a baby.
This stage does eventually pass and down the line there will be less night-time wakeups, but we understand how debilitating fragmented sleep can be.
While there’s unfortunately not one solution to help you with the loss of sleep, there are some things you can do to ease your load and get some more rest. Looking after yourself might not be high on your priority list with a new baby to care for, but it’s essential to your physical and mental health.
Small things like taking a shower, eating a healthy meal, going for a walk and taking a nap are important, and you need a full tank to be able to function optimally. Many new parents, especially moms, feel guilty about prioritising themselves, but there’s a saying that you can’t pour from an empty cup, which it’s why it’s vital to fill yours where you can with care and rest and accept help.
Here are some tips to help you feel more rested:
- Sleep when your baby sleeps
This isn’t always practical, especially if you’ve got a long chore to-do list. However, it might be worth leaving the dirty laundry and dishes and trying to get a bit more sleep during the day for your own health and wellbeing.
- Accept help if it’s offered
Whether a friend or family member offers to drop off a meal, do your laundry or look after your baby for a while, accept it. There’s nothing “weak” about accepting help, and it doesn’t make you less of an awesome and capable mom.
- Tag team
Take turns with your partner for the night shift. Alternate nights of feeding, or even split up the 7pm to 7am period in two, so that you’re getting some hours of solid sleep.
- Improve your sleep process
Even though you’re tired, you might battle to fall asleep as your head hits the pillow. If you struggle to fall asleep, avoid caffeine within six hours of bedtime, don’t eat a very heavy dinner, and try not to use your cellphone or watch TV within half an hour of going to sleep. Black-out curtains can be useful to create a pitch-black space – don’t forget to turn your alarm clock away from you if it’s very bright.
- Take a warm bath
A warm bath can relax you and get you into “sleep mode” before bedtime, while a glass of warm milk could help you to fall asleep as it contains tryptophan, which can improve sleep.
- Don’t overcommit
It’s okay to say no to the neighbourhood charity drive, or not invite the family over for the usual big Sunday lunch. You have a lot on your plate as a new parent, so if a commitment is taking away from “you time” and causing more stress, rather say no to it. Try to stick to things that suit you and don’t add to your workload if you’re not up to it.
- Seek professional help
If you’re having problems going to sleep, or you’re feeling sad, helpless or anxious, chat to your healthcare professional as you might have postnatal depression. It affects a lot of new moms but it can be well treated and managed.
Do you have any sleep-related questions or battling with anything at the moment? Our careline is open for you 24/7 to answer any of your queries. Contact us at 1800 266 9988
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