29 Apr 5 Essential Sleep Tips for New Parents
Welcoming a baby into your family is a big moment in life, and one that can change you and your partner’s routines completely, especially how you sleep. Between getting them to sleep and tending to them in the night, it can be hard to know where the next solid night’s rest is going to come from.
As we’ve discussed in a previous blog post, getting the right amount of sleep goes hand in hand with caring for your mental wellbeing. So, with Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week 2019 on the way (29 April – 5 May), we thought it would be a great time to share some essential tips that can improve sleep for new parents.
Stick to a schedule as much as possible
Everyone, including new born babies, is a creature of habit when it comes to sleep. And, though the sleep patterns those first few months may seem erratic, it’s important to remember that they are working out their own natural schedule and they will usually relax into a rest routine when they’re between four and six months old.
Once they’re at this stage, you’ll probably find that they wake at around the same time. You can use this as a starting point to plan the rest of their day, considering naps in the mid-morning, lunchtime, and dinnertime, and then their bedtime. When they adapt to this pattern, you will find each day more predictable, which should allow you to address your own needs more freely.
The NHS also recommends pairing bedtime with little routines as early as three months. This can include giving your baby a bath, changing their clothes, and dimming the lights before bed, which should help to reinforce the need for sleep in your child.
Make use of nap time for your own sleep
Many believe this is the golden rule for parents who need to catch up on their sleep, and rightly so. By snoozing when your little one does, you can rest knowing that you will be undisturbed (at least until they wake up). So, once your baby sleeps, shut off any distractions and do the same. Read our post on the art of napping to get more great speedy sleep tips.
Even if you’re not able to drop off to sleep in the half-hour or so that your baby naps, it’s still worth getting off your feet and closing your eyes, as you’ll still feel a restorative effect. But, be careful not to nap after 3pm or for longer than 30–40 minutes as this can impact your ability to sleep at night.
Create the ideal environment for your own rest
One of the best things you can do to give yourself quality sleep is to ensure that your bedroom is the ideal environment for rest. Firstly, you should aim to make your room as dark as possible and at a temperature between 16–18°C, which are the ideal conditions for comfortable snoozing. This may mean adding heavy curtains or a blackout blind, as well as adjusting your thermostat.
Next, ensure that your bed and mattress are as comfy and supportive as possible so that you can sleep without aches and pains. One of our memory foam mattresses, pillows, or mattress toppers are great ways to refresh your sleep, and you can even pick up a brand new bed if your current one is beginning to show its age or become uncomfortable.
Cut down on proven sleep disruptors
There are quite a few things in life that can disturb our sleep patterns — some you may be aware of and some you may not. Therefore, it makes sense to try and cut down on a few of these, at least during this crucial stage of parenting when quality rest is a lot harder to come by.
Below is a list of common sleep disruptors you should look to avoid, if possible:
- Caffeine: Try to avoid caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, cola, and energy drinks, before bed and if you’re looking to nap during the day.
- Sugar: Avoid sugary food and drink in the hours leading up to bedtime.
- Spicy food: Eating spicy food in the evening can increase body temperature and make it more uncomfortable for sleep.
- Alcohol: Alcohol intake in the hours before sleep can make it easier to drift off, but also prevents deep, restorative rest, as well as making it likelier you’ll wake during the night.
- Blue light from screens: Phones, tablets, TVs, and laptops all emit blue light that can keep your brain alert and unprepared for sleep. Leave them outside your bedroom.
Share responsibilities and ask for help
One of the most important things to remember about preserving your sleep when you welcome a little one into the world is that you don’t have to shoulder the responsibility yourself. If you have a partner, be sure to take turns in tending to your new born through the night, giving each other an equal chance to get a healthy level of rest.
And, don’t forget that your loved ones will also be willing to lend a hand with sleep duties. Whether a friend is visiting and can watch your little one for half an hour while you nap or a grandparent offers to look after the baby for a night, be sure to take them up on their offer. They’ll likely be happy to do so, and you can catch up on some well-deserved snoozing.
Take our advice on board and you can make sleeping as a new parent a lot easier. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions. For more restful advice, be sure to check out this blog on a regular basis, as well as our advice centre.