Robyn Newby from Linthorpe Beds is new to the world of motherhood, so she knows all about the difficulties you can face when juggling sleep with being a parent. Here, she shares her top tips to help you get a good night’s sleep after the birth of your little one.
Having a baby is incredibly exciting, but it can be tough on your sleeping routine. And, in a study published by Oxford Academic, the length and quality of sleep for new parents shows a steep decline after the baby’s birth and doesn’t return to normal for up to six years.
If you’re finding yourself deprived of sleep, there are a few things you can do to help. Below, I’ll be going through my top five ways to get more rest as a new mum.
Try out a relaxing bedtime routine
It’s not uncommon for new mothers to feel stressed. But, if you’re finding yourself tossing and turning at night because you’re worrying about your baby, you’re not giving your brain time to unwind, which will only keep you awake. Instead, try to do something relaxing before bed, like having a warm bath, to help ease your worries.
Hot drinks can also help you to unwind, but try to stay away from caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee at least six hours before bedtime. Instead, you could try a nice cup of chamomile or peppermint tea as a relaxing alternative.
If you can, try to combine your night time routine with your baby’s, too, as this can help you both bond and relax. So, you could try something like mum and baby yoga or a baby massage. Developing a routine together not only helps you to wind down, but it shows your baby that it’s time to go to sleep. So, they’ll be more likely to fall asleep without any niggles, and you’ll find it a lot easier to drift off as a result.
Sleep when your baby sleeps
A baby’s sleeping pattern is different to an adult’s, as they sleep more often and in shorter bursts. If you’re finding yourself feeling drowsy after being woken up through the night, it can be a good idea to sleep when your baby sleeps. So, when you put them down for their afternoon nap, why not have a quick snooze yourself? Having a short 20-minute power nap can do a lot to boost your energy levels.
Get yourself outside
Your sleep-wake pattern is controlled by light, which means your body will wake up when it’s light in the morning and you’ll feel sleepy at night when it’s dark. So, if you’re finding yourself slowing down during the day, try taking the pram out for a brisk walk. Getting out into the sunlight will tell your body that it’s daytime and you need to be awake, resetting your internal clock. Plus, the fresh air and exercise will make you feel more alert.
Create the perfect sleep environment
Sometimes, making a few minor changes to your sleeping environment can do a lot to help you drift off at night. The ideal bedroom should be a comfortable 16–18°C and completely free of any light or noise. For late night feeds, you could consider a dimmable light. These will still allow you to see but will let you keep the brightness low so you’re not blinded by any intense lights, which will help you to drift off when you climb back into bed.
You should also make sure that your room is free of any other distractions, like gadgets. Try to keep away from digital distractions at least an hour before bed, as the blue light from your phone or tablet will trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime, throwing your internal clock out of whack, meaning you’ll take a lot longer to drift off.
It’s also important to remember that, at such a hectic time, it’s often more about getting a good quality of sleep rather than a lot of it. A comfortable mattress is vital to getting a great night’s sleep, so make sure yours is supporting you in all the right areas. You might find that your older mattress isn’t providing you with a good level of support and, if this is the case, finding one that’s the right firmness for you will really help you get a better quality of rest.
Share the responsibility and accept help
Another way you can deal with sleep deprivation as a new parent is to share the responsibility equally. Take turns to deal with late-night nappy changes and cuddles and don’t forget to accept help from the rest of the family when you need it. Most grandparents, aunties and uncles would be thrilled to spend some time with the new baby, and it’ll give you and your partner some time to rest and recuperate.
Having a baby is a rewarding experience, but it can cause havoc to your sleep. The tips in this guide will help you wind down, relax, and get a little bit of extra shut-eye each night.