Parenting: It’s a joy, right? Sure it is; most of the time anyway! Especially in those first few months when you experience life with your newborn, it can be a real blessing.
Of course, there are challenges during the first year of your child’s life. You will have less time on your hands, for one, as the needs and demands of your baby will be many. And there will be days when you struggle to sleep. This can become a real problem, as a lack of sleep has consequences, and for you, this might mean crankiness, low energy, and the struggle to get everything on your daily to-do lists done!
So, how can you get more sleep? At times, it might seem like an impossibility, especially when your baby is waking you up every time you start to doze. Well, it’s not easy, but there are a few things you can do to help yourself.
#1: Make sure your baby has a comfortable sleeping environment
In one sense, your baby is like you. They need comfort as much as you do, so as you would take the necessary steps to make your bedroom more conducive to a good night’s sleep, you should do the same for your little one. This means darkening the room (babies aren’t afraid of the dark), adjusting the temperature (18–21˚C is ideal), and providing comfortable bedding. You might also want to add a white noise machine to your baby’s room, as this can cancel out any distracting noises from elsewhere. By taking all of these steps, your baby has a better chance of falling asleep at night, and you might get more sleep too.
#2: Get your little one into a routine
Bedtime routines are important as consistency will let your baby know when it’s time to go to sleep. As part of your routine, you could give them a bath, tell them a story, and then sing them a gentle song when they’re lying down in bed. Hopefully, they will then start to settle down and sleep for a few hours, and consequently, so might you. Unfortunately, sleep regression can occur as your baby develops, so don’t be surprised if you face further disruption to your own sleeping patterns. However, you might be able to overcome this with these newborn sleep regression tips, so don’t assume every night will be a difficult one.
#3: Share the parenting duties
Both in the day and at night, you shouldn’t have to take on every responsibility alone. When your partner is around, share responsibilities with them, as you will have more opportunities to get more sleep this way. In the daytime, this can mean having more naps to catch up on your sleep. And at night, it can mean a longer sleep cycle if your partner responds to your baby’s cries instead of you.
#4: Sleep when your baby sleeps
Newborn babies sleep a lot during the day, so take every opportunity to get some shut-eye when they are asleep. Especially when you’re feeling tired and in need of a nap, you should prioritize this over your household chores, your Netflix boxsets, and any task that can wait until another day.
#5: Accept any help that is offered to you
If your friends or extended family members offer to help you with your parenting duties, let them! Especially when you need to sleep, you should welcome any help with open arms if it means you can finally go to bed for a while. But if people don’t come forward to help, remember that you can always ask them. You aren’t showing weakness by admitting that you need help, and the people around you will hopefully realize this when you come to them for assistance.
#6: Deal with any mood changes
Sleep deprivation can lead to mood changes when your hormones are in overdrive, and this can lead to the ‘baby blues.’ The depression you experience can have a negative effect on your sleep patterns, and you might find yourself in a bit of a vicious cycle. Should this happen to you, seek help from your healthcare provider. They will give you the support you need, and they might also suggest ways of getting more rest. Be sure to talk to your loved ones about the way you’re feeling too, as they should then have more incentive to give you some respite.
Your sleep patterns will be affected when you have a little one to look after, so you can’t expect to get the sleep you used to. However, by following these steps, you can alleviate the problem somewhat, so be sure to look after your own needs while looking after the needs of your baby.