Are you a new mom that’s not getting enough shut-eye? A recent survey showed that half of parents with kids up to 6 months old get a maximum 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep, according to Owlet Care. Various tweaks, like reading a mattress selection guide, might help to improve your sleep quality let alone prevent sleepless nights.
In fact, some basic changes in sleep schedules and environment can help you get a full night’s sleep. This is important since lack of sleep has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease in women. Studies also show that new mommies tend to lose more sleep than daddies.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you and your little one sleep like a baby:
#1 Maintain a Regular Sleep Schedule
Babies sleep a lot, including newborns that snooze up to 16 hours during a full day. However, infants also tend to have the same waking times, including the middle of the night.
Bedtimes for Wake-times
It’s important to schedule your bedtimes so they’re aligned with your child’s wake times. Part of parenthood when you have little ones is waking up throughout the night for feeding and diaper changes. Still, if you maintain regular sleeping times it can help you catch more Zs during the night.
Baby & Mommy Sleep Times
When creating a sleep schedule, try sleeping when your baby does. This will provide you with nap times of up to 30 minutes per sleeping session. These 40 winks should supplement your nighttime sleeping instead of replacing it.
How to Handle Your Baby’s Daytime Naps (video)
#2 Takes Steps to Maintain Good Health
It’s important for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers to get enough of certain nutrients(https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/moms-nutrients.html) including:
- Healthy Fat
- Folic Acid
- Vitamin A, B12, C
This is an addition to a standard healthy diet to maintain good health.
Best Foods for New Moms (video)
This includes ones like caffeine. Drinking a cup of black coffee in the morning can provide several physical and mental health benefits.
However, it’s highly recommended you avoid caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime. The reason is it takes about that much time for caffeine amounts in food or drink to decrease 50% in your body.
New mommies should make sure to get plenty of natural light and especially in the morning. Go for a walk in the park and get some fresh air to start the day right.
There are various reasons to take this step. One is that daylight boosts alertness and helps to reset the internal body clock.
Another important benefit of natural sunlight is it contains Vitamin D, which provides benefits like strong bones. This includes Vitamin D3 that’s usually sourced from animal-based foods or UV light.
There’s a chance that you’re not sleeping well because you suffer from an undiagnosed sleep disorder like sleep apnea. A sleep specialist can help run tests then sort out the results.
#3 Create a Sleep-friendly Environment
Besides maintaining a regular sleep schedule, it’s also important to create a sleeping environment that will help you fall asleep faster.
One effective option is a bassinet that attaches to your bed. This allows you to sleep better during the night yet nurse your little one when needed. An added bonus is you won’t have to get out of bed!
Make sure to dim the lights at night time since harsh/bright lights are stimulating and make it more likely you’ll toss and turn at night. You can keep low light in the room using a dimmer switch or night light.
Babies, like all humans, have an internal clock that follows “circadian rhythms.” Tots sleep more than adults, but they still follow a general sleep/wake cycle based on whether it’s daytime or nighttime.
You should also try to end screen time at least one hour before bedtime. That includes:
- E-book Readers
It can be tough trying to avoid looking at your cellphone at night. You can switch to “Do Not Disturb” mode, or put it out of reach to prevent looking down at the LED screen during the night.
#4 Tweak Your Daytime Schedule
It’s important for infants and toddlers to stay active during daytime hours so they’ll be ready to sleep at night. This can help to improve sleeping habits. The process continues as infants become toddlers, who still need 11 to 14 hours of shut-eye, according to Sleep Foundation.
You can also take sleep-friendly steps during the day while doing your mommy duties, which can help you get more shut-eye at night.
Studies show that the best duration for daytime naps is 10 to 20 minutes, according to Sleep Foundation. This gives you a “quick charge” while preventing you from feeling drowsy. You should also avoid taking a cat nap at night since it can interfere with your sleep quality.
While you should avoid “naps” at night, if you can’t sleep at bedtime, you should still try to get 30 minutes of rest when you can. Lie down, relax your body, and clear your mind.
More “Me Time”
Make sure to take some time to relax during the day. This should include 20-minute sessions that add up to an hour or two during the day.
For example, when your infant sleeps, this gives you the chance to watch YouTube videos, drink herbal tea, or just take some deep breaths.
While being a new mommy can be hectic, it’s important to maintain a good balance. Taking steps like working on a hobby can help.
#5 Have the Right Mentality/Perspective
Being a new mommy can be mentally draining, so it’s important to take steps to maintain good mental health and better “sleep hygiene”:
- Focus on being a mom rather than a supermom
- Get help/support like nighttime feedings
- Relax with mindfulness and meditation
- Avoid taking on too many responsibilities
- Check if you’re experiencing the “baby blues”
- Seek a professional for sleep and mental health issues
- Don’t panic if you hear your infant cry
- Remember your baby will sleep through the night before one year old
- Save some time for yourself throughout the day
Sleep specialists recommend discussing sleep issues before you even bring your baby home. For example, you should talk with your partner about how well you deal with lack of sleep. This allows you to take steps like finding a night nurse.
Getting less sleep after having a baby is normal and something that’s part of the process. However, you can take some effective steps like following a sleep schedule, getting morning sunlight, and learning how to select a mattress for a good night’s sleep. Try to embrace some sleep deprivation and optimize your energy levels for top priorities including one in particular. There’s a new baby in your life!