Between the constant feedings, dirty diapers, and that growing pile of laundry that’s threatening to establish itself as your home’s overlord, you just aren’t getting enough of that sweet (oh-so-sweet) sleep you want.
By now you’re probably rolling your tired eyes and grumbling, "Tell me something I don’t know,"but hang in there, moms and dads. We've got 5 simple strategies new parents can use to improve their sleep.
First, let's take a quick look at why newborns change your sleep schedule so drastically:
Things will eventually improve. Your baby will start sleeping through the night and the new parent anxieties that keep you up will lessen. Until that time comes, you’ll want to take some steps to ensure you maintain some semblance of rest.
It may sound trite, but one of the healthiest things you can do as a new parent is accept that you can’t do it all. Let your dishes and laundry pile up, and go take a nap. Even if you can’t complete a full sleep cycle, the extra rest will do good for your body and mind.
While changing your wall color and buying new bedding would be nice, this isn’t that kind of makeover. Instead, consider making some alterations to your bedroom environment, as well as possibly updating your bed.
You can make daytime naps easier by installing some blackout shades or wearing a sleep mask. We also recommend getting a white noise machine to drown out any loud or sudden sounds from the outside world.
As for the temperature, it’s better to be on the cooler end of the spectrum. Our bodies’ core temperatures drop to initiate sleep. When we’re too warm, this process is slowed or stopped altogether. Ensure that you’ll drift off faster by keeping your bedroom’s temperature between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you mattress is more than 7 years old, or feeling a little cramped these days, consider a new mattress. Our hybrid mattress is the perfect way to start getting the sleep you need and deserve.
Also consider switching out your traditional base for an adjustable one, which gives you the ability to raise the head or foot of your bed to the most comfortable position for you. Adjustable bases provide you with a number of benefits, like pressure-relieving massage, the prevention of loud snoring, and better lumbar support, as well as making nighttime feedings a cinch.
Baby monitors are great, don’t get us wrong. But when your baby hits that four month mark, they’re starting to sleep in more regular sleep cycles. Consider separating from the baby monitor at this point, if even for just a night to start. While a monitor can be a helpful tool in feeling connected and safe, it can be an unnecessary sleep stealer once your child has established more consistent sleep. In regard to SIDs-related safety, check out a sensor pad or a device like Owlet instead for added peace of mind.
Try putting your baby in the stroller and heading out for a brisk walk (weather permitting, of course). Fresh air has a way of lifting spirits, and the sunlight will help regulate both you and your baby’s circadian clocks. Plus, adding movement to your day is great for your sleep and will help make you feel more alert during the day.
Because caffeine has a half-life of five to seven hours, it takes your body anywhere between 10-14 hours to fully be rid of it. A cup or two of coffee in the morning will likely not affect your sleep at night (and let’s be honest: sometimes it’s the only way to make it through the aforementioned sleep deprivation), but think about giving yourself a cutoff mid-afternoon.
While a good night’s sleep may seem like a distant memory, remind yourself that this won’t last forever. In the meantime, take care of yourself and rest when you can. Sleep does wonders in making you the parent, spouse, and friend you want to be. We believe when you are rested, you can invest in yourself, your family, and your community. And who doesn't want that!