For most people, getting a good night’s sleep is tough enough. In fact, according to the CDC, in 2016 35% of Americans are reported as not getting enough sleep on a nightly basis. That doesn’t even factor the quality of their sleep.
Add in a little rug rat into the mix and you are likely to lose out on 6 months’ worth of sleep in the first 2 years of your child’s life. So, have no worry about feeling tired as a new parent, it’s normal!
Knowing that you aren’t getting enough sleep though doesn’t help. Sleep deprivation has been linked to physical and mental health issues that over time can exacerbate and cause family troubles, weight gain, irritability and depression (just to name a few).
The problem then becomes how do you sleep better, not just more?
1. Set the mood
Focus on where it all happens. Make your bedroom a haven from the day where you and your partner can go for just two things: sleep, and sex!
By associating your bedroom with only these two things, you’ll be able to focus on your fatigue and ease yourself into sleep mode at the end of the day.
Your surroundings should be both quiet and cool. If you need a bit of sound then something low, consistent and tranquil can help. They should also be as devoid as possible of electronics. Besides being a constant distraction at the end of the day, they have been shown to hurt your sleep.
2. Escape the Day
You’ve managed to set up a strict bedtime routine for your child, but you still have things to do. It’s time to take that focus on yourself.
Set up a bed routine for yourself. Make sure your you can wind down from the day.
Try to avoid alcohol. You may feel you get to bed quicker, but your overall sleep can suffer. Stick with light snacks and avoid screen time. While you may need some type of escape, try reading, playing a game or setting your to-dos for the next day.
3. Make a Trade
It’s not just a mom’s job to bear all the responsibility for a new baby. Figure out a way to share the load. This includes overnight feedings and bedtime duty.
Sleeping longer can help you to sleep better. So if you can split the night into shifts by passing over the baby monitor from side to side, then you and your partner may be able to enjoy a few extra hours which can do wonders!
4. Get Physical
Getting up and getting active is key. While a toddler can wear you out, it’s not necessarily the same as setting up an exercise routine.
The benefits of exercise have been well documented. But the focus areas are how it gives you energy during the day and helps you fall asleep faster at the end of the day.
It doesn’t have to be anything specific (weight training, running, etc.), any physical activity can help. What you want to avoid though is getting your heart rate up too close to bed time. While you may feel exhausted after a late-night run, your body won’t be ready to wind down.
5. Look for Help
While this could mean seek a doctors’ advice (which is a viable option), what we mean specifically is to find sleep aids that work for you. Sound machines, eye masks, chamomile tea can all help put you to sleep fast.