Congratulations on your new arrival! As a new parent, you have a lot of things to worry about and probably aren’t getting much sleep. But don’t worry; you’re not alone. We, those who have come before you, are here to share our wisdom and help you get some much-needed rest. From essentials for your bedroom to building better sleep habits, here are our top seven sleeping tips for new parents.
1) Establish a Plan to Share Duties
To help you both get the sleep you need, it is important to establish a plan for sharing duties. This may mean taking turns feeding and rocking the baby or taking shifts throughout the night. It is also important to be realistic about how much sleep each parent will be able to get. Trying to stick to a strict sleep schedule is often more complicated than it seems and can lead to more exhaustion in the long run. However, by working together and being flexible, new parents like you and your partner can find ways to get the rest you need.
Some tips for making this easier include:
- Work together – Remember, you’re in this together. One parent shouldn’t be coming up with the sleep plan while the other feels left out. You both have needs and responsibilities beyond your new baby that must be met, and working together will help make this happen.
- Use lists – By listing your baby’s needs and your responsibilities for meeting these, you will have a firm idea of what each parent needs to do and when. This will help you avoid arguments about who is doing what and when and help keep both parents on track.
- Take turns – One of the best ways to split up the duties is to take turns sleeping. Each parent gets a chance to catch up on their rest. It may mean that one parent sleeps during the day while the other takes care of the baby, but it will all even out in the end.
- Be flexible – Things rarely go as planned when you have a new baby. For example, feedings may take longer than expected, the baby may have a fussy night or one of you may simply be unable to sleep when it’s your turn. It’s important to be flexible and understand that the plan may need to be adjusted as things come up.
2) Avoid Screen Time
While it may be tempting to catch up on life and scroll through social media or watch TV when the baby is finally asleep, there are some good reasons to limit screen time before bed. Studies have shown that the blue light emitted by screens can disrupt the body’s natural sleep cycle, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Furthermore, this blue light can also prevent the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate sleep. So if you’re finding it difficult to get a good night’s rest, cutting back on screen time could be the key.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you must completely give up your phone or computer. Instead, avoid using them for at least an hour before bed. And if you must scroll through social media, try to do it mindfully and without getting too sucked in. After all, you want to be well-rested when the baby wakes up!
3) Make Your Bedroom a Sanctuary
Any parent will tell you that having a baby is a life-changing event. Suddenly, you’re responsible for keeping another human being alive and well, which can be a big adjustment. However, one of the things that new parents often don’t realize is how important it is to have a bedroom that is a sanctuary — a place where you can go to get away from the noise and chaos of everyday life and get some much-needed rest. Investing in bedroom essentials like comfortable sheets and pillows is one of the best things you can do for yourself as a new parent. And, of course, never underestimate the power of comfortable and supportive mattresses.
A good night’s sleep is crucial for your mental and physical health, and it can be hard to come by when you’ve got a baby at home. But making your bedroom a haven from the outside world will help you recharge your batteries so that you can be at your best for your little one. So if you’re expecting a baby, make sure to set up your bedroom accordingly!
4) Embrace the Power of Naps
According to the Sleep Foundation, an ideal nap length is 10 to 20 minutes. Any longer, and you run the risk of feeling groggy when you wake up. But even a short nap can do wonders for your energy levels and mood. So if you’re feeling exhausted, take a quick power nap! You may find it’s just what you need to get through the rest of the day.
Of course, naps are not just for the exhausted. They can also be a great way to bond with your baby. Napping with your baby can help you relax and drift off to sleep if you’re breastfeeding. And even if you’re not nursing, cuddling with your little one while you both take a nap is a special way to bond and create lasting memories. This can be especially comfortable if you have adjustable beds in your home, allowing you to sit at a comfortable and safe angle while you feed your baby or bond during naps.
5) Create a Bedtime Routine
Having a bedtime routine is important for both babies and adults. It signals to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. A simple bedtime routine might include giving your baby a bath, reading a story and singing a lullaby. For adults, a bedtime routine might involve taking a relaxing bath or shower, reading a book or writing in a journal. Whatever works for you, it is important to be consistent and stick to it as much as possible.
Yes, there will be nights when things don’t go according to plan, and you have to deviate from your routine. That’s perfectly normal! Just do your best to get back on track as soon as possible. Over time, following a bedtime routine will become second nature, and falling asleep will be easier and more manageable.
6) Get Outside for Some Fresh Air
Fresh air is always good for you, but it can be beneficial when struggling to get enough sleep. When you’re cooped up inside all day, it can be easy to start feeling stir-crazy. Taking a quick walk around the block or spending time in the backyard can help you clear your head and get some much-needed fresh air. And if you can swing it, try to get outside for a little bit every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. The vitamin D from the sun can also help improve your mood and energy levels.
Understandably, getting outdoors isn’t always possible, especially in the middle of winter. But if you can, make an effort to get some fresh air every day, even if it’s just for five minutes. You’ll be glad you did.
7) Ask For and Accept Help
If you’re feeling overwhelmed as a new parent, don’t be afraid to ask for help. And not just from your partner — from friends and family and even hired help if necessary. It can be hard to admit that you need help, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone.
When it comes to asking for help, communication is key. Make sure that you and your partner are on the same page regarding what kind of help you need and from whom. This goes back to our first point about making a plan to share duties. And don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for specific things like taking care of the baby so you can get a break or bringing over a meal. If hiring help is something you’re considering, do your research and find out what’s available in your area. There are many different types of in-home childcare options, so take the time to find one that fits your needs and budget. It may be a bit of a financial stretch, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Getting the right amount of sleep is crucial for both you and your baby. By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to getting the rest you need and setting up healthy sleep habits for your little one.