The New Parents Guide to Sleep

The New Parents Guide to Sleep

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Parenthood is a new world of excitement that embraces sudden but cute surprises. But sometimes, this new phase can be tiring as well! And the most draining part that every new parent can relate to is the challenge of getting optimum sleep.

According to Dr Rebecca Robbins (sleep researcher) “Navigating your and your newborn’s sleep are among the steepest challenges during the early weeks of an infant’s life”. And that sums up everything for new parents.

On average, every adult would need anywhere between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. But new mothers are at risk of insomnia due to reasons like anticipating the baby's cry throughout the night, or simply being unable to fall asleep after breastfeeding the baby.

And sleep deprivation can cause new mothers to experience symptoms of postpartum depression, which according to Sleep foundation, affects one in eight mothers! 

We understand that navigating through the phase of parenthood and overcoming the challenges of sleep and also ensuring that your baby’s sleeping needs are fulfilled is one of the most arduous tasks.

And we are here to help you gain back your sleep schedule. A healthy sleep schedule is essential for the happiness and comfort of the family. This guide will assist you to achieve the rest that you deserve.

Please know that you are not alone, and with that being said, let’s get into one of the most practical guides on the internet.

Establish good sleep hygiene

Practising good sleep hygiene is extremely important to snag that quality sleep. Great sleep is paramount to maintaining better physical and mental health. Proper rest not only improves productivity but also enhances your overall well-being.

Establishing good sleep hygiene is known to benefit health and improve happiness. So, what is sleep hygiene? 

Sleep hygiene is a collection of habits and practices that facilitate high-quality sleep during the night and hence promote extreme alertness during the day. 

The variety of schedules and rituals you collectively follow will create better quality sleep which means the ability to fall asleep sooner and stay asleep longer.

While people who pull all-nighters to binge-watch Netflix fall under poor sleep hygiene, people who follow regular sleep schedules are good examples of people who follow good sleep hygiene.  

So, how to sleep with a baby and get that high-quality sleep? Simply follow the below steps consistently and you will be in the grace of sleep Gods in no time!

Avoid caffeine

Who doesn’t enjoy a sip of morning coffee? Oh, we heard you are a tea person! Whatever that you prefer to drink, these caffeine-filled stimulants are known to keep you awake and alert for the rest of the day.

While drinking tea or coffee can seem as innocent as possible, aiding to increase your much-needed energy bars, these cups of stimulants can disrupt your sleep patterns if consumed during evenings

Therefore, you need to stop including caffeinated drinks in your schedule within 4 to 6 hours of your sleep time. Not only tea or coffee, but if you smoke or use tobacco, you need to stop doing that before your bedtime.

Bonus tip - We all may know alcohol as a sleep inducer. But we are far from reality. A couple of cocktails can help you to sleep faster, but after a few hours of sleep, those cocktails that you chugged down may act as stimulants! 

And hence alcohol can also be the prime reason why you are not able to snap that quality sleep that you need. Henceforth, it is recommended that you do not take alcohol before 3 hours of your bedtime.

Avoid screen time

Computers, electronic gadgets, televisions are all known to emit blue light which is known to disrupt the body clocks. The normal process is that we all produce a sleep hormone called melatonin in our blood around 9 PM every day.

And the blue lights emitted through these electronic gadgets when we have screen time are known to reduce the sleep hormone (melatonin) which means that we feel extremely alert during the night instead of feeling groggy.

More and more people are opting to screen time before bedtime to cradle themselves to sleep. But this is the worst thing we can do to our body and our sleep cycle. 

And now that you know the reason why you should limit your screen time, what else could you do to make yourself fall asleep sooner?

Here are a few suggestions that you can follow instead of staring at your Iphones or binge-watching movies on television.

    1. Read books - Books are the best friends of human beings. And that’s all you need to know to start this habit!
    2. Talk with your close ones - Speak up about your daily activities, release all the stress that has been accumulating throughout the day, speak to your close ones about everything that clears your brain of the fog.
    3. Write a journal - One of the best habits that our experts suggest. Journaling down things that make you stay awake during the night can put you to sleep sooner than you think. Why not try it?

Stick to a regular sleep time

Researchers found that sticking to a sleeping time regulates your circadian rhythm. To get in a regular sleeping routine, the very first thing that you need to do is to pick a time.

9 pm or 10 pm is the most basic bedtime. Just stick to the time for 3 to 4 days. Eventually, you will end up developing a habit of falling asleep by this time. 

The recommended amount of sleep that one needs is 8 hours. This much sleep is enough for good health. Just make sure that you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

Help the baby to sleep

Adults can develop new habits and change the older ones. But what about a baby? The little toddlers have their sleeping patterns. Some sleep for a longer period, some take short naps throughout whereas, some don't sleep for a very long time. 

Seeing a baby sleeping is one of the most adorable things in the whole world. So, there are some things that you can do to get your little one to fall asleep early. 

Before getting started let us tell you that it is very important for your baby to understand the difference between day and night. Remove the curtains and let the sunlight in so that he/she will know the difference. You can also make your baby understand in other ways that you might think works. 

Below are some ways to get your baby to sleep early in bed without sabotaging your night:

Spend time with the baby outdoors

Spending time with babies outdoors brings new opportunities for learning and exploring. It helps them to learn and play new games which is why they will become tired and are more likely to fall asleep fast when they get into bed. 

The other benefit of taking your baby outside is that sunlight plays an important role in secreting melatonin, a sleep hormone. Exposure to sunlight helps regulate your baby’s sleep-wake cycle. 

However, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. Remember babies can’t cool off the way we do. Their sweat glands work differently than ours. According to research the best time to take them outside is between 10 am to 3 pm. 

You should also avoid direct exposure to sunlight. Do not overdress your baby, one layer of cloth with a hat on the head is enough. Make sure that you remove the clothes when you get back home and put on fresh and comfortable clothes. 

Ensure your baby exercises

Lullabies no longer work for babies to sleep. The only way to make them fall asleep when it is needed is by decreasing the cortisol level. It is a hormone that keeps your baby active and revived all the time. 

Make your baby indulge in daytime activities. It will make your baby tired and he/she no longer has the energy to wake up. After all, your baby needs to become tired to sleep peacefully at night. Just make a list of activities and ensure that those activities require physical activeness and are also fun at the same time.

You can also play right before bedtime. It will keep your baby excited for next day activities and they will also wait keenly for bedtime due to the fun. 

Have a bath before sleep

Taking a bath before bedtime is a key to getting to sleep early not only for babies but for adults as well. A warm bath soothes your baby’s body and makes him/her feel relaxed. After a bath, your baby’s body temperature drops which is a signal for their body it is time to sleep.

Just prepare a tub with a few inches of water, make sure that the water is not too cold and not too hot also. It will relieve the muscles of your baby and he/she will not face any difficulty in sleeping. Do you know that most babies love to be inside warm water? This is because it gives them the feeling that they are inside their mother’s womb. 

As soon as you put your baby inside the tub, it causes the blood to circulate throughout their body and it calms them down. Moreover, when your body temperature drops at night, it not only tells your brain to prepare for sleep but also helps you get into a night of better and deeper sleep. 

So, it is always worth a try to incorporate both into the part of your toddler’s bedtime. However, you must consult your paediatrician to know when and how to start bathing your baby.

Establish a routine

Establishing a sleeping routine is very important for a baby to regulate sleep hormone, melatonin which helps your baby to sleep quickly. When you follow a routine every day it gives your baby a sense of when to fall asleep. It also helps babies in understanding everyday events. 

At first, you may find it difficult to stick to the routine because your baby may not cooperate with you. But remember your baby does what he/she sees you do. Just don’t give up and after a few days, you will notice that your baby has started falling asleep without your help at the right time. 

A bedtime routine not only ensures early sleep but also has a positive impact on your baby’s health and growth. Also include some tasks before bedtime to make your baby more excited about going to bed. 

Let us tell you that if your child has a habit of sleeping at 10 pm then force him/her to sleep at 8 suddenly. Just start with 10 pm only and make the bedtime earlier for about 15 to 20 minutes after every two or three days. And do this until you reach an ideal bedtime for your baby.

Place the crib next to your bed

There are hundreds of reasons to use a crib as a co-sleeping option. And out of all the reasons the safety concern about your baby is one of the best. This is why if you are not sure about bringing your baby to bed, a crib is the best solution. Just make sure that you put the crib near your bed, so you check up on your baby from time to time. 

Cribs are a very important thing for a baby's nursery. They provide a safe environment for your baby. However, as babies grow they are more likely to wander here and there. So, it can be very dangerous sometimes when you are not around. As your baby may come out of the crib and get injured.

To avoid these accidents, make sure that the build quality of the crib is strong and durable. And also avoid purchasing second-hand cribs. Furthermore, you have to be extra careful when it comes to your baby’s well-being.

For better safety, place the crib at least 20 inches near your bed. There are some facts that you should keep in mind before buying a crib for your baby. Some cribs have a weight limit, so you must weigh your baby to buy a suitable crib for him/her.

Once you have decided on the right crib for your baby, it is time to find your perfect mattress. Make sure that the mattress is breathable and cosy for a baby to sleep comfortably. After everything is done, give yourself peace of mind and also put some toys inside the crib to engage your baby.

Share nighttime baby duties

Mothers are never off from duty. They have to look after the baby and family all the time. Due to which they barely get time for themselves to relax. In this situation, sharing duties is the best solution. 

Just take the help of your husband and give some baby responsibilities to him. You can share the nighttime duties in three ways, that is:

    • Give your partner the responsibility of all the nighttime duties, from feeding to changing the diaper and getting the baby back to sleep again.
    • Take shifts, for example, one of you looks after the baby from 10 pm to 2 am and the other will be on duty from 2 am.
    • Prepare the milk before sleeping, so that your partner can easily feed your baby.

With these techniques, you both can get enough sleep and at the same time, your baby will also be taken care of all the time.

Sleep while the baby sleeps

On average, an adult needs at least 8 hours of sleep every day to stay healthy and fit. New parents often find it difficult to achieve this goal. Yeah, parenting can be very exhausting sometimes!!!

So, to get enough sleep, you should wait for your baby to sleep. Many babies sleep for 3 to 4 hours, so in the meantime, you can also sleep and take some rest from all the baby duties.

Many mothers try to complete all the house chores while their baby sleeps, but Hey!!! Your health comes first. So, ignore the dishes in the sink, keep the laundry side and put your phone on silent and get some sleep. 

If you are struggling with sleep, you should consult with a doctor. Remember, taking care of yourself is a must to take care of your baby.

FAQ

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