Fact: almost all new mums are exhausted. The level of fatigue during the newborn phase is mindblowing and, luckily, doesn’t last forever. But even after your baby is sleeping more at night, many mums (and dads) are running on empty. So how can we get more ZZZs even if our kids aren’t the best sleepers?
Set a realistic sleep goal. If you have a newborn, sleeping 12 hours straight may not be possible (for now). Take a look at your situation and determine how much sleep you’d like to aim for each night. Write down that number and post it somewhere visible as motivation.
Get serious about bedtime. If you want more sleep but your baby wakes each day at 6am, then one solution is to go to bed earlier in the evening. Set a bedtime that you do your best to stick to. It’s easy to get distracted (thanks, Netflix!), so set a timer on your phone 30 minutes before bedtime as a reminder to start winding down.
Digital detox. It’s true what they say: screen time before bed really does interfere with sleep. A 2014 study found that people who used e-readers before bedtime took 10 minutes longer to fall asleep and felt less rested the following day. Another found that participants who used iPads two hours before bed had noticeably lower level of melatonin. The takeaway? Ditch TVs, computers, tablets and phones an hour before bed. It’s a difficult feat, but worth it.
Upgrade the quality of your sleep. Whether you’re at the mercy of an unpredictable newborn or just wake up in the morning feeling tired, it may be time to improve your sleep conditions. Be sure that you’re sleeping in a very dark and quiet room. If you’re room-sharing with your baby (or a partner who snores), consider using white noise. If you find it difficult to calm your mind at bedtime, try essential oils like lavender or Roman chamomile at bedtime. If you live in a city, check out blackout curtains to filter out the bright city lights.
Indulge in rituals. Life with a baby can leave us feeling disjointed and out of sorts. If you need to ground yourself, consider creating rituals in the morning or just before bed. Some ideas: a bedtime journal or gratitude list; restorative yoga; or even just waking up early and enjoying a cup of coffee in peace.
This article was originally published in MORI.