- Keep your lifestyle healthy
Seems obvious, but eating well, keeping active, and drinking lots of water can have significant effects on your sleep.
Keeping healthy will work wonders for your energy levels when you’re super sleep deprived. Fueling your body with the right foods boosts your metabolism, so start the day with a breakfast brimming with nutrients, and eat a mix of fruit, vegetables, and wholegrains throughout the day.
Try to avoid alcohol and caffeine where you can (we know that morning coffee is non-negotiable) because it can lead to dehydration, which in turn can intensify your fatigue.
Don’t try to fill your baby-free time with too much. There’s no need to force yourself to be productive. Take the pressure off and take a 20-30-minute nap. This is the ideal length to avoid the groggy feeling you get with an overly long daytime nap. Short daytime naps are the best way to rejuvenate yourself, and to give yourself a headstart for the long night ahead.
If you have a partner and they work during the day, don’t be tempted to take on the night shifts all by yourself. Doing round-the-clock feedings can lead to serious sleep deprivation. So if you have the option, why not rotate nights? At least one person can recharge and be more helpful the following day. Co-parenting is about working together as a team.
If you’re nursing, you could try pumping breast milk ahead of time, even for a couple of the nighttime feeds.
Parenting can be overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to lean on those closest to you. Try calling on a friend to help with childcare or household tasks so you can get some well-earned rest! And don’t feel guilty about it. A good friend will be happy to help wherever they can.
- Create a good sleeping environment (for you and the baby)
A cool, quiet, dark environment is ideal for both you and your baby.
Make sure that the temperature is not too hot or too cold – 68-72°F (20-22°C) is ideal.
Also, put some bedtime rituals in place from an early age, such as reading a story or a gentle warm bath before bed. It can help your baby (and also you) drift off as it sends signals to your body that it’s time for sleep.
- Set yourself up for good sleep
To put you in the best state for sleep, there are certain things you should avoid doing too close to bedtime:
- Don’t eat anything too heavy right before bed
- Don’t do any stressful tasks at night (e.g., working late)
- Don’t exercise 2-3 hours before sleep
- Don’t drink caffeine within six hours of bedtime