Being a new parent can be exhausting and tedious experience. Well, motherhood is quite different from what you had imagined in your mind. Obviously, you love your child more than you could have imagined. But, what if you hadn’t had a good night’s sleep for weeks or months may be. Taking care of your baby is not an easy job, especially when you are deprived of sleep.
Besides the disturbances from baby’s feeding and potty, there are other reasons that can cause sleep deprivation in new moms. The primary one includes hormonal imbalance. The levels of progesterone start off high after ovulation and then begin to fall. This fast dropping of levels increases the chances of sleep problems. You might face problems like poor quality of sleep, taking longer to drift off, or feel more lethargic. These reasons are sufficient enough to hinder a sound sleep.
Tips to manage Sleep after a New Born
Well, it is not necessary for sleep deprivation and motherhood to go hand in hand. Here are some effective ways and helpful tips that can help you manage sleep after having a baby while taking good care of him/her.
- Set the Mood : There are numerous factors that influence good or bad sleep. Try to create an environment that induces sleep. Make sure that your bedroom is quiet and dark with a comfortable temperature to induce sleep. You can use light-blocking window shades, use a white-noise machine, and turn a bright alarm clock away from you.
- Practice Good Timing : To prevent insomnia, try to avoid eating heavy meals just before bed. Also, avoid stressful tasks at night and don’t exercise at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. Try to avoid caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime. Rather, try to take a glass of warm milk to help sleep.
- Establish a Sleep Ritual : Establishing a sleep ritual would not happen instantly. You have to work on it for some time. Doing the same thing every night before bed, like reading a book or taking a bath signals your body it’s sleep time. Try to fix daily sleep time and wake time every day.
- Make up for Lost Sleep : Over a short span of sleep deprivation, it is possible to compensate for some of the missed out sleep. When a person who is sleep deprived gets some sleep, the brain will make-up both deep and REM sleep. Besides, sleeping a little extra during weekends, just two or three hours extra, can provide great benefits. However, don’t let a little extra dozing turn into a sleep binge. Sleep overdose can start a whole new cycle of deprivation as you might not feel tired at bedtime.
- Split up Nighttime Duties : It feels nice to hear when someone calls you a supermom who does everything. However, it is not at all fun to be one. It is not necessary to do it all by yourself. Try to delegate some of the responsibilities to family members. Also, make efforts to work out a schedule with your partner that allows both of you to rest and care for the new baby. If you are breast feeding, you can ask your partner to bring you the baby or handle nighttime diaper changes. However, if you are using bottles, you can always take turns to feed the baby.
- Catch a Nap : New moms don’t need to be more productive during the baby’s nap time. A short half an hour nap would refresh you without causing sleep inertia, that groggy, out-of-it feeling while awake. While your baby is asleep, keep your phone on silent mode, ignore the dishes in the sink, hide the laundry basket, and ignore all pending work. Chores and calls can wait. Make a way to sleep when your baby sleeps.
- Relax! Don’t be over anxious about your baby’s cry : Many new moms turn to super-light sleepers as they feel if they go into deep sleep, they might not hear the baby’s cry. It is absolutely alright if your baby cries just a few minutes before you hear him. However, if you are too concerned, try to invest in a baby monitor that will help you hear the sounds your baby makes from the crib better.
- Get Professional Help : If none of the tips help you take a good night’s sleep, it’s better to get professional help. Tell your doctor about your sleep problems. Some problems, like insomnia, can be a cause for emotional or physical illness.
- Avoid Taking Added Responsibility : It is very important to say no to any extra work when you have a new born. Whether it is doing something for your neighbor or running a new errand for your house or initiating a new project in the office, don’t commit to it. If you have an elder child, try to keep him occupied elsewhere rather than taking to a friend’s home for a play date. You have your hands already full with the new baby’s responsibilities.
- Practice Relaxation Exercises : A bit of yoga and meditation will not only make your nerves serene while making you less grumpy, it would also help you take control of your day in a better way. Play some soothing music and reduce the brightness of light lamps. Try to relax using Pranayama techniques. Most importantly, try to take things lightly.
Most importantly, watch what you eat. Avoid eating excessively spicy or very sweet food. Also, stay away from fried foods for they can make you feel lethargic and lazy. It’s better to opt for healthier and refreshing juices. Increase the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. Drink plenty of water to stay healthy.
Besides all the above mentioned tips and suggestions, it is most important to remember that all this is temporary. Lift your spirits keeping this thought in mind. Very soon your baby will start to sleep through the night, or at least 6-8hours at a stretch. That would be your reward for all the hard work. Happy Motherhood!