When you have a newborn, getting a decent quantity of sleep can be tricky. However, improving the quality of your sleep can help offset the negative effects of sleep deprivation and give you the energy you need to care for your newborn and yourself.
Listed below are five tricks that will help you sleep more soundly and make the limited hours of rest you’re able to get as rejuvenating as possible.
5 Tricks That Will Help You Sleep More Soundly After Delivery
1. Get Rid of Electronics
Sleep is a precious commodity for new mothers, so it’s important to get any device that can alter your sleep quality out of your bedroom.
Turn your cell phone off (or at least mute it) and keep it away from the bed so you won’t be tempted to reach for it. Try to avoid turning on the TV or watching videos on the computer, too, as the blue light from the screens will keep you feeling alert.
If you can swing it, it’s best to also turn off your baby monitor or take it out of the room. Of course, if you’re home alone with your baby, this probably isn’t going to happen.
To get some uninterrupted, high-quality sleep — even if it’s just in the form of a nap — don’t be afraid to ask for help or accept it when people offer. That way, you can nap in peace knowing that your baby is safe.
2. Invest in Tools that Improve Your Sleep
It’s also worth it to invest in some tools that can help you get into a deep sleep faster. Get whatever equipment you need to keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. Good tools to start with include:
A fan to keep the room between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit
Earplugs or a white noise machine (an exception to the technology rule) to block city or neighborhood sounds
A heavy duty eye mask or blackout curtains to keep things dark
A neck brace that lessens pressure on the spine and helps stop you from sleeping in an uncomfortable, pain-inducing position
A high-quality pillow that will support your head and neck and also help you stay cool
3. Hack Your Naps
A 20-minute power nap is better than nothing, but it might not do you much good if you’re severely sleep deprived. On the flip side, stretching your naps for too long can leave you feeling groggy for the rest of the day (it may also hinder your ability to fall asleep at night).
To get the most out of periods when you’re able to nap, try to sleep for about 90 minutes and not much longer. This allows you to get through about one full sleep cycle, which means you’ll wake up feeling more rested than if you’d cut it short or extended it too long.
4. Lighten Up Your Evening Meal
Finding the time to prepare a proper meal and sit down and actually eat it can be just as difficult as finding the time to sleep when you have a newborn. That being said, you should still do your best to avoid eating heavy meals right before bed.
Try to stop eating a few hours before you plan to go to sleep to give your body time to digest your food and decrease your likelihood of dealing with heartburn or indigestion.
If you do feel hungry at night, try to eat something light and easy-to-digest, such as:
White meat like deli turkey or chicken
Fruit with a little bit of cheese or nut butter
Raw vegetables like carrots or cucumbers with hummus
Easy-to-digest carbs like bananas or rice cakes
5. Limit Caffeine
Normally, on lists of tips to improve your sleep, limiting your consumption of stimulants is at the very top. For new parents, though, your coffee or tea might be the only thing helping you function.
You don’t need to give up caffeine altogether. But, if your sleep is suffering, it’s best to try to cut yourself off by about 12 or 1 p.m.
Caffeine has a half-life of 5-6 hours. This means that 5-6 hours after your last cup of coffee, half of the caffeine is still in your system. So, if you’re drinking coffee at 3 or 4 in the afternoon (or later), half of that caffeine could be keeping you awake at 9 or 10 p.m., right when you’re trying to fall asleep.
To maximize the limited hours of sleep you’re getting with a newborn, keep these tips in mind. That way, even if the quantity isn’t ideal, your sleep quality is at least where it needs to be to help you feel at least a little more energized.