After nine long months filled with eager anticipation, there’s nothing more exciting or rewarding than finally meeting your new bundle of joy. While all of the wonder, joy, and excitement of parenthood can feel a bit overwhelming (and in the best way possible), the full package of new parenthood also typically includes a healthy dose of sleep deprivation. As a new mama, waking up throughout the night can leave you feeling exhausted, day after day.
Though a disrupted sleep schedule is to be expected with the arrival of a new baby, it’s incredibly important to keep your sleep priorities straight while caring for your baby.
Ongoing sleep deprivation comes with a slew of serious consequences that can poorly affect your physical and mental health, so it’s imperative that you create and maintain healthy sleeping habits. But the golden question remains: how exactly do you get the rest you need when the forces seem to be working against you?
Using this guide, we’ll help you get there!
Set your bedroom up for success
Even though a long day of caring for your baby may leave you lusting for the comfort of your bedroom, a less-than-optimal bedroom will disappoint your high expectations. Setting your bedroom up for sleep success means ensuring it’s dark, quiet, comfortable, and completely free of distractions.
Also, consider upgrading your mattress if the one you currently have isn’t doing the trick. A brand new mattress with a cooling memory foam topper makes a world of difference when you’re trying to get some shut-eye. You won’t believe how much your mattress quality affects your sleep quality when you treat yourself to an upgrade.
Create a bedtime routine
A bedtime routine can be anything that prepares you for catching Z’s. Whether that’s turning off gadgets, taking a bath, or listening to music, the right string of activities that soothe and destress will allow your mind to relax and doze off into deep slumber. It’s a mere matter of experimentation to find out what your perfect string of pre-bedtime events will look like.
Need some experimentation inspiration? Try the following exercises:
- Read a book
- Soak your toes in hot water
- Listen to nature sounds
- Do yoga
- Drink a cup of chamomile tea
Each of these activities will help ease the transition between restlessness and drowsiness, allowing you to doze off in minutes.
Share nighttime feeding responsibilities
Nighttime feedings are a simple fact of being a new parent— but new mamas, you don’t have to go it alone. Enlisting the help of your spouse to take turns with feeding will allow you more time for peaceful, uninterrupted rest.
Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, reach out for help from your spouse or loved ones close to you. That you aren’t the only one waking up at night to tend to baby; you don’t have to go it alone.
Eliminate your evening caffeine intake
If you’re like most people, you depend on a little bit of caffeine to get you through your day. However, did you know that consuming caffeine after 3pm can negatively affect your ability to sleep at night?
Caffeine can stay active in your bloodstream for up to 6-8 hours after consumption, meaning those evening doses can actually do your body far more harm than it does good. At the end of the day, you want to get rest—don’t jeopardize your potential for a good sleep by preemptively waking your body up.
Set the temperature
We’ve all been there, tossing and turning because it’s too hot in the bedroom, or shivering and uncomfortable because it’s too frigid. Studies show that the best sleeping temperature for most people is between 60 and 67 degrees. Thus, if your thermometer is out of whack, you may need to make adjustments.
Stay off your phone at night
Tempting as it might be to check your phone at night and catch up on all of the latest celeb gossip or social media from the day, unwinding in bed with phone in hand can actually cause your brain to wake up. Blue light exposure is the light emitted from electronic devices like smartphones, TVs, laptops, and tablets—all of which are responsible for activating your brain and keeping you alert and awake.
You know where this point is going, right? In order to get a good night’s rest, say goodnight to all of your favorite devices before getting in bed.
You did it! You delivered the perfect baby, and your parenthood dreams are coming true every single day. With all of that hard work behind you and plenty still ahead, it’s time to get some sleep. With these tried and true tips, you’ll be one blink away from blissful shut-eye.