Dealing With Lack Of Sleep As A New Parent
One of the toughest parts of becoming a new parent is dealing with the lack of sleep. On average, new parents get between 4 and 6 hours of sleep per night (the recommended amount of sleep per night is 6 to 9 hours). Without getting enough sleep, you’re more at risk of developing physical and mental health problems – sleep deprivation increases stress levels, lowers our immune system, reduces memory recall and can slow wound healing.
Fortunately, there are various ways in which you can reduce these negative health effects – including finding ways of upping your sleep. Below are just some of the ways to cope with lack of sleep as a new parent.
Try to sleep when your baby sleeps
One way to get more sleep as a new parent is to sleep when your baby sleeps. This means that if they decide to take a two hour nap at midday, you also take a two hour nap. Of course, this isn’t always practical – your little one may decide to nap while you’re meeting a friend or while you’re driving the car. There may also be times when you want to use your baby’s nap time to do more productive things such as housework or simply enjoy some free time. However, if you’ve got no other current plans and are utterly exhausted, it makes sense to take that time out to nap.
Share night feeds with your partner
Some newborn babies can be up every two hours in the night. This can be utterly exhausting if you’re doing it alone. If you have a partner, consider finding a way of sharing out night feeds. This could include taking it in turns to do each night feed per night or it could involve doing a whole night of night feeds and then letting your partner do the next night. You can read these tips for sharing night feeds with a partner.
Get help from family or friends
If you’re desperate for some extra sleep, don’t be afraid to call upon family and friends. They may be able to look after your little one for a few hours while you catch up on some sleep. This is particularly worth doing if you’ve had several nights of very poor sleep quality.
Explore different ways to improve your baby’s sleep quality
There are many ways in which you can help your baby to sleep for longer periods. With newborns, you should try to replicate the environment of the womb – swaddling your baby, keeping them warm, using white noise and keeping the room pitch black are all tricks that can work. As your little one starts to understand the difference between night and day, you can then think about bringing in a bedtime routine to get your little one to sleep at a certain time.
Remind yourself that sleepless nights aren’t forever
Your little one will eventually learn to sleep throughout the night. In fact, most babies are sleeping through the night on a regular basis by 4 months. It’s important to keep this into consideration in order to stay encouraged. If your baby isn’t sleeping through the night regularly by 4 months, they may just need more help developing a routine or you may want to consider improving their sleep environment. These tips for 4 month old baby care offer some advice on how to get your baby sleeping through the night (as well as general advice on other milestones to look out for). See a doctor if you feel that your child isn’t sleeping well due to pain or discomfort.
Eat a healthy diet and exercise
Less hours of sleep will result in less energy and a lower immune system. A healthy diet and a good amount of exercise can help to keep you energised and could help you to fight off illnesses. If you don’t feel you have the energy to prepare healthy meals, try looking into some of these easy healthy meal ideas. There are also lots of exercises that you can do with a baby so that you’re staying active and looking after your little one at the same time.
Take time to destress
You’re more likely to get stressed if you haven’t had enough sleep. This stress could wear you down if you’re not careful. Try to take time out to destress – this could include scheduling child-free time to meditate, take a hot bath, listen to music, socialize or exercise.