Whenever you read any book or article for new parents, the most consistent topic which comes up is how to deal with sleep deprivation.
Simply put, when the baby comes, it is assumed that you won’t be able to sleep regularly as you have for the majority of your life due to your parenting obligations. And those assumptions are correct, your sleeping patterns will need to adapt to your baby’s needs.
However, as Mattress Makerspoint out, you still need to get some sleep, and this article is aimed at helping you with that.
Why the Lack of Sleep Can Be Dangerous
If you sleep next to nothing, the following day you will feel the consequences of that. You may feel cranky and irritable, or lethargic and drained.
However, those are minor issues compared to the real danger – your reaction times will slow, which puts you at risk in everyday activities like driving. Sleeping anything less than 5 hours increases this effect dramatically.
‘Sleep when the Baby Sleeps’
You will likely find this tip just about everywhere. However, the way babies sleep and the way adults sleep is fundamentally different and you will need some time to adapt to your baby’s biorhythm.
Some people can shift to several short naps throughout the day without too much effort or negative consequences. However, if you can’t do that, there are some ways you can help yourself.
Cut Out Your Electronics
This tip is not only great for moms, but for anyone who is having trouble sleeping. Stay away from your electronic gadgets at least for an hour before sleeping. That includes computers, TVs, and especially phones.
All of our screens use a backlight which is heavily in the cyan part of the light spectrum. Even if you don’t mind it, this wavelength of light has a profound effect on your sleep patterns.
Namely, this color directly affects the amount of melatonin, a hormone responsible for sleepiness. So, let go of your device and your melatonin levels will build up enough to put you to sleep naturally.
Make Sure Your Mattress Is Suitable
You may not have paid attention to the bed you are sleeping on, because you were able to have a normal and quality sleep. Now, however, when every moment counts, you need to make sure that your mattress and your bed are the best fit for you.
If you are not sure which one would be best, you can go down to a mattress store and test out a few, or you can look for adjustable base mattresses, which can help with a lot of your healthy sleep concerns.
Do What Makes You Sleepy
Remember those activities which put you to sleep before? Perhaps it was reading (on paper, remember to avoid screens), or maybe listening to music or radio talk shows.
Those might come in handy when you have a little time to yourself and want to relax and fall asleep more quickly.
Go to Bed Even if Not Sleepy
You may not be feeling tired for any number of reasons, even if your body really needs to rest. The levels of hormones in your body will still be a bit out of order, which may affect a whole slew or normal everyday activities, including sleep.
Experts on this topic suggest to go to bed, or at least take a rest on the couch when you have some spare time. Even if you do not sleep, just resting and relaxing can have a tremendously positive effect on you.
Ultimately, you may even realize how tired and sleepy you are and decide to have a short nap after all. Over the next several months, chances are that you will perfect this tactic and be able to sleep ‘on command’.
Don’t Let Coffee Regulate Your Sleeping Patterns
If you are like most Americans, you start your day with coffee. That extra kick of energy in the morning may come in handy, but don’t be too reliant on it for the rest of the day, because that’s not exactly how caffeine works.
Caffeine will mask how tired you are, but it cannot fix it, nothing but sleep can do that. So, have your morning pick-me-up, but cut yourself off for the rest of the day.
Take a More Relaxed Approach to Chores
Just because you had a baby, it doesn’t mean that the world has stopped. All of your chores are still there, waiting. No matter how you divide the chores in your household, you need to remember that your child and your health come first.
Don’t use the time when your baby is sleeping to vacuum the house or do dishes, those can wait because you need to rest as well.
If you are having these problems with sleep and organizing your time after childbirth, just remember that this initial shock and transition to an unsteady sleeping rhythm isn’t a permanent thing.
Babies tend to sleep for longer periods of time by the 2nd or 3rd month, so you will be able to do the same. By the age of 6 months, your baby will likely sleep all throughout the night, so you will be able to return to your normal sleeping cycle as well.