The arrival of a new baby is an exciting time for new parents, but it can also be tough on sleep routines. Adjusting to new demands on your time can be exhausting, but getting the sleep you need is just as challenging. By the time your baby is three months old, they can sleep at least five hours at a time. By six months, they could be sleeping for nine to twelve hours!1 Until you and your baby are enjoying a good, regular snooze, we’ve gathered our top ten sleep tips for you to get a decent sleep.
Top Ten Sleep Tips for Better Sleeping
1. Sleep when your baby sleeps.
Although they may wake up often during the night, newborn babies sleep a lot during the day. Sleeping when they do will help you get caught up on missed sleep. Turn off the phone and leave the chores alone – although it’s tempting to get stuff done when your baby is sleeping, you need to sleep more than the floors need cleaned.
2. Try to keep your baby alert during the day and create a calmer environment in the evening.
Switch to lower lighting, quieter voices, and reduce background noises, such as TVs, to help establish the difference between day and night-time routines. This could promote longer periods of sleep throughout the night. Read more about this here.
3. Assign baby duties.
Split night-time baby duty so that you and your partner each get at least one solid five-hour block of uninterrupted sleep. One of you is on duty from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., and the other from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. You can adjust these times to your schedule. The parent who is on-duty can still sleep, but they’ll be the one who gets up when the baby wakes up. Consider pumping breastmilk so that your partner can feed the baby with a bottle of milk without interrupting your sleep.
4. Don’t keep the baby in bed with you.
It’s alright to bring your baby into your bed for feeding – but return them to their cot when you’re ready to go back to sleep. Keeping your baby in bed with you can seem like the easier option – especially when you’re exhausted – but this can create more problems in the longer run. Returning your baby to their cot can help them associate the cot with sleeping.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
When family or friends visit during the first few weeks, don’t worry about small talk or social niceties. Ask if they’d mind watching the baby while you grab a quick nap. They’ll understand and will hopefully be happy to help.
6. Learn to accept help.
Everyone wants to prove that they can manage, but accepting help if people offer it doesn’t make you weak or a bad parent. If someone asks if they can help, give them a job to do – even if it’s just watching the baby while you have a quick shower.
7. Prepare for sleep.
Caring for a new baby can leave you feeling exhausted – perhaps even to the point that you expect yourself to fall asleep as soon as your head touches the pillow. However, sometimes you might instead find that you’re struggling to get to sleep. Make sure your environment is well suited for sleeping – your bedroom should be cool, dark, and quiet. If you are still trying to get to sleep after 15 – 20 minutes, leave the room and do something relaxing elsewhere, like reading a book. If you stay in bed, your brain will associate your bed with restlessness. Only go back to bed when you’re feeling sleepy.
8. Get rid of electronic distractions.
Remove laptops, mobile phones, or tablets from your bedroom, and ideally avoid screen time for an hour before going to bed. If you have a TV in your bedroom, keep it off. The blue light that’s emitted from these screens disrupts the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, and will disrupt your sleep quality. You can read more about how technology affects our sleep here.
9. Make sure your bed is comfy.
When sleep is in short supply, it’s important to make sure that your bed is comfortable and supportive, and an aid to restful sleep. If your mattress is old and lumpy, consider investing in a new one. Browse our selection of mattresses here.
10. Watch your hormones!
Sleep deprivation can lead to mood changes, and your hormones are already in over-drive. This can lead to the ‘Baby Blues’, or even Postnatal Depression, which you can read more about in our article, ‘Postnatal Depression and Sleep‘. If you’ve got any concerns about your mood levels, or an ongoing sleep problem, consult your doctor. Identifying and treating any underlying conditions will help you get the rest you need. Making sure that you get a good sleep is the best way to take good care of your baby.