Strategies for Parents to get Better Sleep

Written by Super User. Posted in Blog

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It’s a common phenomenon. When babies have immature or poor sleep skills, they wake a lot and need a lot of help to resettle. This means you’re also waking a lot. Once sleep stabilizes for your baby, either as an organic process or with guidance and help, often parents are still waking up frequently or have difficulty going to sleep.

This is called insomnia and its happening because your body has been trained to wake up at certain times. And, if your bed has been a place of stress and anxiety over when your baby will wake and need you next, your sleep environment may not be supporting you to get the sleep you need.

Here are seven tips to get your sleep back on track. After all, if your baby is now sleeping well, shouldn’t you be sleeping well too?

  1. Limit or cut out any caffeine (beverages and chocolate are big ones here) after noon. Caffeine’s half life is 4-6 hours so you may still be feeling the effects when it’s time for you to go to bed. If you’re opting for a warm drink before bed, ensure it’s got zero caffeine in it.

  2. Limit your screen time before bed and don’t bring screens into bed with you. It’s tempting. WE get it. But staring at your tablet or phone before dozing off can really affect your ability to get to sleep. That blue light that comes out of your device signals your body to alert, not settle.

  3. Set up your room for best sleep. If you’ve worked with us you know that we prescribe specific environmental changes for your baby to get his/her best sleep. This applies for you too. Think dark, quiet and cool. Consider covering up lights on electronics (phones, alarm clocks, etc) as this can even rouse you out of a sleepy state.

  4. Be disciplined about going to bed and getting up at the same hour. While the getting up part may not be dictated by what you’d like, if your child wakes at 6am, work it backward from there and set your to-bed time. This is in your control. It is sometimes hard to get to bed at a decent hour if you want to squeeze in a bit of “grown up” time, but it’s worth it to get your body set and into a regular rhythm of wakefulness and sleepiness.

  5. If you cannot fall asleep or wake in the night, try to get back to sleep but if this fails after about 10-15 minutes, get out of bed and do something enjoyable but a bit boring (or relaxing). Avoid screens and keep the environment dimmed and “night like”. Reading or knitting are good choices. Once you feel sleepy again, head back to bed. Staying in your bed and getting anxious about not returning or getting to sleep will not serve you well.

  6. Get active. Get outside. Activity builds your natural drive to sleep. Daylight sets you up for your wake/sleep cycle. And it’s good for your mental health too.

  7. Brain dump. If you find that you are going over to-do lists or have great ideas pop into your head as you are trying to wind down, write it out. Keep a note pad on your bedside table, write it down so you don’t worry about forgetting. Because we all know that pregnancy and baby brain don’t really go away!

Sleep well parents! The world is a much more pleasant place with a few good hours of sleep under your belt.