Sleep deprivation can take a toll on your mind, body, and performance at work. When you’re in the midst of the new baby whirlwind, it may make you feel like you will never sleep again. The great news is that things will settle down eventually, and this phase will pass.
Even though sleep is hard to come by in early parenthood, innovations like the sleep patch and various tech tools can help earn back some hours of rest. Here are some techniques to help get you some much-deserved shut-eye in the meantime.
Switch Off With Your Partner
If you are raising your newborn with a partner, sharing responsibilities or designating shifts can help lighten the load. Consider alternating 2-4 hour shifts to handle nighttime duties like changing diapers and feeding while your partner sleeps. Splitting duties and having scheduled sleep periods can help everyone involved stay on the right side of sanity.
When it’s your off night, try using a sleep patch to help you get a more restful night. Look for ones that are made with ingredients like hemp extract and melatonin to further aid you in getting that much-deserved quality sleep.
All you have to do is stick the patch on the inside of your arm and begin reaping the benefits for 8-12 hours. This gives greater control over your sleep schedule and helps you take advantage of those windows of opportunity when they’re open. Your body, mind, partner, and baby will thank you for getting the necessary rest.
Sleep When Your Baby Sleeps
Although getting eight consecutive hours of sleep through the night would be ideal, it’s rarely an option with a newborn, especially during the nights where it’s your shift to take the responsibilities. Instead of fighting against your baby’s unpredictable sleep rhythms, consider syncing your sleep periods with theirs.
The average infant takes frequent naps throughout the day, lasting up to four hours at a time and sometimes as much as 18 hours a day. Take advantage of these quiet moments to sneak a few z’s in. Even if you sleep a bit while the sun is up, it’s better than running on empty.
Get Specialized Advice
Just like adults, sometimes our babies struggle to get to sleep with ease. At times, this can be due to general restlessness or sometimes related to other health issues. You may have tried any number of techniques, from swaddling and rocking them, singing them to sleep, or using ambient noise machines with little success.
If all else fails, consider consulting your baby’s pediatrician for help. It’s common for babies to struggle with sleep, but understanding when it’s time to get help can be key to keeping you and your baby happy and healthy.
There’s a healthy balance between overloading on information from books or doctors and using your own parental intuition to help your baby sleep. Trust your abilities as a parent and get alternative opinions and inputs as you learn more primary experience.
Ask Family and Friends for Help
You may have heard the expression that it takes a village to raise a child. Many of us would like to be super parents and go at it alone, but this isn’t the most sustainable approach. Chances are, the people closest to you are just as excited as you are about the new little person in their life.
Don’t be ashamed to ask for help either; new parents all deserve a day to slap on a sleep patch, put on a sleep eye mask, and get some quality shut-eye. When in a pinch, you can always bring in a reputable sitter to help with all the labor that comes along with raising a newborn. They can also help with the many associated chores of child-rearing.
Reduce Sources of Stimulation
Caring for a newborn is challenging, and we tend to lean on external stimulation to power through. When you’re experiencing that new-parent tired feeling, it’s tempting to keep the caffeine constantly flowing, for example. In the short term, this may provide you with the jolt you’re seeking. The problem is this stimulant may disrupt your sleep cycle when you finally get that precious window of time to doze off. Opt for herbal tea and electrolyte water instead of reaching for that second or third cup of joe.
Screen time is another form of stimulation that can disrupt our ability to attain deep, rejuvenating sleep. There’s always the option to open your phone and research parenting tips or scroll away on meaningless content. However, increased exposure to light throughout the day and before bedtime can disrupt your natural sleep cycle. Lightwaves can signal wakefulness to our brains, making it more difficult to fall asleep when the chance arises.
Defining periods in the day where you are allowed screen time can help prevent you from overindulging and losing out on precious shut-eye. Let yourself rest with a sleep patch to make sure you utilize each hour available!
The Sleep You Need as a New Parent
Having a newborn is an exciting, fulfilling, and, let’s face it, stressful time in life. Take a breath, and take some comfort in knowing that many parents have done it before and survived!