6 Sleep Tips to Help New Moms Get Some Rest
New moms may be the most sleep deprived part of the population. A recent survey found that almost half of new moms get just one to three hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. New dads do their part, but it’s the moms who get up most often in the night as they are generally responsible for feedings in those early months. While as a new mom you can expect to get less sleep than ever before, there is no reason to turn into a zombie. We put together some useful tips to help you get a few more Zs!
How babies impact mom’s sleep
The most obvious way in which a new baby prevents sleep is feeding. Infants don’t eat on the same schedule as kids and adults. New moms have to get up in the middle of the night to feed. And sometimes babies just cry; they need diaper changes; they need comforting; and they don’t operate on an adult clock.
While things will get better once babies start sleeping through the night, new research indicates it’s not the end of sleep deprivation. For seven years, researchers tracked the sleep habits of parents with new babies as their children grew.
Moms reported a bigger drop in sleep quality and amount than dads. But what was really surprising was that even four to six years later parents still hadn’t recovered their original levels of sleep quality or sleep time. And of course moms fared worse.
So get ready for a long haul new moms, but also try these helpful tips to get more and better sleep when you can.
- Make sleep a top priority. To be healthy you need adequate rest. This may mean giving up some other things to make sleep one of your biggest priorities. Maybe you won’t be able to watch your favorite show for a few months or go out with friends at night, but these are temporary sacrifices to make for staying healthy and happy.
- Sleep when you can – when baby sleeps. Newborn babies sleep about 16 hours each day, and eight of those hours are actually during the day time. This gives you the opportunity to catch some cat naps here and there. When your baby nods off, try to get some sleep in as well.
- Don’t sweat the small chores. You would not be the first new mom to feel guilty about napping during the day. There are endless chores to do, but now is not the time to stress over them. Let the dishes pile up; skip cleaning the bathroom for another day; and don’t worry about dust on surfaces. What you and your baby need now is for you to get enough sleep.
- Accept help, then take a nap. New moms are modern day heroes, but they still can’t do it all. Let others help you. Try to get support from friends and family when it makes sense. Use that valuable free time to get an hour or two of sleep.
- Take early morning walks. A recent study on sleep and light exposure investigated office workers, but the findings can also be applied to new moms. After tracking exposure to light, sleep habits, and mood in over 100 workers, the researchers found there were benefits of morning light exposure: better quality and more sleep at night, less stress, and improved mood. A morning walk with baby is a great way to get natural light and exercise (therefore better sleep!)
- Try listening to white noise with your baby. Did you know that white noise has been proven to help babies fall asleep? White noise is a sound that blends different frequencies together creating a soothing drone. Try out various types of white noise as you put your baby to bed at night. Find one that you both like. This can be a great bonding experience and a way for both mom and baby to drift off to sleep more easily each night. The BetterSleep app features different white noise sounds that you can try for free and mix together to create your perfect sleep ambience.
Sleep is one of the biggest challenges of being a new mom, but don’t give up hope. While you may not sleep as much or as well as you once did, it is possible to make improvements. Try these tips for getting the most out of the time you have for sleep.
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