Your body needs sleep to recover and recharge. As a parent, that’s especially true. You’ve probably heard it 100 times, “you should sleep when the baby sleeps,” but that’s not always possible. There are piles of laundry, meals to make and other household chores that need to be done.
We understand that being a parent is hard and there’s not just one right way to do get everything done, but some of these tips and tricks might help you get a little more shut-eye as a parent with a newborn or young child.
The Effects of Lack of Sleep
It’s happened to the best of us—especially parents with little kids. You wake up after a bad night’s sleep with bloodshot eyes and dark circles. We get it! You’ve got a lot going on, with different bedtimes, early mornings and everything else in between, but it’s important to take some time to take care of yourself. One of the most important things your body needs? Sleep (it’s right up there with water, food, and shelter).
Lack of sleep not only impacts your physical appearance but your brain and internal systems, too. When you don’t sleep enough, you may experience memory issues, have trouble concentrating and experience mood changes. All of these side effects may impact the way you’re able to parent. Not to mention sleep deprivation can lead to some more serious side effects, including a weakened immune system and risk of weight gain and disease.
Most sleep experts say that adults need somewhere between 7 and 8 hours of sleep every night. This gives your body the time it needs to rest and recover. As a parent, especially a new parent, you probably won’t get the sleep you’re used to, and this can have an impact on your body. You’re probably used to sleeping through the night (the recommended 7-8 hours, if you’re lucky), but now there is a baby that’s up every few hours in the night or a young kid who likes to wake you up at 4 a.m. While your child is your top priority, you have to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, too—and that means getting some sleep.
Tips for Sleep-Deprived Parents
So, how can you get the sleep you need and still be a great parent? We’ve got some suggestions. We aren’t saying that by trying these tips you’re going to start getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, but you may be able to catch a few extra zzz’s.
Take shifts with your partner. There are many different ideas and expert opinions on when you should introduce your baby to a bottle, but once they’re ready, you and your partner can switch off who gets up in the night to feed them. That way, at least one of you is getting a decent night’s sleep each night. If you have a guest room or extra bed, you can put it to good use: the partner who gets up with the baby can sleep in the other room, so the partner with the “night off” can get uninterrupted sleep.
Have the same bedtime as your kid. It might be weird to go to bed when the sun hasn’t set yet, but it may help you get more sleep. If you go to bed at 8:00 p.m. (or shortly thereafter) with your kids, that 4:00 a.m. wakeup call might not be so brutal. Hey—that’s about 7.5 hours of sleep!
Don’t be afraid to ask for a little help. Even great parents sometimes need a little help. Relatives and close friends will offer to help, so, when you’re ready, let them, even it’s something as simple folding your laundry while you and the baby catch a short nap. Every little bit helps. Plus, they get to spend time with their favorite baby and help you while they do it.
Be patient. Most babies won’t immediately fall into a routine, or they’ll have the same sleep schedule for a few weeks and then do a complete 180. That also means you’re your sleep schedule may be all over the place. Just remember that there is no perfect way to be a parent and every baby is different, so don’t be too hard on yourself—you’ll both get there!
How can parents get better sleep?
You may not get the same amount of sleep you did before you had kids, so it’s important that the sleep you do get leaves you feeling rested. Try these tips to feel more rested, even with a little less sleep.
Establish a bedtime routine and bedtime and stick to it. Doing the same things at night (dinner, a warm bath, a bedtime story) creates a routine that your kid will come to associate with going to sleep. This can make bedtime a little smoother, giving both of you more sleep. Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day can help you feel more rested.
Wind down with a book or soothing music at night, not technology. The blue light from technology keeps your brain stimulated and can make it hard to fall asleep. Eliminating technology before bed can help you fall to sleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Squeeze in naps during the day. Twenty-minute naps are ideal for a quick surge of energy. Eating healthy and getting regular exercise (yes, exercise) can also give you more energy.
Invest in the right bedding. Your mattress is key to getting good sleep. The Leesa mattress gives you the pressure relief and support you need to sleep better. The same can be said for the right pillows, sheets, and blankets. Good bedding = better rest.
Let Leesa help you get the best night’s sleep. Shop the Leesa Mattress
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