Parenthood: What About Your Sleep?

The national sleep foundation’s current recommendation is that adults have between 7-9 hours sleep...do you get that?? If the answer is no, here are some ideas to help you get some much-needed rest as you enter parenthood with a newborn...

We often focus on our child’s sleep but then end up neglecting ourselves and the sleep we need as parents. Parenting is tough and tiring, so it’s important that we prioritise ourselves too. A lot of us don't even consider our own sleep, catching the odd bits here and there. In fact, we often live in a world of “sleep debt”, never really feeling fully rested.

We also have a lot of outside factors in our life that really aren’t conducive to a good night’s sleep including caffeine, alarm clocks, electronic devices and yep - the children!

Tips for a better night’s sleep:

Share the night duties

If you have a newborn, then consider sharing out those sleepless nights your partner or other family member. They do happen for a little while, so having a way to manage these is important. You may be breastfeeding as a new mum, but you can still share the night duties by allowing dad to take over with winding and settling the baby once baby has been fed.

If you are not breastfeeding, why not consider taking it in turns for those night feeds. This can also include asking for help from other family members if sleep deprivation is taking its toll...never be afraid to ask for help! 

Set yourself a bedtime routine

Yes, you have heard me right. I heavily promote a bedtime routine for your children, but for some reason as adults we tend to leap into bed and expect to just switch off. Given the busy lives we often live, it’s no wonder that sometimes it isn’t as simple as this. Consider a nice relaxing routine including a bath or reading a book and switch off those mobile phones, tablets and TVs to help you relax.

Consider your own room environment

Much like your children's rooms, try and prioritise your own sleep space as well. Make sure it’s a nice temperature, dark and void of any distractions. Try keeping your bedroom as a space for sleep. If your room is also where you do your exercise, watch films or even work, then your brain will struggle to switch off and not associate your room with sleeping.

Be mindful on what you eat and drink before bed

Hands up if you sit and eat chocolate late at night – yes, my hand is up whilst eating chocolate with the other! Or maybe you prefer a hot cup of coffee after putting the children to bed. As much as these things are comforting at the time, they both contain a lot of caffeine which can really disturb our sleep, so consider cutting down on these things particularly in the hours before bed. 

Try a meditation app

Although mobile phones can be really distracting, there are also some fabulous apps out there to help you relax and switch off. One I would recommend is 'headspace'. It is a great app to help with anxiety and meditation techniques, which can be used before sleep to help you drift off into a deep sleep more quickly. 

The main thing to remember is to MAKE YOURSELF A PRIORITY. As parents, our children rightly become the main focus in our life but that doesn’t mean you need to completely ignore your own health and wellbeing. Try to exercise, eat well and sleep well whenever you can, as this will help you feel much more energetic during the day.

Guest Writer

Claire Louise sleepnanny.co.uk

Sleep Consultant