Your sleep will be interrupted for the first few months after your baby arrives, so it is important for you to look after yourself. Try to sleep when your baby sleeps during the day so you can get some rest.
Most newborns need an adult to help them go to sleep and to settle back to sleep during both day and night. Most babies are more settled at night by 12 weeks of age.
When you don’t get enough sleep, you may be less able to respond well to your baby and be the parent you are keen to be. Prolonged sleep deprivation will make it harder to manage any anxiety or low moods you may experience.
Improving your sleep
- Try to go to your bedroom when you feel tired, close the curtains and switch off the light. Don’t just fall asleep in front of the TV.
- Avoid smoking (nicotine) and caffeine – that includes coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate.
- Try to drink eight glasses of water each day. If you are dehydrated, you will feel even more tired.
- For the stay-at-home parent, take as many short naps as you can through the day. Lots of mini-naps (5 to 30 minutes) are really helpful for tired bodies and can help you get through the tough days and nights.
- Accept offers of help from your partner or friends. Ask them to help by watching your baby, making dinner or doing a little housework to allow you to get some extra time to sleep or rest.
To help you relax before you sleep
- Do gentle stretches to release tension
- Try some breathing exercises
- There are also some useful apps that offer short meditation like 1 Giant Mind or Smiling Mind
- Take a shower or bath
- Drink a herbal non-caffeinated tea
If you are tired and find yourself feeling angry, stressed, annoyed or tearful, develop and practice a “calm-down” plan of your own. For example:
- Phone a good friend to talk
- Keep in touch with friends on social media
- Do deep breathing exercises
- Get out in the garden or park for a walk and some sunshine
- Listen to some of your favourite music
- Read a book, magazine or newspaper
Want to know more?
The Raising Children Network – How to sleep better: for parents