5 Ways to Deal With New Parent Sleep Troubles
It’s no surprise that having children especially newborn disrupt parents’ sleep. In fact, it is pretty smooth to spot new parent due to the features of red and bloodshot eyes, coupled with the dark circles around their eyes and their worn-out faces.
Although the appearance of a toddler is a beautiful and completely satisfying occasion, you will agree that It’s not easy caring for your baby — not to mention the rest of your family.
Most new parents find that they can’t seem to find time to sleep and rest during the first few weeks and months and they’re continually so exhausted. Women in particular often find it difficult to make up sleep lost while caring for infant children, juggling family and career.
Because newborn babies require a whole lot of time and interest, a new parent may feel obligated to dedicate every available time (day and night) to the baby forgetting that they have needs also.
A typical newborn awakens about every three hours and needs to be fed, changed, and comforted. If this is their first baby, parents–in particular, the mother–can become overwhelmed by exhaustion.
Getting the sleep they need during those first few months is vital not only for their sanity but for their safety.
According to the National Sleep Foundation sleep duration recommendations, adults require about 7-9 hours of sleep daily. When you miss hours from this recommended sleep length on an ongoing basis, you build something called a “Sleep debt” which is pretty tough to pay back.
What Is Sleep Debt?
Sleep debt is the accumulated amount of sleep loss from insufficient sleep, regardless of cause.
According to the America Sleep Association It’s important for people to understand that a large sleep debt can well lead to physical and/or mental fatigue, short temper and lack of concentration and after several sleepless nights, the mental effects are more pronounced, and you are at risk for injuries and domestic accidents.
Another study conducted by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, people who sleep less than five hours per day are four to five times more likely to be involved in a sleep-related crash.
Drowsy driving, is responsible for an estimated 100,000 crashes each year, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And sleep loss can also increase a new mom’s risk of postpartum mood problems.
So what can you do about it? The following suggestions may be helpful in finding ways to get more rest now.
Help For New Parents
In the first few weeks, a mother needs to be relieved of all responsibilities other than feeding the baby and taking care of herself.
Lie down, even if you can’t sleep. Get off your feet, relax on the couch, and stay off the phone.
Don’t stress if you can’t fall asleep. “Just lying down for a half hour can be very restorative,” A cool, dark environment is also optimal for napping.
Avoid the intake of Caffeine, Nicotine or Alcohol. Caffeine (found in coffee) and Nicotine (found in cigarettes) are stimulants and will prevent you from getting sleep. Alcohol may help you sleep but it is not advisable to take Alcohol when you are still breastfeeding.
Say yes to help.
New, as well as experienced parents soon, realize that babies require a lot of work. Meeting the constant needs of a newborn involves time and energy and often takes parents away from other responsibilities in the home.
But a lot of women are resistant, but whether it is a family member, friend, or babysitter, accept any help that you can get so you can get a few hours of sleep. Sleep is a medical requirement and you need one. When you do get to nap, avoid television, radio, and looking at your clock so you don’t focus on how much time you have left.
If your baby takes a bottle, ask your partner to take on some of the feedings. Try to divide up all your household responsibilities as best you can.
Make sure your spouse is actively involved. You both could run shifts at night and they could help in feeding the baby, diaper change and rocking the baby to sleep.
Be choosy about guests.
Try to limit the number of visitors you attend to on a daily basis during the first few weeks and months because this could deduct significantly from the amount of time you have for sleep and rest.
There are helpful visitors like a mother-in-law who may help with meal preparation and baby care, and aggravating visitors like coworkers or neighbors who just want to gossip.
When friends and family stop in to visit the new baby, women may feel obligated to entertain, prepare food, and keep people happy.
Visitors who put high demands on you or expect the same level of effort and hospitality that you had before you became pregnant will only sap your energy. On the other hand, many people are more than happy to pitch in. When you have a guest who offers to help, let them!
Sleep when your baby sleeps.
In case your infant takes a sleep, placed everything aside and take a nap too. It may be very tempting to try to do chores, wash dishes, do laundry and easy floors while your toddler is asleep. But accept that your house is dirty and messy and go to sleep because once baby is up, you have to be up too.
Do not use this time to make phone calls or catch up on episodes of Telemundo, Africa Magic or other favorite shows that you have been missing.