New Mom Survival Guide – Focusing On Your Healthy Sleep Needs
With a young family, the amount of time and energy you dedicate to looking after everyone else often leaves little time to take care of yourself. Healthy sleep falls to the bottom of the priority list for a lot of us.
If you’re sleepy, sluggish or cranky (and what new mom isn’t?), it’s important to make sure you are setting the stage for the best sleep possible. Making positive changes to your sleep hygiene now may help to curb your sleep debt: the result of being chronically under-rested. People that experience less than ideal sleep over a period of months (or sometimes years), are more susceptible to viral infections, weight gain, increases in blood pressure, depression and anxiety.
People that experience less than ideal sleep over a period of months (or sometimes years), are more susceptible to viral infections, weight gain, increases in blood pressure, depression and anxiety.
Establishing a consistent bedtime is important in establishing good sleep hygiene, but with a newborn to look after, that’s likely not an option. Check out the following suggestions that are designed with a new mom in mind.
Social media can be a great way to connect with others, but being plugged in all the time can interfere with our ability to initiate sleep. The type of light given off by computers and cell phones can delay the release of melatonin, the hormone that causes drowsiness. Try establishing some personal boundaries on screen usage:
The type of light given off by computers and cell phones can delay the release of melatonin, the hormone that causes drowsiness.
- Make your bedroom a screen free zone.
- Avoid screen time for at least 60 minute before trying to fall asleep.
- Resist the temptation to check your personal electronic device when you are up caring for your little one at night.
- Hide your alarm clock. Looking at the time can stress you out and make you abandon attempts of trying to fall back asleep, especially during those 5:00 AM feedings.
Watch the Munchies
If you’re in the habit of eating large meals late in the evening, you may find that you’re not getting the rest that you need. This is because your body is using energy to digest food, instead of resting. Making sure you are getting enough nutrition to keep up with the demands of motherhood is important too. Try finding the right balance by keeping the following suggestion in mind:
- Avoid fatty (think ice cream) or heavy (pizza) food before bed. These types of foods require a lot of energy for digestion.
- Rely on herbal teas (sweetened with honey instead of sugar) to curb food cravings.
- Incorporate light fruit or nuts as healthy, but easy to digest, evening snacks.
Develop a Ritual
A short and simple ritual before going to bed will help to quiet your mind. Becoming a mom (whether it’s the first or 3rd time) comes with a lot of emotional stress and worries. Experiment with different activities such as:
- Reading. Put the parenting book down and find something a little lighter to tackle.
- Light stretching. Be careful to listen to your body and not go beyond what you are capable of.
- Journaling. Writing can be a difficult exercise for a lot of people without a subject to focus on. Record your baby’s milestones, doodle, or keep a dedicated worry book to get rid of all of your irrational thoughts on paper so they won’t keep you up at night.
Read more great tips from Rebecca on Your Sleep and Home Renovations.