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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 things to help you get some much needed sleep and catch up on your rest as you enter parenthood with a newborn...

parenthood sleep

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 its so important we prioritse ourselves too. A lot of us don't even consider our own sleep, catching the odd bits here and there and often we 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 sleep including caffeine, alarm clocks, electronic devices and yep - the children!

If you have a newborn then consider sharing out those sleepless nights. They do happen for a little while so having a way to manage these is important. You may be breastfeeding as a mum but you can still share the night times by allowing dad to take over with winding and settling the baby once you have 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; 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, maybe reading and switch off those mobile phones, tablets and TV’s to help you relax.

Consider your own room environment. Much like your children's rooms, try and prioritise your own sleep space as well; a nice temperature, nice and dark and void of any distractions. Try keeping your bedroom as a space for sleep. Mentally if your room is where you do your exercise, watch films, possibly even work then your brain will struggle to switch off and not associate your room with sleeping.

Hands up if you sit and eat chocolate late at night (yes my hand is up whilst eating chocolate with the other!) or maybe it’s 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 out night time sleep so consider cutting down on these things particularly in the hours before bed. 

Although mobile phones can be really distracting, there are also some fabulous app’s 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 which can be used before sleep to help you drift off into a deep sleep. 
 
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 welfare. Try to exercise, eat well and sleep well whereever you can and this will help you feel much more energetic during the day.
 

RELATED Sleep Expert: 4 Rules for Settling Baby to Sleep

Guest Writer
Claire Louise sleepnanny.co.uk

Sleep Consultant