When it comes to sleep as a parent, we always try to support our babies’ sleep habits, but what about you? Adults generally struggle to establish healthy sleep habits, so when we throw a newborn into the mixture, it can be a complete disaster. Whether you are still expecting a baby, pregnant or your baby is already disturbing your sleep, here are some tips for creating healthy sleep habits as a parent.
To be constant.
Set a strict time for going to bed and waking up for yourself, just like you did for your baby. Consider going to bed earlier if your baby is early so you can get closer to 7 hours of sleep, even though it may be disturbed. If you have had a long night with frequent meals, make it a goal to wake up at the same time every day. If you find that you are tired due to waking up at night, try to take a short nap for 10-20 minutes throughout the day to catch up on some sleep.
Create a bedtime routine.
You have planned your bedtime routine for your young child, time for bathing, eating, time for talking, a lullaby, then a bed for sleep. But did you know that establishing a routine for yourself can be just as helpful. You don’t have to read a story or bathe on your own, but creating a short bedtime routine will help your body know that you plan to work on schedule. Routines can be as simple as washing your face, brushing your teeth, practicing mindfulness, or applying lotion. Be consistent with your routine and your body will respond to these signals.
Avoid heavy meals, excessive alcohol or caffeine at bedtime.
We sleep better without a full stomach and without caffeine in the afternoon, if you can avoid it. Alcohol can help you fall asleep, but it changes your sleep architecture, reducing the quality of your sleep.
Avoid screens and sunlight as much as possible when bedtime is approaching.
Closing the blinds and folding your phone can help a lot in the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone) and has the added bonus of keeping you away from possible stressors such as news, work or social media on your phone.
Create the perfect sleeping environment.
Keep your room cool, dark and quiet or use white noise. If you share a room, the white noise will help you fall asleep through the noises your baby makes in his sleep, but you should still be able to hear them when he needs you.
When sleep escapes you, reset by getting out of bed.
If you are struggling to fall asleep and have been in bed for 15 minutes or more, get up and leave your room. Take a short walk around the house or sit and read until you feel tired again, then go back to bed to try to fall asleep. When we lie in bed fully awake for too long, you will find it even harder to fall asleep again. Setting a strict bedtime can be difficult to adjust and can take 1-2 weeks to adjust to your new schedule. You will soon find that you fall asleep much faster than before.
The bed is for sleeping.
The bed is so comfortable and calls us when our body is tired and wants to relax. But if you keep your bed just for sleep, your body will know that you mean work when you go to bed and will know it’s time to sleep. You can still lie on the couch or floor all day if you need to, but try to keep your bed just for sleep.