When you become a mom, you soon find out what sleep deprivation is. It’s exhausting when you aren’t able to get a full night’s sleep and then during the day, you lack the energy and mental capacity to care for your kids.
I often get messages from moms who tell me this is one of their biggest struggles. Maybe you can relate to some of these sentiments from new moms….
“The little one does’t sleep well, so I’m permanently tired and disorganized.”
“I’m physically and mentally exhausted.”
“I’m so sleep deprived. I can never seem to catch up. I barely have energy during the day. I need to know how to sleep through the night.”
The first year of my son’s life, I didn’t have a complete night’s sleep, so I can relate to these moms. In fact one of the most anxious feelings I had when I was pregnant with my second was knowing how little sleep I would get after the baby was born and how exhausting it would be.
I determined that the second baby was going to be different. Now matter what, I was going to figure this thing out and get some sleep!
The following tips are what I implemented and totally worked.
What to Do About New Mom Sleep Deprivation
Choose a bedtime for yourself too.
This is the easiest thing you can do, yet the most overlooked. Once the kids go to bed, it feels like freedom and you may want to stay up late, but you’ll pay for it the next day. I know from experience!
Instead, pick a consistent bedtime for yourself. This will help your body fall asleep better and guarantee you at least some sleep.
Get child(ren) on a schedule so they sleep better.
If your baby or toddler isn’t following a regular schedule with specific nap and bedtimes, their bodies will have a hard time sustaining sleep. The resource I used was the Babywise Schedule, but there are so many different options out there.
The main thing is to be consistent with their sleep and eating times. When I followed a schedule with my 2nd newborn, I repeated this pattern: eat, play/awake time, sleep.
As she grew older, her awake times became longer and her daytime naps decreased. However, she slept longer during the night as she grew and her stomach could hold more food.
Following this schedule helped her body get on a good sleep cycle which meant Mom and Dad slept better too!
Follow a simple morning routine.
When you are tired, it is so hard to get moving in the morning which could result in not accomplishing anything in the mornings and lead to more tiredness. You’ll end up with only the afternoon and evening to get things done.
That’s why it’s important to have a simple morning routine. Write down a list of a few things to get done and out of the way first thing. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- feed baby and other children
- eat breakfast yourself
- get children dressed
- get yourself dressed
- start a load of laundry
Once you start moving in the morning, it’s easier to keep the momentum going and accomplish a few other things. Get them done and out of the way early, so that you can rest in the afternoon!
Rest in the afternoon.
When you aren’t getting enough sleep at night because you are getting up to feed a baby or tending to a toddler who won’t sleep, you can make up for some of that lost sleep during the day.
A wave of tiredness usually hits in the afternoon, so instead of fighting it and staying up – Rest!
You could lie down for 20 minutes and either fall asleep or just let your body and mind rest.
Practice better sleep habits.
Since your sleep time is limited already, you need to make the most of the time you have by actually sleeping. There are a few things you can do:
- Avoid screens right before bed and allow your brain and eyes to rest.
- Follow a pre-bed ritual: brush and floss teeth, wash face, put on lotion, talk to husband. (just an example)
- Do a brain dump before bed, so that you aren’t trying to remember tomorrow’s grocery list all night long! If there is something bothering you, journal about it instead of rolling it around in your head.
- Pray. I often fall asleep at night while I’m praying. This is when I take my fears and worries to God and remind myself of His truth. Doing this puts my mind at rest and I’m able to sleep.
Above all else, remember this should only last a season. Do what you can to get the sleep that is possible, but don’t stress out about what you can’t control.
Also, I want to encourage you not to push yourself to do too much. Taking care of a baby or young child is draining itself, if there is something that needs to be cut out for a short time in order to get more sleep, then do that.
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