Although that much wanted and needed slumber may seem to never come for the new mom, there are tips to follow for aid in getting to sleep. In addition to sleeping on a comfortable bed, mom will also want some calming time to help her drift off for a healthy sleep.
Sleep may be a difficult to achieve task for many, but when one is a new mom it becomes most important to keep mom healthy and in the best shape to take care of baby. Too little sleep will have mommy putting lives at risk both emotionally and physically. The new mom needs to learn how to sing herself a lullaby just as she does for her little one.
Although each person is different, with some needing less sleep than others, generally a proper night of sleep is around seven hours. For new moms getting too little sleep it means that they are being detrimental to their own mental health as well as their child’s.
Lack of shuteye can lead to depression and lack of care for oneself and baby. Even as young as newborn will sense when mommy is depressed – which in turn can cause mental anguish for the baby as well. In addition to depression lack of sleep can also put the family at physical risk.
When mom is overtired and gets behind the wheel it can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. So, to keep all safe it is most important for mom to be well rested with a full night’s sleep.
Although no one tip may be the magic needed to lull one to dreamland, sleep tips can be wonderful aids in helping mommy get the slumber she so needs. Some aids will also assist in giving mom the all-important me time that she may feel has been lost after baby’s birth.
1) Take Time to Relax
Use some time before sleep time to wind down and relax. Whether in bed or on the sofa try to take an hour prior to bedtime to listen to music, watch a favorite show, read a book, or just have important alone time with a partner. It is important to keep discussions about chores and paying bills away from this relaxation time. After an hour turn of alone time turn off the lights and cozy into bed for dream time.
2) Ask for Nighttime Help
Mom you do not need to do it all by yourself if there are others who can help. Ask for help from your partner. Even if the other parent heads to work during daytime, an early night and early morning caring for baby shift can be taken to help mom get sleep. If grandma is staying over for newborn assistance than do not be afraid to ask for nighttime aid as well.
3) Procure Aid of Night-Lights
Turning room lights on at night will disturb both mommy and baby’s production of the body’s natural melatonin hormone that induces sleep. A soft nightlight will eliminate this issue as it guides one with just enough light to get tasks completed, such as tending to baby and bathroom needs.
4) Keep Unneeded Lights Off
With light affecting melatonin production one may want to make sure any unnecessary lights are all off. This includes the glow of a TV and alarm clock. Keep electronics turned off at night whenever possible.
5) No Late Time Big Meal
Make sure that dinner should be consumed at least three hours or more before bedtime. Eating late may result in indigestion that could cause sleep problems. Have an early dinner supplemented by a light bedtime snack of a couple of cookies and a glass of warm milk.
6) Lay Off the Alcohol
Alcohol may be a tempting sip to relax the day’s worries away but instead it works against one when it comes time for bed. That glass of vino gives the body more to do working to metabolize it. In addition, alcohol is a diuretic that can keep one up with bathroom trips and feeling dehydrated.
7) Say no to Caffeine
Caffeine may be what one craves in the morning to wake up but it also works against one when it comes to craving sleep. Curb the caffeine at least six hours prior to bed. This does not just mean coffee, but also caffeinated teas and even some medications used for headache, pain, and menstrual issues. And do not forget that yummy chocolate is made with caffeine too.
8) Keep Your Mind Free
Once the body has time to lay down and sleep it seems like it is time for the mind to go to work thinking endlessly. Try some mental exercises as distractions like counting backward from 300 by threes. This will work to keep the mind busy but free from sleep disturbing thoughts.
In addition, keep a note pad next to the bed to write down sudden thoughts. This will free the mind from having to remember something important for the next day and allow it to sleep.
9) Have a Warm Soak
Use some of that hour of relaxation before bedtime for some bathroom me time. Enjoy a soak in a warm tub for a half hour of relaxation. If not enough time for a bath, then take a nice soothing hot shower. The water will work to calm away the day’s tensions in order to induce sleep.
10) Enlist Meditation Exercise
Meditation can be a great technique to help one relax and find sleep. There are smartphone apps and video tutorials that can talk one through a guided process. There are also very simple mediation exercises to do such as picturing oneself in a serene place. Or picture each limb falling asleep, from the toes up, until the entire body is drifting off to slumber.
11) Try a Yoga Pose to Relax
Yoga can be a great way to wind down before bed. There are specific poses that will help to encourage sleep. Make sure to find a pose that will work for individual health needs and wants.
12) White Noise
The baby monitor may help one here an infant in distress but it can also keep waking a new mom when baby simply coos during sleep. Placing a white noise machine in the baby’s room at night will mask these quiet sounds while allowing for the little one’s cries of distress to still be heard.
Breastfeeding mom often feel they have no recourse but to do it all themselves at night. This adds to sleep deprivation for mommy. There are a couple of tips to help those nursing to achieve better sleep.
• Have Newborn Close By
At least during the newborn phase have the baby stay in a bassinet right next to the bed. This will save time when it is time to nurse. Mommy can feed baby without rising from bed, allowing for as little sleep disturbance time as possible.
• Pump for Relief
Do not let breastfeeding be the excuse for a partner to not do feedings. Pumping the breasts will allow for milk to be placed in bottles for others in the household to take on nighttime feeding. This can give mommy a break for some much-needed snooze time.
If all else fails, there are over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids. These should only be taken after consulting with a medical professional. Keep in mind too that taking anything while breastfeeding means that it could be affecting baby too.
1) Antihistamine Types
This can be anything from a diphenhydramine allergy medication, such as Benadryl, to a doxylamine succinate sleep aid, like Unisom. These antihistamines work to sedate at night but can also cause drowsiness during daytime too.
The body naturally produces the hormone melatonin that controls the cycle of sleeping and waking. For some taking a melatonin supplement works as an aid for falling to sleep.
3) Herbal Remedies
Herbal remedies can also help promote sleep. Valerian root supplements have been seen to help reduce anxiety for a better sleep with no side effects.
For short-term needs the long time go-to for prescription sleep aid has been drugs like Halcion and Restoril. Be aware that one may feel hung over in the morning and that these meds can become addicted if used for too long.
2) Non-benzodiazepine hypnotics
These sleep aids should be used for short term as well. Drugs in this class include Ambien, Sonata, and Lunesta. Although there does not seem to be many common side effects, there can be a serious one called parasomnia resulting in activities such as sleep driving.
3) Melatonin agonists
Rozerem is the only melatonin agonist medication that is FDA-approved for insomnia. It works to mimic natural melatonin to help in falling asleep, instead of as the others do in slowing the central nervous system.
Sleep problems can be a symptom of depression. A medical professional will determine if this is the case and, if so, may prescribe an antidepressant to resolve the issue. Silenor is the only antidepressant that has been FDA-approved to be used in very small doses as a specific sleep aid for keeping from waking during the night.
Sleep is of utmost importance for keeping the new mom in the best of health to care for baby. With helpful tips and the advice from medical professionals the elusive sleep can be achieved.