As you might remember, I struggled quite a lot with sleep after Quinn was born. Of course, I had the usual sleepless nights like many new moms, but it wasn’t until many months later that I finally figured out what I needed to do to calm my mind and help me sleep better. And I’m not alone. Did you know according to a Sleep Number survey, 54% of Americans don’t feel they’re getting enough sleep?
Looking back on those early months with Quinn, I now realize there were a number of things I could have done differently to improve my sleep habits, so I wanted to share them with the new moms out there. If you haven’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks (maybe months), I hope you find these tips helpful.
Sleep when your baby sleeps
When Quinn was first born, I wanted to punch people in the face when I heard them say “sleep when your baby sleeps.” I mean, I had emails to reply to, blog posts to write, dishes to clean, laundry to fold… I didn’t have time to sleep! But looking back, I now realize these things could have waited, and I should have just slept. **sigh** Live and learn. But, seriously, new moms: Don’t worry about everything that needs to get done. It’ll get done. Take care of yourself and sleep… when your baby sleeps. Being as well-rested as possible will benefit both you and your little one in so many ways.
Communicate with your partner
Your husband might be the most amazing guy in the whole wide world, but he can’t read your mind. Don’t assume he knows what you need or want. Don’t beat around the bush. Be direct and TELL HIM. Caring for a newborn baby is hard, especially when you’re sleep-deprived, so tell your partner exactly what you need and want, even if it’s as simple as bathing the baby while you nap. I promise if you communicate openly with one another, it will make those exhausting newborn days a little easier.
Know when to say ‘yes’ to help
When Quinn was first born, I really thought I could do it all: Breastfeeding, diaper changes, midnight feedings, working from home, cooking, cleaning… . And I did do it all for awhile… until I crashed and burned and almost ended up in the hospital. After that, I learned that I needed to say ‘yes’ to help. Mal started doing nighttime feedings and family members watched Quinn so I could sleep, which made a huge difference when it came to caring for a newborn and myself.
Go to bed EARLY
I’m the queen of early bedtimes. Even now, if I’m feeling especially tired, I’ll still climb into bed as soon as Quinn goes to sleep. I just know how I get when I’m sleep-deprived (i.e. irritable, anxious, negative about everything), so I make sleep a priority in this way. When Quinn was a newborn, I’d go to bed as soon as he was asleep, even if it was 5:00 PM and still daylight outside. It might have seemed like a weird time to go to bed, but those extra hours were important to my health.
Don’t go crazy with the caffeine
I’m a huge fan of caffeine (and iced coffee, obviously), but when Quinn was first born, I cut back so I could better sleep. As a newborn, Quinn was on his own schedule, which meant I never knew when I’d be able to sleep. I didn’t want to be hopped-up on caffeine when I had the chance to sleep, so I switched to decaf.
Get in the right state of mind
I struggled so much with getting into the right state of mind to fall asleep. My mind was always running and, no matter what I did, I couldn’t quiet it. It wasn’t until months later that I finally figured out how to sleep better. From someone who’s tossed and turned all night long for weeks at a time, I strongly recommend getting yourself into the right state of mind to encourage quality sleep. For me, it was quieting my brain, but, for you, it might be taking a bath, reading, sipping hot tea (or just holding it), or doing some gentle yoga before bed. Do whatever you need to do to prepare yourself to sleep. It’s such an important part of the process.
Realize the sleepless nights won’t last forever
When I was breastfeeding Quinn every few hours as a newborn, it seemed like I might never sleep again. I was totally exhausted and couldn’t think clearly, but family and friends assured me those sleepless nights wouldn’t last forever. Eventually, Quinn started to sleep for longer stretches of time, and, before I knew it, he was sleeping through the night. Of course, at the time, it was tough getting to each of these milestones, but, looking back, they actually happened pretty fast. It’s true what they say: The days are long, but the years are short. So, new moms, hang in there. You won’t be a zombie forever. Your little one will sleep soundly through the night and so will you!
When you struggle with sleep, you’ll do practically anything for a good night’s rest, which is why I’m proud to partner with Sleep Number® on this post because they are more than just a company who makes mattresses. They create sleep experiences by offering high-quality products and services. For instance, all of their Sleep Number® beds offer SleepIQ® technology, which gives you the knowledge to adjust for your best sleep.
The results that you get from SleepIQ® technology includes personal data about restful time in bed, goal time in bed, average heart and breathing rates, and movement and time out of bed. The data helps identify routines and factors that affect sleep and you can also monitor things like caffeine intake, diet, exercise, television, media usage and medications. SleepIQ® technology couldn’t be easier to use– there’s nothing to wear, nothing to turn on– all you have to do is sleep.
Question of the Day
Moms, what advice would you add?
This post is sponsored by Sleep Number. As always, thanks for your support!