I didn’t believed my own mother when she told me that the day my first child was born, my sleep patterns would change forever. Like most of her worldly advice, I thought this statement was slightly dramatic and in my pre-parenthood naivety, I assumed that I would still be able to squeeze in my eight hours every night. How wrong I was.
People without children don’t understand that for parents, sleeping is a luxury indulgence that we grab when we can. As a mother of three, I understand the frustration of not being able to get a good night sleep and I can recall many a morning when I could have quite happily curled up on the washing line and snoozed away!
That’s why I’ve created this guide to helping parents get the essential shut eye they need.
Routine, routine, routine
It’s drummed into us by the midwife, the online parenting forums and the plethora of baby books on the bedside cabinet. Getting your baby into a routine of eating and sleeping – something you should begin no later than the three month mark – is of the utmost importance and something that will help you get some sleep at night. If your baby has a bedtime, you also have a bedtime!
Ditch the caffeine
For the first six months of my first child’s life, the coffee pot was my friend and confidant. I wasn’t breastfeeding, so would slurp my way through the day to stave off fatigue. Instant, whole bean, espresso – anything I could lay my hands on!
But come night time, I would spend hours lying awake as the caffeine pulsed through my body, even though I craved sleep. Limit your coffee drinking to the morning and early afternoon and switch to decaf or fruity teas the closer it gets to bedtime.
There are also alternations you can make to your diet to help you sleep at night, aside from cutting out the caffeine. Check out this handy guide, created by Woman’s Day, of the top ten foods to get you to sleep at night.
Make use of the spare bedroom
If you’re fortunate to have a spare room in your home, making this a dedicated sleeping zone for exhausted parents where one of you can retreat for a night of solid rest, while the other takes responsibility for the night time duties.
Create a space that’s designed for relaxation and rest. Decorate the room in calm, warm colours and invest in a single memory foam mattress, which are available to order online from Zleeps. Memory foam mattresses conform to the shape of your body for extreme comfort, so they’re perfect for those nights when you’re in desperate need of rest.
Make the most of your visitors
I know they mean well, but the flurry of visitors you receive when there’s a new baby in the house can be something of a nuisance – especially if you’re tired and irritable.
After you’ve made the cuppas and chatted with a visitor who also happens to have children, don’t worry about seeming rude by asking them to look after the baby while you catch forty winks. They’re a parent, so they’ll understand how tired you are and they’ll be delighted to spend half an hour cooing over the new arrival.
My mother was right. Once you have kids, your relationship with sleep will change forever. Even though the days of snoozing until lunch time are over, these tips should help you to get enough rest until your children go to university! Happy sleeping!