There’s a common belief that new parents usually don’t sleep at all due to their new parenting duties and their baby’s feeding/sleeping rhythm. When the baby arrives, parents usually start stressing about all the things they have to take care of now. Not only the baby’s breastfeeding, sleeping or playtime needs, but there are plenty of other things to do that you might have never thought of doing before.
Your baby started crawling and suddenly, you have to baby-proof your entire apartment. Not to mention all the cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, towels, linen and so on. The list of daily tasks you have to do throughout the day as a new parent really seems endless. So, it’s not surprising that in order to successfully accomplish their daily duties, most new parents sacrifice a significant number of sleeping hours.
But, does it really have to be that way? Is this whole “New parents are always sleep-deprived” belief really true or is it a myth?
In this article, we’re going to address this common problem and suggest some tips that should help you to catch up on your lost sleep.
Sleep Deprivation In New Parents
A new study has revealed that new parents face up to six years of sleep deprivation. The researches collected data from thousands of men and women to discover that until your kid reaches the age of 6, you probably won’t be having a proper amount of sleep.
Of course, the first three months after your baby’s arrival are the worst when it comes to your sleep quality. Unfortunately, the ones to be most struck by the first three months are mothers. Women that just gave birth to their child, slept one hour less on average compared to the amount of time they slept before becoming pregnant.
However, it looks like the situation is quite different for men. In the same first three months, men lost only 13 minutes of sleep.
Knowing that there are differences in sleep needs between men and women (women need more sleep time than men), it is no wonder that new mothers are often the ones to be more likely to suffer from sleep deprivation after giving birth and feeling more exhausted.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably facing the same issue, or are about to prepare yourself for the arrival of a new member to your family. Is there anything you can do in order to reduce your sleep deprivation without sacrificing your baby’s normal needs? You can.
Are you waking up tired everyday since your baby arrived? Follow these tips:
How To Minimize Your New-Parent Sleep Deprivation
1. Sleep When Your Baby Sleeps
The main reason for sleep deprivation is interrupted sleep. Babies wake up frequently during the night, which inevitably cuts your sleep. However, babies also sleep often throughout the day, which is the perfect time you can forget about everything else and use that sacred time to sleep a bit more.
2. Perfect Your Power Naps
In order to regain some sleep time, you will find naps quite useful. Learn to fall asleep or at least rest properly even for as short as 20 minutes. It might not seem like a lot, but it will surely help you recover some energy throughout the day.
Learn how to power nap while someone from your friends or relatives is playing with your baby.
3. Let Your Baby Sleep In Its Cot, Not In Your Bed
Bed sharing with your newborn should be avoided. In the beginning, it may seem like the best solution to your and your baby’s sleeping needs to sleep together, but in the long run, bed sharing can cause new problems.
Let your baby get used to sleeping alone, and you will too have some more space in the bed for yourself. (And won’t be stressing about your newborn falling off the bed after you have just fallen asleep)
4. Go For Morning Walks
When we lose sleep and enter sleep deprivation, our circadian rhythm gets confused. In order to reset your circadian rhythm, expose yourself to natural sunlight by going for morning walks.
This will not only help you have a night of better sleep but will also make your kid develop a balanced sleep-wake cycle.
5. Provide A Proper Environment For Day And Night
Although your baby will probably still be waking up during the night, you can still teach your baby when is the period of the day for sleeping and when is the period of activity.
Set the mood for playing and wake time by providing a lot of light, toys, and music that will stimulate your baby to stay active and alert. When your baby needs sleep, switch to a more calming environment, turn off the lights and reduce any background noises or distractions.
6. Share The Wake-Up Calls During Night
This might be a harder task to do if you are breastfeeding, but it is crucial to take duties in turn with your partner in order to handle the new-parent phase most efficiently.
Bio: Kristina Lalovic is the editor of Colossal Sleep, a website about healthy sleep, sleeping disorders and sleep-related problems people commonly face in their lifetimes. She used to be the alarm-snoozer for a long time until she started paying more attention to her sleep and sleeping patterns. Sleeping well changed the way she feels each day, which is why she developed a passion for writing about sleep and understanding how our sleep really works.