Sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on the body and mind.
For new moms navigating the hormonal fluctuations and postpartum recovery process, these issues are exacerbated by a tiny human.
The most common advice you’ll hear as a new mom is to “sleep when the baby is sleeping,” which is great, but it’s not always that simple.
Here are some practical tips for catching up on your sleep as a new mom.
Create a Sleep-Inducing Environment
First, start by creating an environment that encourages sleep— not just for your baby but for yourself. Your room should be dimly lit and kept a few degrees cooler for optimal rest.
Adding ambient noise, like a fan or noise machine, can also help you get some quality sleep.
If your mattress is more than five years old, you might want to upgrade to something better for your body to promote quality sleep.
This blog post covers the key considerations for choosing a new mattress. In the meantime, the pillows you used while pregnant are still worth their weight in gold.
Practice Mindful Sleep Hygiene
You would think that the utter exhaustion you feel would help you fall asleep the moment you hit the pillow.
Unfortunately, moms tend to have lots on their minds— that’s why practicing mindful sleep hygiene habits is essential.
Train your body to fall asleep faster and reach a more restorative state by:
- Unplugging from technology and screen time at least an hour before bed.
- Keeping your phone elsewhere to prevent interruptions or mindless scrolling.
- Limiting your caffeine intake, especially later in the day.
- Limiting your water intake in the evenings.
- Using mindfulness meditations or progressive muscle relaxation to help you relax.
These simple practices can help your body and mind enter a peaceful state, so you don’t lie awake thinking of all the things you should be doing.
Become a Delegation Expert
There’s no need to be a hero as a new mom. If someone offers help, take it. If you have a partner, be specific in what you need for support.
Learn to tell people exactly what they can do to help you, whether it’s watching the baby so you can sleep, driving your older child around, or making dinner.
As a new mom, you’ll need to advocate for yourself and be specific in your expectations.
Set a Timer for Chores
It’s ok to let your housework slide while caring for a newborn; sleep should always trump chores.
However, many moms experience a paradox in which the messy house causes even more stress and anxiety, leading to worse sleep when the opportunity arises.
If you’re one of those people whose mental health is impacted by a messy house, then it’s better to get some cleaning done.
However, this should be a speed cleaning spree that covers the bare necessities.
Set boundaries for yourself by setting a timer when you do chores at nap time. Don’t go past that timer, no matter what. You can always finish up when the baby is awake and fed.
Keeping the lights low during nighttime feedings will help you get back to sleep quickly afterward.
Rather than turning on hallway or kitchen lights, pick up a few nightlights that you can plug in along the way.
These will provide enough light to move around safely, without waking you up entirely.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
Finally, and most importantly, cut yourself some slack.
Being a mom is hard, and the early days are especially tough. It’s ok if you’re not bringing your A-game to chores and responsibilities.
Getting sleep when you can and staying healthy, both mentally and physically, is your top priority.
You will get through this.
Prioritize yourself and use these tips to help you catch up on your sleep.