Motherhood + Parenting Tips

How To Get Enough Sleep as a New Parent

It’s no secret that life as a new parent comes with a few challenges. More than a few in fact. For starters, being a new parent can be completely overwhelming since you have so much to learn. Even basic things like giving your little one a bath need to be thoroughly researched before you attempt them. The biggest challenge of all though, is trying to get enough sleep. It seems that sleepless nights and exhaustion are just part of the drill for new parents. While this isn’t entirely avoidable, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that you get the rest that you need. I have outlined a few tips below.

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Sleep Early And Often

In the early days, babies sleep A LOT. In fact, in those first few months of life, it’s not uncommon for little ones to spend more than 16 hours per day snoozing. Given that babies sleep so much, it’s a little ironic that parents can’t find the time to do so as well.

 

If Baby Is Sleeping, You Should Be Sleeping

Here’s the thing. While babies spend a lot of time sleeping, they don’t sleep for long stretches at a time. While most adults like to sleep for 8 – 9 hours at once, babies prefer to sleep in short chunks of 1 – 3 hours. Then, they wake up, doing a little feeding, perhaps get a new diaper, and then drift off again.

If you want to get enough sleep as a parent, one of the keys is to learn to take naps whenever you put your little one to sleep in their crib. And believe me, I’m sympathetic to the fact that you might not be a napper. I wasn’t either until my first child arrived. It’s amazing how easy it becomes though, when you’re completely exhausted all the time!

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Early To Bed

You have a lot on your plate as a new parent. So, it can seem like a good idea to get some chores done after you put your little one down for the night. After all, your baby might go to sleep around 7pm, and you can stay up until 10pm or 11pm, right? While this might sound good in theory, it can prevent you from getting enough rest.

You see, babies might go to bed at 7pm, but you can be sure that they will keep waking up every few hours. And that means you will be waking up every few hours. Since you can’t count on getting all of your sleep in one continuous stretch, it’s a really good idea to hit the hay for the night at the same time as your baby. That way, you might just get a good night of sleep.

 

Taking Turns

In the early days, a lot of parents put their little ones to sleep in a bassinet right beside their bed. This allows you to keep a close eye on your infant, and also means that you don’t have to walk down the hall for every feeding in the middle of the night. It also means that you will get woken up a lot each night whenever your little one stirs.

One good way to get a good night sleep is to take turns sleeping in the same room as your baby. Maybe on three nights each week, you all sleep in the same room. But, for the other four nights, you and your spouse can take turns sleeping on a sofa or in a guest room. That way, you both get at least a couple of really good nights of sleep each week.


 

Setting The Stage For A Good Night Sleep

One of the keys to sleeping well is to make sure the atmosphere is good for sleep. That means keeping the room dark and quiet. Make sure to silence your mobile phone so you don’t get disturbed. It can also be a good idea to get black out shades. These are particularly helpful to keeping the sun out should you decide to take a daytime nap. Not only will this help you get a more restful sleep, it will also encourage your baby to sleep for longer stretches.

A Little Help From Your Night Nanny

Hiring a night nanny can be a great way to get a little rest. Night nannies are highly proficient at taking care of babies through the night, so you can set your mind at ease and catch up on some Zzzs. To some extent, parenthood is like a marathon. Anyone can get through a few sleepless nights. But, after a month or two, it starts to really wear on you. You might bring in a night nanny when things start to get really hard. Or, you might have someone come 2 – 3 nights each week just to help you keep your sanity.

 

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Ryan Howard

Ryan Howard runs SmartParentAdvice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads. Ryan writes about all of the different ups and downs of parenting, provides solutions to common challenges, and reviews products that parents need to purchase for babies and toddlers.

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