How to improve your sleep when the little one is down
We know and understand that there is no time like the first years of your child’s life. There are many beautiful moments and, as a new mum, you can be pushed beyond what you thought was possible. You learn that you can actually survive on almost no sleep and that you are able to love someone more than you ever imagined. While taking care of little ones is a special time, it can be challenging for mums. To help you get good quality sleep when you actually get an opportunity to rest, we have a few tips to share. First, why is sleep so problematic?
The trouble with sleep when you have little ones
As most pregnant mums approach their delivery date, they look forward to meeting their child and not being pregnant. You will be able to sleep on your stomach again and will get relief from the aches and pains of the extra weight. Then, once you have a new baby, you realise there’s hardly any sleep that even occurs. With a newborn, you are nursing every couple of hours, and waking at every cry to change diapers or make sure everything is okay. As they grow, usually they will begin to adjust to sleeping more at night but it can take time. Some children don’t sleep through the night until they are one year old or even later. Then, as they get older, they might have bad dreams, get scared, or have accidents. All these equate to not much sleep for mums.
How can you improve the sleep you get?
When you do finally get your child to fall asleep, that means a little rest time for you. Whether it ends up being an hour, four hours, or dare I say, an entire night, you want to make the most of it. To do so, here are a few practices that can help.
Set a schedule
Even though it might be difficult at first, it can help to set a schedule for bedtime, naps, nursing, and waking up. Eventually, your child will adapt to the schedule and develop regular patterns which make life a little bit easier. Feel it out to see how often your baby wants to eat and how long they typically sleep and then build the schedule accordingly. You can use a notebook to track their patterns and then work towards some consistency.
The basics of baby schedules
Many experts disagree on a common answer to when you should start establishing a sleep routine but here are some tips to get you started.
- Some experts say 2-4 months. Others say afetr a week.
- Sleeping and eating habits will become more predictable and consistent after 3 or 4 months.
- Use a notebook, computer spreadsheet or an app like Trixie Tracker to help understand your baby's schedule
Learn relaxation techniques
In can be hard to unwind after caring for your little one. Despite their size, young children can certainly be exhausting. Whether it is a crying fit or another problem, once they are finally asleep, you may not be able to fall asleep. During these times, it can help to know a few techniques for relaxing.
- Meditation has shown to help make you more resilient to stress. You can sit somewhere comfortable like your bed, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing and the present moment. You may also repeat a mantra to help focus your mind. Even just ten or fifteen minutes of this practice can help to calm your mind and body.
- Deep breathing can also be helpful as it counters the effects of stress by lowering your blood pressure and heart rate. Sit down and slowly inhale through your nose as deeply as you can and then slowly exhale. Do this for about five minutes before lying down.
- A warm shower or bath can also help you to relax and fall asleep more easily. With time being of the essence with a little one, a shower may be best.
- Diffusing essential oils that have calming effects can also be effective. Recommended oils include lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, and rose.
- Drinking a cup of caffeine-free chamomile tea promotes relaxation.
- Turning on some relaxing music can also help you to drift off.
Instead of trying to fall right to sleep after the sometimes hectic times of caring for your little one, you can instead take a few minutes to help yourself transition into a relaxed state so you can fall asleep more easily.
Take turns with a partner
If you have a partner helping you to care for your little one, it can also make a big difference to take turns waking up. Of course, there are some things only a mum can do, like nursing, but you can use a breast pump to store some reserves so that your partner can wake up for some feedings, too. Whether it’s taking a night off or just alternating each time your child wakes up, doing so can add hours to your sleep bank and make a huge difference in helping you feel more rested.
Practice healthy lifestyle habits
Life can be busy and hectic as a mum, but by practicing healthy lifestyle habits, you can begin to set an example for your little ones and help yourself sleep better. Diet is the first area to think about. It’s beneficial to eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes a variety of whole natural foods. Be sure to get in your fruits and veggies as these are packed with the nutrients you need to be naturally energised and healthy.
As for beverages, there are a few that can cause problems such as coffee, soda, and alcohol. While caffeine can be helpful in waking up our minds when we haven’t gotten enough sleep, it can also cause us to have problems getting to sleep afterward. If you want to have a cup of coffee or caffeinated tea, it is best to do it in the early morning so that the effects have worn off by the time you want to go to bed. However, skipping the caffeine will help you get the deep rest you need. The same goes for alcohol. A drink at dinner might sound relaxing, but should only be occasional as it effects your blood sugar levels and can disrupt sleep.
Beyond those two common culprits of sleep disturbance, it’s recommended to eat your last meal about two hours before bed. This will give adequate time for digestion so you can sleep without a grumbling stomach or heartburn.
5 Mum & Bub Workout Tips
As a Mum, your child's schedule tends to come first before you own health and fitness. Here are some tips to help you get moving.
- Take your little one for an early fasted fat-burning walk in the pram.
- Try an at-home workout that involves the kids. Make it a team effort for Mum to complete the session.
- Don't feel bad about seeking help. A lot of gyms offer child-minding services.
- Treat yourself to some new gym gear so taht you can be feeling your best.
- Be kind to yourself and be patient. You are raising tiny humans who already take a lot of your time and energy.
Exercise can also help. By getting at least thirty minutes of exercise per day, you can naturally boost your energy and mood. You will also tire out your body so it is ready to rest when you lie down. If you can’t sneak away to the gym, you can get a stroller and go out for a walk or jog with your little one. You can also do work out videos at home and who knows, your little ones might want to join in and get some exercise, too. The park is another option. Take your kid and chase them around for a bit, then you will likely both be ready for a nap when you get home.
These changes to your diet and exercise can help you feel better when you’re up and help you fall asleep when it’s time to rest.
Get the right mattress
Lastly, is your mattress. You’ll want to take a look at it and see if it is still doing its job. Having the right mattress is just as important to your health and the quality of sleep you experience. In partnership with our Orthopedic Advisory Board (OAB), we have found that a great bed should offer your skeletal system the right amount of support, while providing your body with an adequate level of comfort to relieve pressure points.
If your mattress is old, sagging, or just not made to meet your needs, it can be causing you to lose sleep. When you aren’t comfortable, you are more likely to toss and turn, lie awake longer, have body aches, and experience lower back pain. With the right mattress, you will be able to fall asleep more easily and stay asleep until your little one needs you again.
Find the right mattress for you using our Mattress Selector tool.
Sealy Celebrates Mums this Mother’s Day
Being a mum of little ones is no easy task, no one will argue with you there. It’s challenging, but it’s also a beautiful time that you will cherish for the rest of your life. It is so exciting and rewarding to see your children grow and reach new milestones from rolling over and standing up, to walking, talking, laughing, and exploring. Keep these tips in mind so you can get the much-needed rest you need to enjoy your little ones to the fullest!
We believe all mums deserve to be celebrated this Mother’s Day and want to share the gift of quality sleep. If you or a mum you know needs a new mattress, you can enter our Mother’s Day competition for your chance to win a Queen Sealy Posturepedic Exquisite. Click here and enter to win!