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How to reduce sleep deprivation with a newborn. Avoid these top 5 sleep mistakes of new parents

How to reduce sleep deprivation with a newborn. Avoid these top 5 sleep mistakes of new parents

A quick Google search on how to get a newborn to sleep will bring up a range of often conflicting advice. Luckily when it comes to adult sleep, the science is clear about what helps adults achieve quality sleep. Below, are the 5 most common sleep mistakes of new parents seen by Elevation Women's Health. Avoid these traps, so you can reduce your sleep deprivation in this challenging period.

1. Screen time

Although very tempting, especially when toughing out those long night feeds in the early days, screens at night-time make it harder to fall asleep. Phone, tablets, computers and TV screens emit a blue light that inhibits melatonin production which in turn tricks your brain into thinking it’s day-time. My advice is to keep the phone out of the bedroom and invest in an alarm clock. To help yourself stay awake when feeding, consider an e-reader (does not emit blue light), radio, a book, audiobook or podcast.

New parent sleep deprivation tips screentimeBlue light from screens signals the brain to stay awake

2. Excessive lighting

Like the screens, normal household lighting emits blue light and can also disrupt melatonin needed for sleep. When getting up to feed or change during the night, keep lighting as minimal but safe and effective to get the job done. One of my favourite purchases pre baby was changing the bedroom globes to ‘smart globes’ which allow you to set the colour and intensity. Setting the light colour to red and popping it on 1% gives enough light to see but doesn’t have the same impact on upsetting you or baby’s melatonin production.

New parent sleep deprivation tip lightingIs your bedroom dark enough? 

 

3. Caffeine

Whilst it’s tempting to drink coffee or your favourite cola when that afternoon slump hits, this may impact your ability to fall asleep in the evening. This is especially the case when your bedtime is early in the evening and the caffeine has less time to be metabolised out of your system. Instead of caffeine to stay awake, aim for other options such as sneaking in a walk, time outside in the daylight, a quick cool shower or call a friend who you know is bound to make you laugh.

New parent sleep deprivation tip coffeeAvoid caffeine in the late afternoon

 

4. Unnecessary disruptions

Overnight, there’s bound to be various incidents that need your attention - be it a nappy that’s leaked onto the bedding, overfull breasts that have flooded your bed or an unsettled baby who needs walking and walking and walking! Plan ahead and have everything at hand to deal with these situations so you are not needing to rummage around cupboards looking for new bedding, onesies, bras or dressing gowns. This will keep the stress levels down and the need to turn on extra lighting low.

New parent sleep deprivation tips get organisedDrama is bound to happen, so have your supplies at hand 

 

5. Refusing to nap or rest

Contrary to conventional sleep hygiene strategies, avoiding napping goes out the window when you have severely reduced sleep with a newborn. Napping during the day can indeed upset your circadian rhythm but in the context of limited sleep overnight you need to take what you can get in the early days. In saying that, it is better to nap earlier in the day rather than late afternoon as this may make it harder to fall asleep. If your tired body won’t allow to you to nap, be sure to lie (not sit!) down and allow your body to have some recovery time.

New parent sleep deprivation tips nappingIf you can't sleep in the day, at least lie down and rest your body 

 

Quality sleep is one of the key foundations to living a healthy and fufilling life. All consultations at Elevation Women's Health can include education and assessment to ensure you are getting the best sleep possible. Personalised assessment of your sleep practices and tailored strategoes to help improve your sleep are available as part of pregnancy, postnatal and rehabilitation consultations.  

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Friday, 12 April 2024