New moms have an amazing time snuggling their little ones, basking in the glow of family life, and they want time to slow down so their babies can stay babies forever. The newborn stage may be a bit challenging but it's also pretty wonderful.
If new moms could change one thing, though, it would definitely be the fact that they don't get enough sleep. Babies are cute but they also wake up a lot during the night (but they still look cute even then, of course). Between feedings and sleep trouble and any number of things, moms find themselves waking up a lot in the middle of the night as well. While new moms know that they can get through this phase and that eventually, their little one will be sleeping through the night and therefore they will too, there are some things that they can do to make this a little bit easier. After all, new moms need sleep more than ever because they are looking after a bundle of joy and adjusting to their new schedule and life.
Here are 10 ways for new moms to get more sleep, along with 10 things that sound too weird to actually work.
Let's look at 10 ways for new moms to get more sleep...
20 Listen To The Radio
As a mom told Parents.com, listening to the radio could be a really great way for new moms to sleep more. She said, "I'd often have trouble going back to sleep after waking up to breastfeed. I would turn on the public radio station that played the BBC World News from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m., so I would lie there and listen to the cricket and soccer scores from around the world. Sometimes I would pass out before hearing a word. Now the radio is a surefire sleep inducer."
This makes a lot of sense and sounds like a realistic thing that new moms can do. It might also help to listen to a soothing podcast.
19 Hire Some Help
Before you had your sweet baby, did you think about how much sleep would be necessary for you? Probably not, but it's actually a really good thing to think about beforehand.
According to WebMD, you and your partner can talk about this before, and there's nothing wrong with hiring some help. This could be the difference between sleepless nights (and super tired days, of course) and sleeping a little bit more than you were. As the website suggests, put some money away before your baby is born and you could hire a babysitter or nurse that comes over at night. This is a great idea.
18 Stop Looking At The Clock
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and then looked at the clock... and then all you could think about was the fact that it was two a.m. and you couldn't fall back asleep? It's 2:30, then 3, and now you have to get up in three hours and it feels like a huge problem.
According to Babble, looking at the clock isn't the best thing to do when you want to get more sleep. Instead, stop looking. As this mom said, "Don’t think about it. It will save you calculating how many hours you will have left if you go to sleep right this second. It will keep you from sinking into that dark, dark place." She added, "I would collapse into bed and actually sleep for the 30 minutes that I would have otherwise spent stressing." Sounds good, right?
17 A New Bedtime
We've all heard the advice that going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is a good idea for proper sleep. When it comes to advice that new moms can take about getting more sleep, going to bed earlier than they might typically is definitely something to try.
As this mom told Baby Center, "Go to bed when the children do. This is hard for me because there's so much that needs to be done, or I'd like to have that time to relax in peace and quiet – but do it!" This might be tough at first, but if this works for you and you get more sleep, it would be worth it.
16 Do Something Else Instead
The Mayo Clinic suggests that you get out of bed and do something else when you're having a hard time sleeping. Although you might be tempted to stay in bed and keep trying to get some shut-eye, realizing that it's tough could make you feel even worse.
The website says, "Try not to agonize over falling asleep. If you're not nodding off within a reasonable amount of time, get up and do a quiet activity, such as reading, until you feel sleepy. Then try going back to bed." A lot of people find that this works, so it could be perfect for you in your new mom phase.
15 Lift The Pressure Off
New moms feel a lot of pressure, and there always seems to be something to do. If you stop pressuring yourself to do everything, that could help you feel better and also sleep better.
This is great advice from Raising Children: as the website suggests, "Lowering your expectations can take the pressure off. Sometimes what we expect of ourselves can be unrealistic. For example, we might expect that we can play with the children, go to work, help at child care or school, cook an amazing dinner, get three loads of washing done, and still go to the gym." This is really true, right? This tactic works since thinking about your to-do list and being stressed out can mess with your sleep for sure.
14 Taking Turns Is Better Than Sharing Feedings
Kathryn Lee, Ph.D., a sleep researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, says that she sees husbands and wives both waking up in the middle of the night. She told Best Health Mag, "the father will get up during the night and bring the baby to the mother so that she can breastfeed. Afterward he changes the baby and everyone goes back to sleep." She says that while this is a way for both to be involved, "but what it means is that nobody’s sleeping and everybody’s tired.
Based on this, we can see that instead of both parents sharing the feedings, it makes more sense for parents to take turns.
13 Try A Different Sleeping Arrangement
What about trying out a different sleeping arrangement? This makes a lot of sense because if you're finding it tough to sleep, then continually returning to the bed where you can't sleep might make you feel like it's impossible.
Easy Baby Life says, "So, every now and then, go to bed early with earplugs. If possible even sleep in your own room." Do you have a guest room in your condo, apartment or house? If you do, that could be a good way to catch some zzzz's sometimes, and if you don't, maybe you could try the couch sometimes. Whatever works, right?
12 Naps Really Help
Parents.com suggests that you try some naps if you're a new mom and not getting that much sleep. They say that even 20 minutes could be awesome.
If you were a napper before you had a baby, this could be great news because you remember how lovely it can be to rest and relax during the day. If you weren't a big napper, you might find that you fall in love with naps because they help you feel a bit better than you did before. Taking a small nap each day could make a huge difference in how you feel.
11 Have The Baby Sleep With You
This tip from Baby Center might not be ideal for every mom, but it does sound like it helps. According to this mom, this was her way of getting more sleep: "The best strategy I used to get sleep when my daughter was a newborn was to have her sleep with me. At first, she was in her bassinet and would wake for periods of four to five hours, and so we'd walk around and nurse until she fell back to sleep. Finally, my doctor suggested we take her to bed with us. She slept great and woke up only briefly to nurse."
Again, not everyone will want to give this a try, but when you're exhausted and really need to sleep more, this could be worth giving a shot.
And here 10 things that sound too weird to work...
10 A Nap Fueled By Coffee
New moms (and all moms) absolutely love coffee. Enjoying a steaming hot cup of this caffeinated beverage can make you feel like you can get through anything, including your super busy day (even without getting enough sleep the night before).
Do you believe that drinking coffee will help you nap? Probably not... but this is a real thing.
Happy You Happy Family says, "If you want to try a power nap but you’re worried you’ll sleep through an alarm, I have an easy fix for you. Drink coffee right before you lay down. The caffeine will take about 20 minutes to kick in, so you’ll wake up feeling refreshed with an extra jolt from the caffeine." This is something that sounds too weird to work, doesn't it?
9 Try Attaching A Rope To Baby's Cradle
When it comes to ways to get more sleep as a new mom that sound too strange to actually work, this is definitely one of them: attaching a rope to your baby's cradle.
According to a mom who shared her sleep tip with Baby Center, "We had a cradle that rocked, and I tied a rope to it so I could rock it while I lay in bed when my son was a newborn. (I made sure the rope was out of his reach at all times.)"
We totally understand trying anything to get more sleep, but this might not be something that all moms want to try.
8 Get Some Essential Oils
Essential oils are pretty trendy these days and you have most likely heard about them. Some people swear by them and say that they help with stress and headaches and all kinds of things. From peppermint to lavender, there are all kinds of scents, and you can order them online or perhaps you can find them in some local stores.
The Military Wife and Mom suggests using essential oils to help get some sleep. This might work for some people and it's awesome if it does, but at the same time, you might be wondering how this could actually be something that helps you sleep.
7 Changing Your Alarm
Another sleep tip is to change how you set your alarm so you get an extra 90 minutes of shut-eye.
Happy You Happy Family suggests, "When you set your alarm, keep in mind that 90 minutes is the length of a full sleep cycle and set your alarm in increments of 90 minutes. 7 hours? No good. But 7.5 hours is perfect."
This sounds strange because it's not going to necessarily be possible for a new mom to add an extra half hour of sleep. You're lucky to get a few hours at all, and you might not have the time in your schedule, especially if you have more than one child.
6 Use A Red Light
You might have heard that blue light is bad when you want to go to sleep. People suggest not looking at TV, computer, or phone screens before turning in for the night.
Apparently red light works for sleep, according to Romper, but that doesn't seem like an easy thing for many new moms to do. You might not know where to even start looking for something like this, which is fair, and you might not think that this would actually work. When you want to sleep more as a new mom, it would be best to think about some other ideas and skip the whole red light idea.
5 Making A List Of Problems
According to Buzzfeed, writing a list is a great thing to do when you want to sleep better.
People suggest making a list of problems or what's upsetting you or on your mind. But this seems like it could backfire and make you think about difficult things or your to-do list when you want to wind down for sleep. New moms are already thinking about so many things and more stressed than they want to be, at least some of the time. You would want to think about happier things than everything that you have to take care of the next day, that's for sure.
4 Sleeping Less So You Sleep More The Next Night
According to Time.com, sleeping less one night so you sleep more the next night could help people fall asleep.
We do kind of understand this in theory and, sure, this does seem to work for some people... but in reality, this is really tough to do, especially for tired moms. It doesn't seem like you should be going to bed later than you want to when you're really exhausted. This might be a sleep trick that works for people who aren't parents yet, but it's definitely not something that new moms want to try out. When you're ready for bed, you should try your best to sleep.
3 Hello, Hypnosis
Hypnosis works for some people when it comes to sleeping better or curing insomnia.
According to Sleep Foundation, "Sleep hypnosis involves listening to verbal cues from a hypnotherapist that are intended to draw you into a trance-like state through the power of suggestion." The publication notes that not everyone actually finds this helpful.
New moms could try this with a recording at home, but would it really be something that they're interested in trying? If it might not work, they might want to spend their time and effort on something else. They might think that it sounds strange and other sleep tricks and strategies could be much more appealing to them, which is totally fair.
2 Eat Carbs Before Bed
Buzzfeed suggests that eating carbs before bed could help, which is another thing that new moms might find too weird to try.
Sure, some moms might eat carbs at dinner and find that they sleep, but maybe it's just a coincidence and they were able to get more shut-eye simply because they were really tired. This doesn't work for every new mom because some people eat more carbs than others and some like to stick to proteins and vegetables for dinner. It's a totally personal and subjective thing. Also, new moms might not be eating a full or proper dinner, at least not every night, simply because they have so much going on.
1 Cold Water
Would you ever want to put your face in really, really cold water? No, you probably wouldn't. Would you believe that this could help you sleep? No, you probably wouldn't believe that, either.
According to Elite Daily, this is a real thing: "Dunk your face or head in water that is all kinds of freezing cold. The logic behind this is similar to the sleeping cap or cooling your room, but the dunk specifically allows for an added [stimulate]-and-relax response to your nervous system."
New moms will definitely find this weird and might want to stick to the tips at the beginning of this list.