I was so tired when my babies were little, that whenever someone (ahem, my own father) would yawn and complain they only got a measly seven hours of uninterrupted sleep the night before, I would shoot dagger eyes at them. I had no pity for these folks (sorry Dad), because deep in the trenches of sleep deprivation, I was desperate to know how to get more sleep as a new mom. Because if I didn't get some decent shut eye soon, things were going to get ugly.
Mamas with little ones out there — you feel me, right? Middle of the night feedings, babies crying for no apparent reason, and more of the same in the daylight hours will wear a sister down fast. But as Healthline pointed out, the dangers of sleep deprivation are real and can effect you psychologically, emotionally, and physically. Getting good sleep is always important, but when you have a baby in your care, you need to be as on top of your game as possible.
If you're in the trenches and the circles under your eyes are so dark they could be mistaken for war paint, keep hope alive! Try out some of these seven ways new moms can get more sleep, and you'll be snoozing like nobody's business by tonight.
1. Lean In
Sometimes, acceptance is the first step. And if it's more sleep you're after, it may do you good to accept that when you have a baby, sleep can be limited. As Business Insider pointed out, trying too hard to sleep may make matters worse. Their advice? Start making positive associations with sleep and practice relaxation techniques that encourage your body to wind down.
2. Skip The Latte
When you're tired, it's easy to reach for an afternoon latte for a boost. Downing caffeine late in the day interrupts sleep patterns and makes it hard for your body to relax when it's time for lights out, according to Psychology Today. Pushing through those drowsy moments may be tough, but it will be worth it when you're ready to close your eyes at bedtime.
3. Call In The Granny
I was lucky enough to have not one, but two grandmas near by when my kiddos were babies. On those days when I just couldn't keep my eyes open or my sanity in check, I called my mom or mother-in-law to watch the baby while I snuck up to bed for a hour to nap. If you don't have this luxury, see if a friend, neighbor, or co-worker would be willing to keep an eye on the little one while you take a power nap one afternoon.
4. Create A Ritual
Falling into bed may seem like the logical thing after a long day with your new baby, but creating a relaxing ritual will help you enjoy maximum Zzzs. As Mind Body Green pointed out, your pre-bed activities influence your sleep, meaning your nighttime ritual has the power to lull you into dreamland, or make you grumpy the next day.
5. Keep The Baby Close (At First)
You know that snazzy nursery you spent hours putting together? Well, you might not want to move your baby in their just yet. To get a better night's sleep, Mayo Clinic suggested keeping a bassinet or crib nearby your bed, so you can return the baby to their bed easily after nighttime feedings.
6. Clock Out
You don't need an official punch card system to set up a rotating shift with your partner. Talk with your SO about what schedule make the most sense for dividing night feedings. Maybe you hit the sack early and take the 4 a.m. shift, while your night owl partner feeds the baby at midnight before crawling under the blanket.
7. Naps Are For Everyone
If you don't have anyone to relieve you during the day (or night) try your best to nap when the baby naps. Or, as Parents magazine suggested, try resting if you can't sleep. Put your feet up and being still sends the same restorative messages to your brain and can help you feel refreshed as a nap.