How To Deal With Sleep Deprivation As A New Parent
It is quite easy to spot new parents because of the characteristic red and bloodshot eyes, the dark circles around the eyes and tired faces. Although the arrival of a child is a beautiful and joyful event, most new parents find that they can’t seem to find time to sleep and rest during the first few weeks and months and they are always so exhausted.
Newborn babies require a whole of time and attention from feeding almost every hour to frequent diaper changes and as parents, you may feel obligated to dedicate every available time to the baby forgetting that you have needs as well. It can take a while for babies to settle into a regular routine, and this makes getting the sleep and rest you need difficult
According to the National Sleep Foundation sleep duration recommendations, adults require about 7-9 hours of sleep daily.
When you miss hours from this recommended duration on an ongoing basis, you build something known as a “Sleep debt” which is quite hard to pay back.
A Sleep debt also known as a Sleep deficit is the cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep and when this persists over time, it may lead to mental or physical fatigue.
The National Health Service of the United Kingdom also stated that a poor night’s sleep is often followed by fatigue, short temper and lack of concentration and after several sleepless nights, the mental effects are more pronounced, and you are at risk for injuries and domestic accidents.
You could try the following tips to improve your sleep:
- Establish a regular bedtime routine and schedule.
- Even though you might be tempted, try not to catch up on housework anytime your baby is asleep, instead turn off your phone and try to catch some sleep yourself.
- Find someone who could help you with housework and other chores around the house such as cooking and laundry to take stress off you.
- Also get someone who could help you watch your baby while you sleep. This is not a problem most times as the Grandmas are around for Omugwo.
- Have a strict rule about not using mobile devices and social media whenever you are trying to get some sleep.
- Avoid the intake of Caffeine, Nicotine or Alcohol. Caffeine(found in coffee) and Nicotine(found in cigarettes) are stimulants and will prevent you from getting sleep. Alcohol may help you sleep but it is not advisable to take Alcohol when you are still breastfeeding.
- Make sure your spouse is actively involved. You both could run shifts at night and they could help in feeding the baby, diaper change and rocking the baby to sleep.
- Try to limit the number of visitors you attend to on a daily basis during the first few weeks and months because this could deduct significantly from the amount of time you have for sleep and rest.
- Try to free your mind of worries when trying to fall asleep, it would help to clear the mind. You could list out things on your mind and try not to get worried or frustrated so you can find sleep.
- Exercise is also a very good way to relieve stress and induce sleep. But ensure you don’t carry out rigorous exercises too close to bedtime as this may have an opposite effect.
New parents definitely have the best of intentions when they push themselves to the limit while taking care of their baby during those first hectic months.
It is important to know that overworking yourself without getting enough rest or receiving outside help can take a negative toll on our health.
Do the best you can and always make sure you take good care of yourself so that you can take good care of your baby and family.