Some of the most widely advertised knowledge is that as a new mom, you will probably be tired. Contrary to how dire the warnings may be — and how it may feel at times — it really does get better with time.
The change in quality of sleep after baby can be a little harsh, though. If you think about it, it’s not too surprising — newborns sleep often, but they also eat every 2-3 hours, so you and baby are sleeping for short, interrupted stretches of time.
As they grow older and into toddlers, bedtime is early, but that also means they’re waking up early, and if you are not a morning person (*raises hand*), this definitely requires some adjustment!
So how can you sleep better as a new mom? Here are a few tips that have helped me sleep since having a baby.
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Sleep Tip #1: Sleep Train and Get Baby Sleeping in their Own Room
This may seem obvious, but one way to get better sleep, is to make sure your baby is a good sleeper! However, unless you’re supremely lucky and have a unicorn baby, this is not always easy.
Luckily for all of us, there are a ton of easy ways to help your baby develop good sleep habits and (eventually) sleep better. I have a whole post on how to sleep train and get your newborn sleeping better, as well as a separate post with additional tips for older babies.
One key point to note here: sleep training does not have to mean cry it out!
Another thing that greatly helped us sleep, was moving baby to their own room.
One big note on this: the AAP now recommends babies sleep in their parents’ room for at least the first six months in order to reduce the risk of SIDS. You can read more about that guidance here.
At only a few weeks old, my daughter had a very scary middle of the night episode caused by reflux. I am eternally grateful that she was sleeping in a bassinet in our room, allowing us to respond to her quickly, so definitely keep the AAP’s recommendations in mind.
That being said, once my children were on a decent schedule and nursing only once or maybe twice a night, and once we felt comfortable, we set up the baby monitors and moved them to their own rooms. There are a few reasons this helped:
Reason 1: Babies can be very noisy sleepers. My son’s grunting and other random yelps kept us awake, or startled us awake, since we were on edge with every tiny noise.
Reason 2: Having my kids in my room made it much more likely I would pick them up and try to feed them if they started crying. In reality, they only needed to cry and sniffle for a few minutes before settling back to sleep on their own.
Sleep Tip #2: Exercise for 30 Minutes
I know that exercise can be really difficult to fit into your day, but it’s a new year, and that’s the perfect time to either stick to your workout routine or ramp it up!
Exercise is also one of the best natural sleep aids — and contrary to what you may be thinking, it’s not because you’re exhausted and it feels like the exercise just adds to that exhaustion.
Researchers don’t know exactly how exercise improves sleep, but they do know that moderate aerobic exercise increases the amount of deep sleep you experience, and deep sleep = better sleep. Even 30 minutes can help, so try to squeeze in a short workout at some point during the day.
If you’re looking for quick workouts, one option you may have heard of is Kayla Itsines’ BBG workout, which is a short, 28-minute daily workout. I have a post detailing my experience with the BBG program here.
Sleep Tip #3: Meal Plan and Organize for the Week on Sunday
I’ve grown to love Sundays, because it means it’s time for me to sit down and write out plans for the next week. I automatically feel less anxious and less overwhelmed just by writing everything down, because I feel like I know what to expect in the coming week.
Knowing what’s coming helps me relax and sleep better, instead of dreading the uncertainty and probable chaos of the next day.
So, grab your planner or a notepad, and write down your appointments for the next week, any important events, and meal ideas for each day.
If you’re struggling to think of meals, Pinterest is your best friend! I use it almost every week to find new recipes, and it rarely disappoints.
Sleep Tip #4: Use a Sound Machine
Having a little white noise in your room can work wonders for your sleep.
The reasoning? It creates a constant noise to help reduce the shock of a louder noise that would normally wake you up (check out more details on the National Sleep Foundation’s site).
Another option? Use a free app on your phone, like the “White Noise” app.
Sleep Tip #5: Try Essential Oils
I’ve been wanting to try essential oils for ages, and I finally picked some up this past weekend. I am by no means an essential oils connoisseur, but I do know that there are scents that can definitely help you relax and sleep better, and there’s a ton of information on the internet about those.
I grabbed an inexpensive diffuser from Amazon and a small bottle of lavender essential oil, and set it up on my nightstand. Just using the diffuser for about 20 minutes before bed really helped me relax.
What tricks have you used to help you sleep better?