Sleep as a new parent is, erm, a bit scattered. Before having a baby , the general idea was awake in the day and uninterrupted Zzzs at night (most of the time anyway).
Now, your baby being awake at odd hours can leave you a bit like a walking zombie – but there are tricks to make things easier. Welcome to your coping strategies.You fell asleep on the sofa mid-afternoon, went to bed just before midnight, now you’re up at 2am. And again half an hour later. Now 4am, then 5…
Sleep when your baby sleepsEasier said than done sometimes, we know, but even a lie down or rest is beneficial if you can’t manage to nod off.
‘Deep breathing is a great way to switch off and counting sheep really does work,’ says Sammy Margo, author of The Good Sleep Guide (£10.99, Vermilion).
Try not to clock watchYou know that feeling when you wake in the early hours and see what time it is? Just that can be enough to leave you feeling drained and focussing on how little kip you’ve had.
Think about moving the clock out of your room or your baby’s nursery so you don’t psyche yourself out. And put your mobile in your bedside drawer so you’re not checking the time on that.
Say yes to friends and familyWhether that’s babysitting for a few hours while you have a sleep or even taking your baby for a night so you can have a full night’s sleep (best present ever, huh?). It’s always ok to accept support and help.
Have a snackHead to the kitchen for a sleep-inducing snack. Foods including bananas, oats, honey, almonds, marmite, lettuce and turkey all are known to help us sleep, as well as warm milk and camomile tea. Bon apetit!
Try deep relaxationAs little as 10 minutes can make a difference. ‘I recommend a technique called Progressive Muscle Relaxation,’ says Sammy. ‘It’s a sequence of muscle contractions that combine with breathing to help you relax.’ Try this free podcast for instructions.
Go to bed at the same time as your babyIt may seem too early and there’s all that house stuff to be done before you feel bed-ready, but research shows it’s more beneficial to have an early night than a lie in.
‘It’s to do with our sleep debt,’ says Sammy. ‘Basically, the best way to catch up on lost sleep is getting your head down early, but always try to get up at the same time each morning, even on weekends.’