The secret to a great night's sleep

Top 5 New Baby Sleeping Tips

2017 has so far seen a boom in celebrity pregnancies, with big names like Beyonce, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Binky Felstead amongst those expected to give birth this summer.

Cheryl's well-hidden pregnancy has been followed closely by the nation and finally, on Mother's Day, she revealed that she had given birth to a healthy baby boy.

Silentnight's sleep expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, has first-hand experience of being a new mother. She shares her tips to help new mums through those first few weeks with a baby.

Dr Nerina says: "We place too much emphasis on the amount of time we're supposed to sleep but it's more important that we focus on achieving quality, deep sleep, rather than a quota of hours. As a new mum, it's important to make the most of any free time you have restfully and to take regular naps of no more than 15 mins, when you can, in order to re-energise."

From using a white noise machine to power napping, she reveals how to get a good night's rest:

  1. LEARN HOW TO POWER NAP -  While it might be easier said than done to sleep when the baby sleeps, resting during the day will lessen the effects of sleep deprivation and improve the quality of your sleep at night. It's too easy to say 'I'll just get some chores done', but before you know it, baby is awake and needing your attention again. A power nap is a short sleep lasting five to 15 minutes, when you will approach a near sleep state without actually falling asleep. Incorporating visualisation techniques - relaxing scenes, for example - can make it even more effective. If you are exhausted, you might find it helpful to use a stopwatch or alarm clock to stop you falling into a deep sleep. The more you practise, the easier it will get and the more rejuvenated you will feel.
  2. WHAT TO DO IF YOU WAKE UP DURING THE NIGHT -  It's inevitable that you will be woken, sometimes repeatedly, during the early days of your baby's life. However, there are a few tricks that you can use to get yourself back to sleep more easily. Be prepared: try to have everything on hand for a quick feed or nappy change and if you have to put a light on, use a low-level bedside lamp. The less time you are exposed to light, the easier it will be to get back to sleep again. Don't be tempted to check your phone, as the blue light from screens tricks your brain into thinking it's more awake than it is, making it more difficult to get back to sleep. Avoid checking the time: if you do this, you are more likely to start worrying about how little sleep you might get.
  3. IF YOU REALLY CAN'T GET TO SLEEP -  Use the time to relax. Abandon all attempts to sleep and allow yourself to just rest. Tell yourself 'It doesn't matter if I don't sleep tonight; I'm just going to rest'. It's tricky but you might be surprised how quickly you get to sleep. Alternatively, get up and do something relaxing. Read a book, have a cup of camomile tea or warm milk, or even do some ironing to tire you out.
  4. DE-CLUTTER YOUR SLEEP ENVIRONMENT -  Try to keep your sleep environment free of clutter and baby's toys. The ideal temperature for good sleep is slightly cool, so ensure the room is ventilated by having windows open. Alternatively, invest in a bedroom fan. It can be a great way to keep things cool, and can also help to create a white noise effect that cuts out distracting background noises.
  5. GET SOME EXERCISE -  One of the hardest things to do when you're a new mother and you're exhausted is to find time for exercise, but this will help you to both relieve stress and sleep more effectively. Exercise helps to reduce levels of adrenaline and other stress hormones and it boosts the production of hormones which 'repair' the body, making your immune system and overall health more robust. It doesn't have to mean going to the gym or running: a 20-minute brisk walk can boost the production of endorphins.

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