Follow our tried and tested ten best sleep tips for new
mums:


  1. Make rest a priority - this is one of the hardest things for
    new mums to do but resting during the day will lessen the effects
    of sleep deprivation and improve the quality of your sleep at
    night.


    It's always too easy to say "I'll just tidy this room. I'll just
    get some chores done." And before you know it, baby is awake and
    needing your attention again. But it's important that you stop and
    rest; sometimes even a break of 5-10 minutes can be sufficient to
    enable the body to renew energy physically and mentally. Drink a
    glass of water or eat a piece of fruit, stretch, breathe deeply
    from your diaphragm, lie down, close your eyes, listen to music or
    nothing at all. Use the time to recharge physically, mentally,
    emotionally and spiritually.


  2. Dealing with waking up in the night - it is inevitable that you
    will be woken, sometimes repeatedly, during the night in 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 each time you
    are woken.


    First of all, 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 rather than a bright overhead light. The
    less time you are up and exposed to light, the easier it will be to
    get back to sleep again.


    Each time you wake up, avoid checking the time. If you do this,
    you are more likely to start worrying about how little sleep you
    will get if you don't fall asleep again. This then reduces your
    chances of getting back to sleep even further


  3. If you really can't get to sleep - there are a couple of
    options here. One is to use the time to relax. In other words,
    abandon all attempts to sleep and allow yourself to just rest. In
    fact, don't even use the word 'sleep'. Tell yourself 'it doesn't
    matter if I don't sleep tonight; I'm just going to use the time to
    REST. It's a bit of trickery but you might be surprised how quickly
    you then get to sleep - particularly if you use the technique
    regularly.


    If you really can't get to sleep, then get up and do something
    relaxing. Read a book, have a cup of camomile tea or warm milk, or
    even do some ironing as this can tire you. Don't lie in bed tossing
    and turning and making yourself frustrated and tired.


  4. Hyper-sensitivity to noise - many new mothers find that they
    hear every slight noise that baby makes and they even start to
    imagine they can hear him crying. You may find it helpful to use
    some white noise to block out the sound of every tiny sob and
    whimper. You can buy white noise machines or use a fan to create
    some even background sound.

  5. Wind down for good sleep - Your wind down routine sets the tone
    for how you will sleep throughout the night.


    Try to get into a bedtime routine to prepare your body and mind
    for restful sleep. Human beings respond well to familiar rituals
    that tell our brains that it is time to step off the treadmill and
    prepare to rest. Check the windows are closed and the doors are
    locked, the oven is off, read a book, listen to relaxing music and
    sip a milky caffeine-free drink. Allow yourself to relax in a bath
    for at least ten minutes and use some relaxing essential oils such
    as lavender to help promote sleepiness. Avoid anything over
    stimulating such as sending emails or surfing the internet - both
    of these activities tend to cause increased REM sleep. If you watch
    TV before going to bed, try to watch something funny, inspiring and
    uplifting rather than depressing or gloomy and avoid falling asleep
    in bed while watching TV.


    If you are really wound up you might find it helpful to delay
    going to bed for twenty minutes or so to allow yourself to wind
    down - you are more likely to be able to access efficient, deep
    sleep if you have allowed the mind and body to relax than if you
    rush to bed feeling anxious about trying to get good sleep. You are
    more likely to feel rejuvenated if you have had five or six hours
    of efficient sleep than seven or eight hours of shallow, restless
    sleep.


  6. Get some exercise - one of the hardest things to do when you
    are a new mum and you're exhausted is to find time for exercise,
    but this is one of the strategies that will give you huge benefits
    in terms of relieving stress and helping you to sleep and relax
    more effectively.


    Regular exercise is good for you but in terms of its relevance for
    new mothers and their sleep, exercise helps to reduce levels of
    adrenaline and other stress hormones, it boosts the production of
    hormones which 'repair' the body thus making your immune system and
    overall health more robust. You will spend more time in deep sleep
    and it certainly helps to alleviate that 'tired but wired' feeling
    that can stop you relaxing and falling asleep.


    Remember, it doesn't mean having to go to the gym or go out
    running. Even a 20 minute brisk walk is great exercise and can
    boost the production of the energising feel good hormones,
    endorphins.


  7. Mind racing, too much to do - for deeper, more peaceful sleep,
    get 'to do' lists out of your head and onto paper before you go to
    bed.


    You will no doubt have lots of things to do swimming round in your
    head but try keeping a notebook in the kitchen (not in the bedroom)
    and write down your to do list before you go to bed as part of your
    wind down routine. Doing this keeps the gremlins away from sleep
    both physically and mentally.


  8. Caffeine and alcohol - caffeine and alcohol are stimulants -
    use sparingly if you're a new mum and your sleep is already being
    disrupted


    Caffeine has a direct impact on reducing sleep quality. The
    half-life of caffeine is approximately five hours. This means that
    it can take up to 10 hours to completely remove all of the caffeine
    from your body if you drink a cup of tea or coffee. If you are
    having problems sleeping or are waking up feeling tired no matter
    how much sleep you get, minimise caffeine and increase your fluid
    intake by drinking more water, herbal teas and dilute fruit
    juices.


    Alcohol is the most commonly used sleep and relaxing aid in the
    world as it initially has a sedative effect that can help you drop
    off to sleep. However - alcohol stops you getting good, deep sleep
    and it can increase REM sleep so that the next day you end up
    feeling not only physically tired but also mentally fuzzy. If you
    are regularly drinking alcohol to help you sleep, ask your doctor
    to help you find an alternative.


  9. Learn how to power nap - every new mother should power nap and
    anyone can learn how to do it A power nap is is a short sleep
    lasting 5 to 15 in which you might be sitting or lying comfortably
    in a well-ventilated room, progressively relaxing muscles and
    breathing deeply from the stomach. You will approach a near sleep
    state without actually falling asleep and will be aware of your
    during this time. Incorporating visualisation techniques into your
    power nap - relaxing scenes, for example - can make it even more
    effective. If you are really 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 it, the easier it will get to rouse
    yourself after the required time and the more relaxed and
    rejuvenated you will feel afterwards.

  10. Your sleep environment - keep your sleep environment free of
    clutter and baby's toys. The ideal temperature for good sleep is
    slightly cool so keep windows open or have a fan in the room. The
    white noise from the fan can also help to create a white noise
    effect that cuts out distracting background noises and use
    aromatherapy oils to promote relaxation and sleep. Place a few
    drops of lavender in a cup of hot water on the windowsill 20
    minutes or so before you go to bed. Keep all mobile phones and
    computer equipment out of your room too. Your bedroom should look
    and feel like your sanctuary.

What are your top tips for cramming in some sleep when you're
caring for a new baby? Share them with us on our Facebook page or tweet us @Silentnightbedsusing
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