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Advice

Healthy Parent Sleep Habits

December 17, 2021

When it comes to sleep as a parent, we are always trying to support our babies sleep habits, but what about you? Adults in general struggle with establishing healthy sleep habits so when we throw a newborn in the mix, it can be a complete disaster. Whether you’re still waiting for a baby, pregnant, or your baby is already disrupting your sleep, here are some tips to establish healthy sleep habits as a parent.

  1. Be consistent. Set a strict bedtime and wake time for yourself, just like you did for your baby. Consider having an earlier bedtime if your baby is an early bird so you can get closer to 7 hours of sleep, even though it might be disrupted. If you had a long night with frequent feedings, make it your goal to wake at the same time everyday. If you find you’re tired due to night wakings, try to take short 10-20 minute cat naps throughout the day to help catch up on some sleep.

  2. Create a bedtime routine. You have planned out your bedtime routine for your little one, bath time, feeding, story time, lullaby, then bed to sleep. But did you know that establishing a routine for yourself can be just as beneficial. You don’t have to read yourself a story or take a bath, per se, but creating a short routine before bed will help your body recognize that you plan on being right on schedule. Routines can be as simple as washing your face, brushing your teeth, practicing mindfulness or applying lotion. Be consistent with your routine and your body will respond to those cues.

  3. Avoid heavy meals, excessive alcohol, or caffeine prior to bedtime. We sleep better without a full stomach and with no caffeine after lunch time if you can avoid it. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it changes your sleep architecture diminishing the quality of your sleep.

  4. Avoid screens and sunlight as much as possible as bedtime approaches. Closing your blinds and putting away your phone can go a long way in helping your melatonin (the sleepy hormone) production and has the added bonus of taking you away from possible stressful factors such as the news, work, or social media on your phone.

  5. Create the perfect sleep environment. Keep your room cool, dark, and quiet, or use a white noise. If you’re room sharing, the white noise will help you sleep through the noises your baby produces in their sleep but you should still be able to hear them when they need you.

  6. When sleep evades you, reset by getting out of bed. If you’re struggling to fall asleep and have been laying in bed for 15 minutes or more, get up and out of your room. Take a small walk around the house, or sit down and read until you feel tired again, then head back to bed to attempt to sleep. When we lay in bed fully awake for too long, you’ll find it’s even harder to fall back to sleep. Setting a strict bedtime can be hard to adjust to and it can take 1-2 weeks to adjust to your new schedule. Soon you’ll find that you fall asleep much quicker than you used to.

  7. Bed is for sleep. Bed is so comfortable and it calls to us when our body is tired and wants to relax. But if you reserve your bed for sleeping only, your body will know you mean business when you lay down and will recognize that it’s time for sleep. You can still lay down on your couch or the floor throughout the day if you need it, but try to reserve your bed for sleep only.