Perhaps you have never been a good sleeper, or maybe it is just since you became a parent. It’s irritating isn’t it? In so many other areas, it feels as though you’ve finally come through the fog and those long, seemingly endless nights, of rocking, cooing, ssshing, white noise, picking up and sterilizing dummy (OK, so you probably decided that the 3 minute(ish) rule was absolutely fine for dummies after the 3rd month of no sleep) and now all of that is, almost, a distant memory. Long gone is the finger crossing and the touching of strategically placed pieces of wood for luck, because, unless there’s illness, or some other minor emergency, you know you can pretty much guarantee, that little one is going to sleep right through. So, finally that means a good night’s sleep for you right…..? Wrong!
Now, nobody said it was going to be easy but this really does bite. You probably haven’t slept like a baby yourself from about 6-7 months into your pregnancy, depending on the size of your bump. And now you’re baby is 6 months old if you’re lucky (very few of us are that lucky) or 1 and a half, if you’re unlucky (if that’s you then I feel your sleep deprived pain) 5 or 6 hours of unbroken would be AMAZING! 8 would be off the scale, but you’re not being greedy, so what’s the deal??!!
Some research suggests that it’s our maternal programming, that keeps us tuned in and alert to even the slightest hint that our babies need us. So not only are we stirring at the sound of babies first cry, but you can find your eyes opening, 30 seconds before your little bundle of joy has even made a sound….Spooky! 🙂 For some, broken sleep has quite simply, become a habit. For others, it will be the anxiety and stress of not knowing whether they are going to get a good night’s sleep and how that will affect them the next day, that will be the very thing that keeps them awake.
So, what can you do? Rest assured help is at hand! These 6 simple tips will help you to rested and rejuvenated once more, but the main thing to bear in mind is, to treat yourself like your baby and get yourself into a good sleep routine.
- Get rid of the screen time – No lap tops, iphones, ipads, TV’s in the last hour before you go to sleep. They stimulate your brain waves and leave your mind in revved up as opposed to wind down mode.
- Cut out the caffeine – If you’re using it to pep yourself up, to help you through the day, you’re creating a non-virtuous circle for yourself. However, if cutting out the coffee completely, is just one step to far for you, just don’t drink any after 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
- Don’t Eat Too Late – Although, eating at all at times, might feel like a bit of a luxury, when we eat late in the evening, an active digestive system at 3 or 4 in the morning can be all that it takes to shift you into a lighter phase of sleep; leading you to be more easily disturbed.
- Keep it Dark – You will have read everything there is to know about the importance of a dark room for your baby, start applying the same logic to yourself and invest in some black out blinds.
- Focus on your breath – Use 7/11 or other deep breathing techniques for the 10 minutes before you want to drift off.
- Don’t stress out if you wake up – If you find yourself awake for no apparent reason, don’t berate yourself, just bring your attention to your breath and repeat point 5. If you’re awake for longer than 10 minutes, get up (do not go near any technology) and do something really mundane until you feel sleepy. The minute you catch yourself yawning or dosing get back into bed and focus on the breath once again.
These tools are simple yet extremely effective in helping people get their sleep back on track. If however, you are suffering from stress or anxiety in the day or are ill in some way and have experienced sleep disturbance (that’s not baby related) for a sustained period time, you should seek out professional advice. Sleep is integral to general well being and whilst most parents do an amazing job when we have no choice but to tend to our babies in the middle of the night. However, as soon as they are sleeping soundly, it’s hugely important that we get ourselves back on track.
If you’re not sleeping at the moment, or would benefit from a bit of a pick me up, pop you’re name in the box below for a free download that will leave you feeling rested, re-energized and ready to go!
As always it’s great to hear your comments, how did you get your sleep back on track??
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/x/t/0097009/photos/peasap/