As the world waits with bated breath on the new Royal baby, those of us who’ve been there before know only too well what those first few weeks of sleepless nights are like when a new baby arrives. No doubt Kate will hear the oft-quoted phrase ‘Sleep when the baby sleeps’ numerous times in the days and weeks ahead.
However, if you feel you’re really not getting enough sleep, feel low, agitated or simply unable to cope or enjoy those first precious moments with baby, it’s essential to get more sleep, or at least more rest.
Signs of sleep deprivation
Some of the signs that we are sleep deprived include being unable to get up in the morning when the alarm goes, feeling groggy all day, short tempered and maybe snapping at the children or your partner, or simply being unable to concentrate on anything.
If you are feeling very tired however, even after your baby has started to sleep through the night – or if you just can’t get to sleep – you should talk to your doctor or other health professional about possible causes and how to improve your sleeping pattern.
Dr Chris Idzikowski, director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, explains ‘If you’re not getting enough sleep, the sleep you do get becomes more intense in order to help compensate. When you do get the chance to drop off, your body knows getting the two hours of deep and restorative sleep it needs is a priority, so that will come first in your sleep cycle.’ Yes, you’ll still feel tired the next day, as your natural sleep cycle is being disrupted by the demands of your new baby, but at least you can rest assured knowing your body is doing its best to cope and keep you functioning as well as it can.’
Tips for getting more sleep
- It’s true what they say, you need to sleep when the baby sleeps. If at all possible take some time out and rest during the day. This will not only lessen the effects of sleep deprivation, it will also help improve quality of your sleep, when you get some!
- Try and go to bed a bit earlier. Maybe your partner or a relative could help out what that last nappy change or soothing a colicky baby. Even if you find you can’t nod off earlier, try and do something relaxing for half an hour beforehand, such as reading a book to help you relax.
- Try and establish a good bedtime routine. From having all your nightly baby paraphernalia organised for the night ahead, to having a relaxing bath to soothe the body and mind.
- If you can, share the responsibility of getting up in the night with your partner. Take alternate nights or weeks. If grandparents offer to help out with other children, accept all invitations readily!
- Try and build some exercise into your daily routine. Time is a very precious thing to new mums and it’s difficult to find time to build in exercise, especially when you’re feeling exhausted or slightly overwhelmed by the demands of a new baby. However, exercise is one of the key strategies in helping you to relieve stress and helping you to sleep more effectively as well as baby and you getting some fresh air.
- Keep your bedroom as clutter free as possible. We all know the amount of ‘stuff’ that parents accumulate for newborns, but where possible try and keep your bedroom as clutter free as possible so that you can relax better.
- Avoid sedatives such as sleeping pills and alcohol to help you sleep. The effects are usually short-term, they can have counter effects, and sustained use can lead to dependency.
- Make sure your bed, mattress and bedding is giving you the right support and comfort levels to help aid sleep. A good supportive bed can make all the difference to getting a good night’s sleep. Extra pillows or a back support pillow might also help during nighttime feeds.
- Finally, don’t get stressed about lack of sleep. Those first few months with baby are precious times and winding yourself up about sleepless nights will only exacerbate the situation. Allow yourself time to just rest and enjoy your new baby.
What to do next
At Dalzell’s we know only too well how lack of sleep can disrupt family life. With over fifty years of bedding expertise we’ve met many sleep deprived mums and dads over the years who have come to us looking for advice on buying a new bed. Our expertly trained staff are happy to advise on all types of beds and mattresses that will help new parents get some well-earned kip. With over 500 beds in stock we have a wide range to choose from. Stocking leading bed manufacturers Respa, Myers, Staples, Kaymed and King Koil, among others, we’re confident you’ll find the right bed and mattress for you. Conveniently located between Armagh and Newry we’re a short drive from Lisburn and Belfast. What’s more, with Free Delivery* and Free Collection and Recyling of Your Old Bed throughout our Free Delivery Zone of Northern Ireland and Counties Dublin, Louth and Monaghan, there’s one less thing to worry about in those early days. Not only that, but we’ll we’ll also unpack and set-up your New Bed and Mattress in a room of your choosing and dispose of all the packaging, leaving mum and dad more time to relax and enjoy baby’s first few weeks. Time being precious and no time to visit, no problem! You can view our extensive collection of beds and mattresses online at Armagh Beds.com any time day or night! Email, or simply Call us on T: 028 3755 1260 where our staff are on hand to answer and questions you may have.
*Delivery throughout the rest of Ireland available at Highly Competitive Rates