(Family Features)–Between feedings, changing diapers and household chores, sleep is often put on the back burner for new parents at the end of a busy day.
In fact, a survey of 2,000 parents, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Mattress Firm, found the average parent loses one-third of his or her nightly sleep after a baby arrives, decreasing from an average of six hours per night to just four. The same study also found that nearly half (48 percent) of new parents said sleep loss is their biggest obstacle to overcome.
Getting adequate sleep may seem impossible with a new addition but it is essential for managing stress and preparing for the day ahead. While there isn’t a magical formula for getting enough sleep, these strategies can help:
Find time for rest. While your first inclination is probably to be productive while your little one naps, taking a nap of your own – even 20-30 minutes – may prove more beneficial. Even if you can’t sleep every time your baby is napping, try lying down or doing something relaxing like yoga, meditation or reading a book every so often. Taking a few minutes for yourself can give you the energy to tackle the rest of your to-do list later in the day.
Split duties. According to the survey, 67 percent of female respondents said their partner got more sleep in the first year of parenting. To help reduce the burden and ensure both parents are getting adequate rest, work out a schedule that allows each of you to alternate tackling those late-night feedings and diaper changes while the other sleeps.
Establish a routine. Creating a routine with your baby before going to sleep, such as reading a book or taking a bath, can signal that it’s time for bed and help him or her calm down. Try making bedtime the same every night to further enhance the routine. Doing so can help both you and your baby get more rest.
Try soothing techniques. The average parent spends 74 minutes every day – that’s the equivalent of 19 days a year – trying to woo his or her baby to sleep. So, unless you suspect your baby is hungry or uncomfortable, encouraging self-soothing could help your child’s sleep schedule in the long run. Of course, self-soothing isn’t right for every family and there are also things that can be done to help lull your little one to sleep, such as rocking your child, giving him or her a pacifier or using a sound machine to play comforting sounds or white noise.
Choose the right mattress. Getting the National Sleep Foundation-recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night can have a dramatic impact on your mood, performance and health. Your body can experience many changes after giving birth and a new mattress can help alleviate pain or discomfort. Sleeping on a mattress that is right for you can be key to getting the sleep you need.
Remember, the sleepless nights won’t last forever; the American Academy of Pediatrics notes almost all babies should be able to sleep through the night by 6 months of age.
Source: Mattress Firm