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This post was sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Before I was pregnant with Lily, I struggled with sleep. I tossed and and turned, struggling to fall back asleep every time I woke up in the middle of the night. I could count on a poor night of sleep nearly every night which made me dread going to bed.
I wish I would have done more about it. It affected my mood, my eating habits, my productivity – everything. Once I was pregnant, exhaustion took over. It didn't matter what I did. By six months, I was exhausted even eating at times. And then once Lily was born, a different kind of exhaustion took over and naps were my best friend.
But now? Now we're settling into a bit of a routine and I feel like I'm kind of coming up for air again. Lily's regressed a bit since daylight savings, but overall, she's a good sleeper at night. And I feel like I'm finally to the point where I can focus (even a little bit) more on self-care. For me, that starts with sleep. Sleep.org has been helpful in changing my lifestyle habits, but I've got even more tricks to get more sleep as a new parent.
This is by far the biggest thing that has helped us. We actually decided to bedshare and take care of all the safety precautions to make this work. It may not be for some and many told us that we shouldn't do it, but we've been getting 5+ hours of sleep at a time since she was probably 1 1/2 months to 2 months old. Now it can even go as much as 7 or 8 some nights. It makes middle of the night feedings (if they happen) easier and allows us to fall back asleep if she wakes much quicker.
Take a Nap
So this one should maybe be take a nap OR rest. I'm a terrible napper. I have a really hard time doing it, but if I do, I usually wake up more tired. If you can't nap, then rest. (And no, that doesn't mean hop on your phone and scroll through Facebook or Instagram like I thought it did at first.) Close your eyes, listen to music, and just be. It's as refreshing as a nap is supposed to be for me and I love doing it when Lily is napping on me. It's incredibly relaxing and puts me in a good mood when we both decide it's time to get up.
Say Yes to Help
Lily is just over 3 months now and I just cooked my first meal since she's been home a few days ago. I've made food, put together sandwiches, and even baked in that time but a full meal with prep? Nope. We had freezer meals, ate take out for a bit, had meals from family and Nathan took over cooking for the most part. I missed cooking, but I needed the time to rest. It was also less for me to worry about in what felt like an overload of “need to dos” when she came home. Nathan also did more of the cleaning and helped with middle of the night feeds for quite a while, too.
Go to Bed Early
I usually went to bed sometime around 9PM and was trying to sleep by 10PM. Now? I'm usually in bed between 7PM and 8PM, drifting off to sleep no later than 9PM. I still get up at the same time, but the extra hour+ helps cover her middle of the night feeds or fussiness. I have plenty to do in that time, but sleep is so important. I figure all of my laundry, dishes, and to-do lists can wait for me to tend to them when I'm feeling more refreshed instead of doing them in zombie mode.
The first few weeks were so hard on me. Everyone wanted to come visit and see her. But I wasn't as keen on having visitors all the time. And I wasn't always up for getting out of pajamas or cleaning our house. So we learned to say no. We told people certain times didn't work for us and reserved that time specifically for us. The bonus that came out of that now is that Saturday is family day. It's my favorite day of the week and everyone knows that Saturdays aren't visitor days.
New parent or not, getting enough sleep is crucial for being your best self. Luckily, the National Sleep Foundation is here to help those that struggle with sleep. Whether you have insomnia or struggle to stay asleep like I do, the National Sleep Foundation has tons of resources for you. They've also got great information to help you start a conversation with your doctor about your sleep struggles.
If insomnia is keeping you up at night, visit www.beyondtired.org for even more resources.
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What are your tried and true ways to get more sleep as a new parent?
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