4 Ways tired parents can try to get more sleep
Parents of young babies are known to get very little sleep, but when it gets to the point where a lack of sleep impacts on your daily functioning things get a little more serious. Here are four things you can try to get more sleep at night with a baby in the house.
Get your baby in a routine
"When putting your child down to sleep, it is important for the brain to get the message to shut down. Babies and kids are quite easy to manage, if they know what is coming – so it’s important to always be consistent in the sequence of events. For example, set the mood by closing the curtains, turning on music, getting their feed ready and then running the bath. This gives the brain signals that it can associate with sleeping," recommends Erica Lotter, Cape Town-based sleep training specialist, and owner of Mom's Lifeline.
Let the baby monitor do its job
“Don’t think you have to monitor your baby personally and stare at your child while they sleep at night. The same as adults, your child will have good nights and bad nights; don’t panic when you see your child sitting or crawling in the cot, and run to the room to force them to sleep. If they don’t cry, they don’t need you. Let them be,” advises Erica.
Address your own nutrition
“Nutrition is very important for sleep. Most importantly, you need to ensure that your protein levels and iron levels are adequate. So fill up on plenty of green veggies for iron, as well as protein-rich foods, i.e. pulses, tofu, yogurt, egg, chicken, fish, etc.,” recommends Erica.
Treat yourself as though you were a child
“Once the kids are sleep, parents often struggle to fall asleep themselves. Remember the ability to fall asleep is a skill, it does not come naturally for everyone. If you yourself have a sleep problem, it probably stems from an early age as well”.
“Create a routine that you follow every night. Stay away from electronic devices - your brain will not switch off; it will think it still needs to work. Make sure you just before getting into bed you always do the same thing. E.g. take a shower, get in bed, read two pages of a book, put the book down, turn off the light and close your eyes. Follow this routine every night and allow this ritual to become your sleep association,” advises Erica.
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