Tips to Help New Parents Catch Up on Sleep

Like most new parents, you probably heard the well-meaning tip to “get your sleep while you can” before your baby arrived, and to “sleep while the baby sleeps” once he was born. The problem is, the anticipation of a new baby makes it hard to sleep before the birth, and sleeping while the baby sleeps is out of the question if you want to actually eat and shower during the day.

Still, you need to get your rest in order to take good care of yourself and your baby. Here are some tips for catching more zzz’s:

  • Set a bedtime and stick to it. Who says bedtime routines are just for babies? Having a set bedtime for yourself is a good idea, too. If your baby still wakes at night, try going to bed shortly after you put your little one down for the night. That first stretch of sleep is often the longest.  
  • Speaking of bedtime routines ... . Would a warm bath or shower help relax you for sleep? Perhaps reading from a paperback or hardcover book? Yoga stretches? Try some of these and see if they work for you. Is your bedroom cool, dark and peaceful? If not, make some changes.
  • Avoid heavy meals, alcohol and caffeine for several hours before bedtime. These things can keep you from falling asleep.
  • Limit your screen time. Looking at a screen (your smartphone or computer, for example) right before bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep. Shut down your devices or stop reading or surfing on them as you get closer to bedtime.
  • Get what you need for bedtime ready in advance. Even something as simple as setting your pajamas aside, folding laundry and leaving out your toothbrush and face wash can save you from scrambling (and raising your energy levels) once you’re tired. Prepare what you’ll need for your baby’s wake ups, such as feeding and diaper supplies, so you can cut down on the amount of time you’re awake.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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