Almost all new parents report losing sleep once their baby comes home, and a certain level of sleep loss is expected and normal. However, sleep deprivation can cause you to be in a bad mood, unable to cope with the struggles of having a new baby, or unable to enjoy your life. If you feel that you are struggling with your sleep, it’s imperative to find a way to get more rest.
- Sleep when your baby sleeps. This isn’t an option for everybody, but if you can stay at home with the baby, the best way to get more sleep is to sleep when your baby sleeps. It can be tempting to catch up on chores while your baby is resting, but if you are struggling with getting an adequate amount of sleep, then it’s best to leave the chores for later and close your eyes for a little while.
- Wind down earlier than usual. If you can’t sleep when your baby sleeps, you can consider going to bed earlier than normal for a few months. If your usual bedtime is around 10 o’clock, consider going to bed at 8 or 9 o’clock instead. If you’re not able to go to bed this early, consider practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, a hot bath, or reading.
- Split the work. The saying “It takes a village to raise a child” can be very true in the first couple weeks of having a new baby. If you can, ask your spouse to take on a little extra housework or ask your friends or family to come over and watch the baby while you take a nap.
Loss of sleep is unavoidable when you bring home a new baby, but sleep deprivation can be dangerous. Sleep deprivation makes it difficult to deal with the ups and downs of having a baby and can even lead to depression or anxiety. If you find yourself losing interest in daily activities, having a consistently bad mood, or just feeling low for long periods, then you may be suffering from sleep deprivation.