Getting a good night’s sleep is usually on the mind of all new parents. After all, if you can get a decent amount of sleep, then you can handle anything, right?
So, the first thing you should know is while sleep is a luxury; it’s also a requirement for all of us. Medical practitioners recommend 6-8 hours sleep a night to function properly. Then medical practitioners aren’t living with you and your new baby or restless toddler.
With all that said, there is good news; it is possible to get a great night’s sleep. All you need is practice and a few practical tips and hacks, and a little confidence and your sleep deprivation will be a thing of the past.
This is easier said than done. While 6-8 hours is optimum, but when I tell you that you only need two hours of deep sleep to function normally, this is priceless information, and that alone should take the pressure off. Sleep scientists also say most people can achieve two hours of deep sleep a night.
With this in mind, you can stop worrying that you’re not getting enough sleep. Worrying about your sleep pattern will prevent you from sleeping – it’s as simple as that. The more you convince yourself you can’t sleep, the more you won’t sleep. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Sometimes the old tried and tested tips offer the best solutions, and nothing is more effective than a bedtime routine. Without a doubt, a proper bedtime routine will result in the best night’s sleep. And that’s a fact.
If possible, start your routines early on in your child’s life, once weaned; and if that’s not possible, then create a bedtime routine as soon as you can.
It can be as simple as deciding on bedtime and sticking to it, for example, 7 pm for the child and 10.30 pm for you. By selecting these practical measures, everyone knows where they are, and there is no uncertainty to get in the way.
Try this simple bedtime routine and adapt it to suit your family.
The last meal of the day should be an hour before bedtime. Bathtime next, a warm bath using some sleepy bubbles or gentle bath preparation. Comfortable sleep clothes, a sleepsuit or pyjamas for toddlers, anything that makes them feel secure.
Read to your child or children in a cool bedroom, with the curtains closed and the lights dimmed and calm. Now it’s sleep time – put the child to bed and leave the room.
The child will call out, or the baby will cry, but if they are fed, clean and comfortable with a kids weighted blanket or soft, safe toy, there is no reason to worry. By all means, go back in and comfort the child but don’t take him or her out of bed. Repeat the mantra in your head: it’s sleep time, and after 7 pm is my time.
You are entitled to have the evening; to be an adult but, more importantly, now is the time to start your sleep routine, which is just a grown-up version of the child’s bedtime routine with one or two tweaks.
These two tweaks will transform your sleeping habits – stick to herbal tea or water before bed and ditch the tech in favour of a book. You will be asleep before you reach the end of the page, we are confident of that.
Nothing in life worth having is easy to come by, and this is true of a good night’s sleep. However, with a little determination, you can do it. Take one step at a time, and if you don’t manage 7 pm on the first, second or third night, you will succeed by the fourth or fifth.
Finally, I’m going to pass on to you the best piece of advice given to me by a wise lady. When everyone else is asleep, and you’re not, staring into the night, just remember, this too will pass. Before you know it, a restless baby or toddler will be a teenager, and then you will have the opposite problem, getting them out of bed!