As a new mum, or mum to be, you may be struggling to get a good night’s sleep every night of the week. Many factors can play part in the quality and quantity of sleep you have each night, not just a new addition to your family or having a little one on the way.
The benefits of a good night’s sleep are endless – a decent night’s shuteye is one of the simplest ways to invest in your long term health and wellness. Never forget that there is a key difference between surviving on little sleep and thriving in health. If you’re lacking a good night’s sleep, you might experience mood swings, increased irritability, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, low tolerance to stress, reduced immune system and even weight gain.
Welcoming a new addition to your family is one of the most exciting things in life. But the sleep deprivation that most new parents experience can take a toll on relationships as well as you and your partner’s personal and professional life. Working as a team to support one another to manage sleep and waking hours is very important. When you are sleep deprived, do your best to slowly get those hours of sleep back, until your account is restored. I’m not saying it will be easy but if you try you will see benefits.
How much sleep is enough?
The number of hours of sleep we need each night varies – some people can make do with five hours a night but may hit a wall in the afternoon. On average, adults should be getting about eight hours of good sleep a night while mums to be might need a little more and perhaps a nap here and there too. What’s quite interesting is that sleep deprivation was once used by the Chinese as an ancient form of torture because of its debilitating effects. Do you need any more encouragement for a good night’s sleep?
Tips for a good night sleep
While I can’t hand over those missed hours of sleep, I can offer some tips to ensure that the sleep you are getting is good quality sleep:
1. Find a relaxation routine
Routine is essential for a new baby and it should be for mums to be and new mums too. Incorporate similar activities into your pre-sleep routine each night and like your baby or children, your body will come to expect this and relax before climbing into bed.
2. Stretch it out
Most of us feel the need to stretch in the morning but taking the time to stretch before bed can be beneficial too. During the day, it’s likely you’ll be undertaking repetitive activities which can lead to tight and fatigued muscles – stretching these out before bed will ensure that you’re comfortable when you get into bed and less likely to be sore when you wake in the morning.
3. Mattress matters
You will spend about a third of your life sleeping. This makes your mattress one of the most important pieces of furniture in your home. Preparation for sleep is just as important as the surface you lay on for sleep. Consider the following when you are next in market for a new mattress
- You do not want to disadvantage your body with poor postural support for eight or so hours a night. Not having the right support will hinder you body’s resting process crucial for mums and mums to be.
- Your mattress should support your body in a neutral posture – the natural curves of your spine should be supported while your neck and shoulders are properly aligned.
- Take your time choosing the right mattress – lying on a mattress for 10-15 minutes will be sufficient time to see how the mattress adjusts to your body.
- Sleep test the mattress – do you feel like your lower back is getting enough support? Are there any pressure points that are uncomfortable? If you’re lying with your partner can you feel him/her move around?
- BYO pillow – this will simulate your actual sleep position and assist you in making the right decision about your mattress
4. Pillow talk
For the complete good night’s sleep package, ensure you have the right pillow for your needs. Your head weighs almost five kilograms so you will need a pillow that will provide you with lasting support. My top tip is to choose a pillow that sits in the crevice between your head and shoulder, without raising or lowering your head.
Understanding the importance of rest and preparing for a good night’s sleep can help revive your mind and body. A Good night’s sleep helps to keep those hormones in check that affect your appetite, improve mood and reduces irritability, helps keep your immune system strong, aids with concentration levels and even helps the brain memorise information better.