Tips for New Parents Coping with Sleep Deprivation

Father and newborn coping with sleep deprivation

Whether you're about to be a new parent yourself or you're shopping for baby shower gifts for a friend, you're likely aware of the standard gifts most parents receive—the diapers, the wipes, the tiny socks, the gift cards. While these are all valuable gifts, the time has come to consider giving gifts to help new parents make the most out of every hour of sleep afforded them.

Which, let's face it, isn't all that much.

New Parents and Sleep

It's no secret that new parents don't get a lot of sleep. Our friends over at Parenting break down the exact how's and why's of this phenomenon:

[If] your baby's awake, so are you, which means you're on call throughout the night to feed and comfort him. This type of sleep deprivation, typical of parents of newborns -- where over the course of eight hours you're up two or three times for 20 minutes (or longer) -- is even more grueling than getting just five hours of straight sleep. Why does the number of awakenings matter more than total hours? For one, sleep fragmentation causes a significant decrease in your deep sleep. That's because each time you get up and then go back to bed, you have to start the sleep cycle all over again, entering the light stages before you return to deep sleep. The result: exhaustion.

Although most new parents coping with sleep deprivation are prepared for this phase of life, some of them are not fully aware of how long it will last and how seriously they will be affected. Knowing what you're getting into ahead of time is a vital step toward putting plans in place to address sleep loss.

By all means, make proactive plans that involve catching up on sleep. Rotate feedings with your partner (if possible), catch cat naps when able, and whatever else you do, consider turning off Netflix's autoplay feature. Because marathoning an entire season of your new favorite show might feel like a good idea at the moment but trust us: it'll wreck you.

But that's not the point.

Along with these practical steps, you can also optimize your room for sleep so that each moment you're in bed is as restful as possible.

Optimizing Your Room for Sleep

According to our friends over at the Alaska Sleep Clinic, everything starts with how you think about your room.

One of the biggest keys in maximizing the efficiency for sleep in your room is what you associate your room with. Ideally, your room should be used for two purposes only: sleep and romance. Everything else done in your room serves no other purpose than to distract you from sleep.

Although it sounds cozy to read over files in bed or spread your project across the bedroom floor, working in your bedroom actually sends your body very mixed messages. Therefore, if you plan to work from home, be sure that work is done as far from your bedroom as possible.

So clear out the computer and tidy away the stacks of tax forms. While you're at it, be sure your tablets and smartphones are tidied away at least thirty minutes before sleep. The problem is bigger than just the fact that notifications might keep you awake past your bedtime (although that in itself is no small matter). There's some very clear evidence that screens right before bed can have a serious impact on your ability to fall and stay asleep.

Once you've disassociated your room from work and tidied away all your tech, you'll want to turn your attention to its aesthetics. As best as possible, you'll want to create an environment that's visually peaceful, cool, dark, and quiet.

Visually Peaceful

A cluttered or visually stimulating room will simply distract you from the task at hand: sleep. So clean up the clutter, move bright colors and interesting art pieces elsewhere in the home, and let your eyes find rest when you come to sleep.

Cool

Regulating the temperature and keeping things cool does more than just keep you from sweating through the night. Cooler temperatures actually serve to optimize sleep, although it's important not to overdo it: otherwise you'll just wake up shivering. Experts recommend that before you go to bed, you set your thermostat between 60 and 67 degrees.

Dark

Variations of light and shade throughout the day have a profound effect on our natural rhythms. Since darker environments help prompt the body to begin shutting down for the night, monitor your exposure to bright light as you wind down at the end of the day. Use smaller lights with dim wattage as you prepare for bed. If necessary, invest in a good set of curtains.

Quiet

With a new baby in the house, quiet evenings might be in short supply. Some things are still under your control, however. Carefully consider the type of music you play in the evenings, especially as you approach bedtime. Choose soft sounds and soothing tones. If you live in an apartment, downtown area, or otherwise noisy neighborhood, consider how you can use "white noise" (such as a fan or synthetic waterfall sounds) to cover some of the boisterousness from your environment.

Of course, one of the best steps you can take to ensure a good night's sleep is to invest in a high-quality mattress. Although most new parents coping with sleep deprivation are on a budget (this kid's going to college one day, after all!), there are plenty of quality mattresses available that won't break the bank.

We Can Help

Here at Nest Bedding, we want to help everyone get the most out of every moment of sleep—especially new parents! That's why we carry the best possible mattresses at the most affordable rates. Check us out online or stop by and see us any time. We'd love to talk to you about your needs and recommend the perfect mattress to keep you sleeping like a baby all night.

Well, maybe "sleeping like a baby" is a bit of a misnomer. But you know what we mean.

Our in-store staff is helpful, understanding people with their own backstories. Some have even been parents themselves and understand what you're going through. Come by and tell them what you need, and they'll be certain to help you out.

Especially you new moms and dads.

For more information on our products and services, or to chat with us about anything else, please feel free to contact us at any time.

We look forward to serving you.

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