Sleep is one of the most underrated factors in the achievement of health and well-being.
Getting a sufficient amount of sleep in those first few months after giving birth can be tricky but oh so important both for your sanity and your ability to function. The trouble is that ensuring you get enough sleep in this time when routine is limited can be easier said than done. You need to do what works for you and your situation to optimise the sleep you get but below are some simple tips to help you that may help you get some very valuable extra hours!
Tips for improving sleep:
Try to limit your caffeine intake, it can be tempting to rely on caffeine to give you a much-needed boost when you are feeling exhausted, but although this can help temporarily, it can also create a vicious cycle by making it harder for you to get to sleep when you do finally get a chance to lie down.
Reduce use of laptops, tablets and mobile phones in the few hours before bed and especially when feeding through the night. This will allow production of melatonin which is very important to the body functioning efficiently.
Ensure you room is dark with no standby lights if possible. The skin can detect light and will halt melatonin production.
Ensure your room is cool. This will aid deeper sleep.
Useful tip for those looking to lose some baby weight and how sleep can directly impact this:
Sleep is so important due to the activity of hormones such as melatonin and HGH (human growth hormone). The actions of these hormones have a direct impact upon the ability of the body to burn fat and gain lean tissue. Equally, hormones such as cortisol can have the opposite effect and if the body does not get enough sleep the effects of cortisol will become more apparent.
Water is vital for health. We cannot live without it and a drop in hydration levels, by even a few percent, can seriously impact the ability of the body to function optimally. Knowing this and knowing the demands you are facing daily with a newborn make it even more important to make sure you are drinking enough water. Amongst other things brain function decreases, the body becomes tired and the body struggles to detoxify itself.
Tips for staying hydrated.
If your urine is dark (ideally it should be pale) it is a pretty good sign you are not drinking enough water.
2l per day would probably be a good start for most people.
Carry a bottle of water with you when you are out and about and try to have water at arms length when you are at home.
Drink a small amount of water with meals.
If you are doing exercise, look to increase your intake so that you replace any water lost during your workout.
It's a good idea to drink at least 500ml of water on waking, or even better bring water to bed so that you can drink during the night if feeding also.