By Nico Strydom
A new baby can cause parents to lose hours of sleep and if baby also struggles to sleep, it can worsen the situation.
A lack of sleep not only causes you to feel tired but also influences your thoughts and actions.
Baby’s sleeping patterns
A baby’s sleeping patterns differ greatly from those of an adult. Babies are in REM sleep for a large percentage of the time, when the heart beats faster, breathing is quicker and the eyes move from side to side.
This means baby awakens easier, sleeps uninterrupted (three to four hours) less frequently and the pattern repeats itself.
What does this mean for parents?
When your baby is awake, probably you are too – even if it just one parent at a time. This means that during an eight-hour night you are typically awake for 20 minutes or longer twice, thrice or more times.
The problem with this is that you have a lot less deep sleep and feel exhausted and tired.
How to get enough sleep
There are ways of getting enough sleep:
Catch up on your sleep: It is possible to catch up on sleep after not having slept properly for a long time. When you at long last get to sleep, you go into REM sleep and deep sleep.
Take quick naps: Try to perhaps over the weekend sleep for two or three hours. Even a quick nap of 20 to 30 minutes can perform wonders. Try to catch up on your sleep early in the morning so that you don’t sleep in the afternoon and then struggle to sleep at night.
Take turns: Both parents can take turns to get up for baby. Alternate nights rather than taking turns during the same night to get up, as both of you will then be deprived of uninterrupted sleep.
Turn down the monitor: Babies are active sleepers, which means they make many sounds during the night. This does not mean you have to jump up every time.
Don’t have baby sleeping in your bed: It is fine to bring your baby into your bed for feeding or to console him or her, but put baby back in the cot or in his or her room when you are ready to go back to sleep.
Sleep when baby sleeps: These are the times when you can sleep uninterrupted for three to four hours.
Get help: There are people around you who would not mind helping, so make use of the help so that both of you can get enough sleep.
Today’s Parent: https://www.todaysparent.com/toddler/toddler-sleep/how-to-tackle-double-bedtime/
Baby Center: https://www.babycenter.com/0_parents-say-8-ways-for-new-parents-to-get-more-sleep_7750.bc
Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/healthy-baby/art-20046556