According to the Sleep Council in the UK, “Getting enough sleep is key to maintaining normal brain function.” In extreme cases, sleep deprivation can lead to mental breakdown. Therefore, it’s important for new parents to manage the lack of sleep by taking it in turns to get up with a new baby.
According to a study carried out by global policy think tank Rand, it was found that sleep deprived workers in the UK, classed as those who don’t turn up because they are exhausted or ill through lack of sleep – or those who do come to work but are tired and sluggish, cost the economy $50 billion (£40 billion) a year. They analysed data from 62,000 people in five countries: the US, Japan, the UK, Germany and Canada.
Daddy’s Digest has compiled the top tips by Lisa Artis from the British Sleep Council, to help new fathers and mothers combat sleep deprivation.
You need the right environment to get a good night’s sleep and that means a bedroom that’s cool, quiet and dark. It may be worth considering investing in a dimmer light to avoid bright light waking you up. Make sure the room is gadget free and your bed is comfortable. It’s difficult to get deep, restful sleep on one that’s too soft, too hard, too small or too old.
It's mind over matter so if you're constantly thinking negatively about your baby not sleeping, and yourself not getting enough sleep, it will make it even worse. No matter how tired you are, it pays to remember that babies are programmed to wake up in the night. It's nature - it's unlikely you are doing anything wrong. Stop wishing your baby would snooze for longer and take each night as it comes, rather than putting extra pressure on yourself to get on a schedule.
Find a friend who is as sleep deprived as you and make a pact to be there to support each other when the going gets tough, as having someone to relate to can be a great morale booster.
Cook proper meals even when you’re tired and avoid high carb or sugary foods. A nutritionally balanced diet can work wonders for your energy levels.
Excess eating leaves you sleepy. Ditch the chocolate and crisps and keep healthy, easy-to-eat snacks around such as nuts, fresh fruit or raw vegetables. And stay hydrated: Being dehydrated can make you feel sleepy and dizzy so keep a cold bottle of water to drink close by.
Share out the duties so you and your partner can get some sleep. If a trusted friend or family member offers to look after your baby, so you can grab some sleep, then accept the offer. You'll cope better after some rest and even a thirty minute nap can help refresh you.
Stepping outside where there is fresh air and natural daylight will make you more alert and is a good distraction. Your body's internal clock (its circadian rhythms) is regulated by your exposure to sunlight. This means you can trick your body into believing it should be awake even when it feels tired.
It's also worth noting that keeping cool is another way to stay more alert. This can be done by going outside or splashing your face and running your wrists under cold water.
If there's one thing to remember, it's that one day your child will sleep through the night and, although you probably will regret admitting it, you may even miss those 3am cuddles...
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