Losing the baby weight is one of the things on the minds of many new moms and while walking with the stroller, breastfeeding and eating right may come to mind as new mom strategies, did you know getting more sleep can help as well? Sleep deprivation has been found to lead to poor decision-making when it comes to nutrition such as late night snacking and choosing high-carb food and drinks (like that double latte). In addition, sleep helps you burn calories faster and boosts fat loss. But, you may point out, new parents often expect to be sleep-deprived. What’s a new parent to do? More on that later!
And, what about your baby? No need to worry about those chubby cheeks! But, did you know that sleep helps make your baby smarter? Well, maybe not exactly, but have you ever tried to learn new things when you’re tired? It’s not easy! Your learning and memory are much better with a good night’s sleep, and sleep is extremely important to your baby’s growth and development. By getting enough sleep, you are more prepared to learn new information to use later, and it gives you a better memory to pull out that info when you need it. So, maximizing your baby’s sleep can only lead to good things in life.
As part of Sleep Awareness Week and the fact that daylight saving starts soon, this is a great time to make sleep a priority for your family! Here are 4 tips to help your family get more sleep now and in the future.
Know how much sleep your family members need. The amount of sleep varies widely by age and person. While I can function very well on 7½ hours of sleep, my husband needs over 8 to feel his best. Similarly, babies need a LOT of sleep, but there are ranges of recommended hours by age. Knowledge is power and by knowing the amount of sleep you need can go a long way to achieving it.
Sleep schedule. Once you know how much sleep you and your family needs, the next step is to make an appropriate schedule for yourself and your baby, even if it’s not rigid by-the-clock. While you strongly desire to have TV time to watch your favorite show, you will feel ten times better tomorrow by getting enough sleep tonight. With DVRs and streaming options, you can always watch it later. Consider a slightly earlier bedtime to ease your way into a better schedule for yourself. And we have plenty of sample sleep schedules for baby if you need one.
Stop the bad habits. Just like you and I can develop bad sleep habits—such as reading on our phones too close to our bedtime or eating right before (or in!) bed—babies develop sleep habits that impact their sleep, too. Commit to making just one change today to your sleep routine and to your baby’s. You can change one bad habit at a time.
Keep it dark. With daylight savings upon us, keep in mind that light is what drives our internal clock. Keep your rooms as dark as possible in the morning to lengthen your sleep. Consider room-darkening blinds or curtains, for example.
While “get more sleep” may seem like a no-brainer and maybe a little silly to highlight, so many of us don’t do it. It’s right up there with “paying yourself first” and “eating healthy.” Some things are easier to say than do, for sure! But, now that you know that it can help you be healthier and trimmer and make your baby smarter, maybe that’s enough for you to make it one of your life’s missions for lifelong benefits for you and your family. How will you make sleep a priority?
The Baby Sleep Site is running a giveaway as a part of their Sleep Awareness Week. Be sure to head over to the giveaway to enter for a chance to win the prize package, which also includes the Project Nursery Parent + Baby SmartBand as well as our Sight and Sound Projector.