Have you noticed that you are sleep deprived since you became a parent? Good news, study’s show that you are not alone. Duh, it is common knowledge that parents do not sleep well when they have children.
Welcome to parenthood. I have found some tips on how to sleep well while your toddler is growing up.
When you have children it is no secret that your sleep and the sanity that comes from sleep are limited to only a couple of quality hours a night. There are ways to help the sleep that you do get, more meaningful.
If you are lucky enough to have a partner you can share some responsibilities of waking in the middle of the night. However, if you are a single parent sleep training your toddler is obviously a more difficult task. But, even though it is difficult it is not impossible.
Although, not much can be done as far as your toddler waking up several times a night for feeding and changing when they are young. However, you will notice that as your toddler gets older he tends to sleep in longer stretches at night.
Knowing that you will be waking up in the middle of the night, it is important to focus on the quality of sleep since quantity is out of the question for the time being.
As I am sure you will agree, there is nothing like an early morning after you have been up several times trying to feed and change your baby. Just thinking about it can cause stress that can prevent you from falling asleep. These tips on how to sleep well should help improve the quality of your sleep.
If you are like me, you don’t realize how much caffeine you actually take in every day. Don’t worry this not a lecture on caffeine and the effects it has on your body. I am just as guilty. However, I have found that if I limit my caffeine intake in the early afternoon I am able to fall asleep faster at night.
By the way, you do know that chocolate has caffeine in it right? Don’t shoot the messenger. Again guilty as charged. But, seriously if instead of drinking soda for dinner try substituting something else.
Now, if I told you to avoid alcohol before bed we probably couldn’t be friends right? Well, the truth is, alcohol decreases your REM sleep, which occurs during the first 90 minutes after you fall asleep. So in order to sleep well at night, you should limit alcohol at least 3 hours before bed. See I didn’t tell you to stop drinking just slow down before bedtime.
Remove TV From Bedroom
By removing the TV from your bedroom you will remove what is known as blue light. Blue light is emitted from TV screens as well as phone and computer screens. Several studies have shown that the blue light that is emitted can inhibit the production of Melatonin.
Turn off technology
When the day has finally ended and you retire to the bedroom after a long stressful day, this is not the time to catch up on your emails or to find out the latest gossip on social media. As I explained earlier, the blue light has the same effect.
Not to mention if your reading mails because you believe it is the only time to catch up you are producing an added level of stress just before bed.
Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
That is to say, find another way to relax. Take a bath, you more than likely deserve it after a long day. I will say if you are a stay at home parent as I am, I know for a fact you deserve a hot bath. You might need to reconsider avoiding alcohol 3 hours prior to bed as well.
Consequently, there are other ways to relax at bedtime. Aside from sex, you can always read a book.
If you are going to have a snack before bed you will need to avoid snacks with sugar. Instead, try a snack of yogurt with bananas, peanut butter with whole-grain crackers, or apple with string cheese. That is to say, a snack high in protein and low in sugar will help induce sleep.
You have had a busy day, you work hard, you come home at the end of the day with a toddler in hand. As a result, you rush to get dinner on the table, and the rest of your nightly routine completed. Your toddler is finally asleep. Exercise is the furthest from your mind, especially late in the evening.
Or, if you are a stay at home parent with a toddler home all day. You probably feel like you get plenty of exercise all day running them around or running around after them picking up all day.
However, a good exercise routine is not only healthy for you it will also improve your quality of sleep at night. With that said, go out and sweat it out either in the morning, lunchtime, or within two hours of going to bed. If nothing else take a walk after dinner with your toddler it may help him settle down as well.
Chose the Right Pillow
Choosing the right pillow as odd as that sounds is the key to one of the most important things I did to change my sleep. When I was sleeping only 4 or 5 hours a night my favorite saying was “sleep is overrated”.
This is how I would trick myself into thinking it was OK to only get a couple of hours of sleep a night. I never really realized how tired I was.
To clarify, for years I would stack two pillows up and sleep on my side. Once I found a memory foam pillow and removed the other pillow everything changed. By having my neck in a more natural position, I found that I did not wake up sore in the mornings nor did I wake up as much throughout the night.
Except of course when Mason would wake in the middle of the night. So, just changing one sleep habit as simple as a pillow, improved my sleep dramatically. if you are interested in purchasing the pillow that I use you can order it by clicking here. I use the Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Ergo Neck Pillow, It really made a difference.
It has been my experience that when you have children you make lots of sacrifices, unfortunately, sleep is one of those scarifies, at least for the first couple of years.
The most important thing you need to focus on is falling asleep quickly. Which means you need to shut down at night.
I promise it does get better at least on the sleep side of things. Hopefully, these tips that I have provided will improve the quality of sleep that you get each night.
If you have any experience that you would like to share or comments feel free to leave them below and I will certainly respond. Thank you for reading my blog. Remember you are not alone in the raising of your toddler. There have been others before you and there will be more behind you.
Until next time,