It is often said that newborns sleep peacefully in their cots for 12 to 16 hours a day. Sometimes that's true, but that doesn't mean that babies automatically sleep through the night. In fact, some babies prefer to be active at night when mum and dad want to get a little sleep. This is how an enormous sleep deficit accumulates over time. In addition to the visible side effects (the ever-growing dark circles under the eyes) - many parents increasingly lack the strength they need to cope with everyday life. Do you also struggle with chronic lack of sleep? Then our tips will help you cope better even on days with little sleep.
Make use of all the sleeping options that are available to you
What may seem banal at first is of great value in the everyday life of new parents. Just try to sleep at the times when your baby is sleeping. Does your little darling always take a nap at 12 noon? Then you should also use the time to compensate for your sleep deficit. Please do not take care of the household chores during this time, just take care of yourself. You can always tidy up later, it is first of all more important that you catch up on sleep. If you cannot fall asleep at all, you can use the "free time" to actively relax. Just do what is good for you in the moment - maybe listening to music, yoga, or just a nice hot bubble bath. During this time you will not completely compensate for your sleep deficit, but you will still refuel your energy reserves.
Accept help from your partner, friends, or family
Is your baby one of those short sleepers who gets hungry every few hours at night? Then your nerves will probably be pretty worn out after a few weeks. If you have not already done so, you should definitely seek support from friends and family in this case. Please do not hesitate, because the whole thing may seem uncomfortable to you! The family in particular is usually happy when they can actively spend time with the new family member during the day. While your baby is in good hands, you should take a much needed break. One to two hours are enough for you to relax a little and maybe take a little nap.
If it can be set up, it is also a good idea to organise nightly care for your little one from time to time. First of all, ask your partner if they agree to take turns with you at night. In this way, both of you will sleep through the night more regularly, without your baby having to be "looked after".
Get up with the alarm clock and have a hearty breakfast
Especially with an infant, make a habit of waking up with an alarm clock. In the long run, this gives you more benefits than if you kept hitting the snooze button. "Only 5 minutes more" will unfortunately not help you, as you will not fall asleep again in this short time. It is better to set the alarm clock to a later time and sleep through the night. As soon as you hear the alarm tone, you should really get up. This way, you stay in your biorhythm so that at some point it will be easier for you to get up despite a lack of sleep.
Especially after a very short night, you should definitely make time for a relaxed breakfast. Treat yourself to plenty of vitamins and tea to start the day motivated even with little sleep.
Drink a lot (including coffee)
Anyone who has ever held a crying child in their arms knows that most things are often left behind. Especially with new parents who devotedly care for their baby. With all the motherly love, you should not forget some important, elementary basic needs. In the future, pay attention to how much you actually drink on a normal day. Could it be that, due to your new everyday life, you sometimes take in far too little fluids? It should be two litres a day to keep you fit for the long term.
Of course, coffee (in moderate amounts) is also part of it, which sometimes works wonders when you lack sleep. However, you should drink your coffee “strategically” and not consume dozen cups a day carelessly. Too much coffee is not good either, as it increases the circulation and makes you even more jittery than you already are. Therefore, try to control your coffee consumption consciously and wisely. When you get up, your cortisol level is high anyway, so you don't need any additional coffee. So if you want a "wake up" from the caffeine, it’s best to wait two to three hours before reaching for the coffee cup.
Embrace the lack of sleep and accept it internally
Many parents tend to simply ignore the lack of sleep out of concern for their child. This is especially true for men who are known to be “not allowed to show any weakness”. Why not? In fact, wouldn't it be better if you accept the sleep deficit and try to make the most of it? Because then, unfortunately, you can't change anything, but you can deal with some situations differently. Are you easily made irritable and easily provocative? Then maybe one day you can try to be extra friendly to other people. So you won't offend anyone even after a “good night”.
Do really important things in the morning
Do you no longer have parental leave and have to go to work totally exhausted? That's not nice, but it doesn't have to mean that your boss is about to kick you out the door. Even when you are overtired, simply take advantage of the fact that your energy level is at its highest in the morning. Even if you have barely slept, you should take advantage of your natural performance curve in the morning. Do the really important things during this time when you still have some strength. To do this, delete “useless things” from your calendar. You should avoid a meeting that lasts for hours if you have the opportunity to focus on other tasks. If none of this helps and you nod away in the middle of a conference, then go to the bathroom quickly. A splash of cold water on your face wakes you up in no time and is also refreshing.
Fresh air instead of a to-do list
Of course, plans for the day are very important, even if you have a baby. However, with only two hours of sleep you are of course not as resilient as after a good night's sleep. The motto is therefore to radically clean out your daily to-do list. Realistically, you can probably only do half (or a third) of what you set out to do. So pull out the red pencil and cross out some tasks. Instead, plan for short or long walks that will get your circulation going. You will see that after a round in the country you feel much better without sleep.
Rest up as soon as possible
Often parents get bogged down in the evening because they still want to do all sorts of things around the house. Sometimes even when the baby is already sound asleep. As an uncomfortable consequence, your little darling will likely wake up exactly when you want to go to bed. Therefore, try to just go to sleep with your little one instead. Even if that means that you will be in the nest at 7pm, your body will thank you the next morning.
Try to be more relaxed about your lack of sleep
Of course, you shouldn't underestimate the lack of sleep, but you shouldn't "over-dramatise" it either. After all, it also has its good: You now have the unique chance to watch your little darling grow up day by day. The first crawl, the first smile ... you notice all of this and no one can take away the memories of it. In retrospect, many parents no longer find the temporary lack of sleep that bad. Instead, they are happy that they were able to spend so much time with their baby undisturbed. You will probably feel the same way later when you say to your friends: "Do you remember when I called you with dark circles like this ..."