It can be exhausting when your baby isn’t sleeping, even if you know it is normal. Babies are masters at picking up on people’s emotional states, so reducing your stress might just benefit you and baby. Our 5 stressbusters for when your baby won’t sleep are:
Mindfulness and guided relaxation
A practical way of reducing stress and helping you cope with the tiredness is using mindfulness techniques or guided relaxation. Both involve focusing your attention and energy on the present moment. Use them every day to start seeing the benefivts and they are particularly effective if you struggle to get back to sleep after your baby has woken in the night.
If you’re wondering where to start, I highly recommend these apps:
Calm – (free trial).
Meditation, sleep stories and music to promote sleep are easily accessible through this app. There are lots of ‘sleep stories’ narrated by loads of different people, including Matthew McConaughey and Stephen Fry!
Headspace – (free trial).
Really popular app which has lots of different options for relaxation. Their 10-day meditation programme is included in the free trial and takes you step by step through how to meditate.
Clementine app (Free, iOS only).
An app by women, for women. Designed to ‘help you to sleep better, feel calmer and be your best self. It includes a range of hypnotherapy sessions, as well as the option for daily mantras to pop up on your phone, giving you an instant boost.’
When you are exhausted it is easy to stay at home and not get out of the house. Exercise, even if it’s just a brisk 10 minute walk with baby in the pram, can be a brilliant way of releasing endorphins and getting rid of frustration and stress.
It can also help you meet other mums and build your support network if you go to an exercise class that is designed to be done with babies or children. There are lots of different options but most areas have mum and baby dance classes, baby Yoga or Pilates and Buggy-fit.
Consider what you’re eating
Think about what you’re eating and when you’re eating it. Preparing yourself to sleep well for the hours you are asleep, in between your baby waking, can have a really positive impact on how tired you feel.
Choose complex carbohydrates such as sweet potato or wholemeal rice and pasta to boost serotonin. Don’t let yourself get hungry to avoid your blood sugar levels dropping. Make sure you have lots of snacks to hand and you eat a good breakfast, lunch and dinner. Choose protein where you can, for example chicken, eggs, tofu and cheese, all of which balance blood sugar and prevents swinging sugar levels. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and limit alcohol and caffeine, especially in the evenings.
In recent years good quality essential oils have become easily available and can be effective in boosting mood, promoting relaxation and reducing stress. Different oils are designed to be used in different ways, from massaging it on your skin, to diffusing it in the air. Check out Holland and Barrett for the best deals!
These are recommended for helping promote calm and relaxation:
Frankincense: Calming, boosts immune system
Clary sage: Balances hormones, promotes optimism
Chamomile: Helps with insomnia, improves mood, anti-inflammatory
Lavender:Improves sleep, anti-bacterial
Staying in the house to try and improve naps, being too tired to go out or just not wanting to meet mums whose babies sleep. These are all really common reasons for not wanting to get out of the house. But finding a support network to support you through this period of disrupted sleep can make the world of difference. Look for friends, family or other mums online who will let you complain about being exhausted without trying to offer a solution. Find people who make you tea and bring you cake when they come and visit, or who message you with a funny meme when you are wondering how you will actually get through the day. Those are the keepers and the ones who will help you manage the stress when it gets too much.
AUTHOR: SOPHIE GRIFFITHS
SLEEP CONSULTANT, SURREY
Sophie is a holistic sleep coach and co-founder of The Luna Hive.