You know sleep is super-important. You’ve heard all about how fatigue can affect everything from cognitive function to cravings. You get it, you need sleep. But what if you’re still getting up for multiple night feedings? What if you’ve got a not-so-great napper? That’s why today’s post is all about realistic ways to get more rest (and feel more rested!) even if your baby isn’t letting you sleep.
I totally get it, my son was not a great sleeper. It took a lot of effort-nursing, rocking…rocking some more, sleeping on me, napping on me. The first year of his life I legit wondered if I would ever get “real” sleep again.
Friends and family telling you that “this will pass…”? Doesn’t help matters, because all you can think about is how much you’d love to get sleep RIGHT NOW!
I completely empathize with how you’re feeling right now. And I’m not going to focus on unrealistic expectations like “get 7-9 hours of quality sleep!” or “sleep while the baby sleeps!”
Instead, I want to give you 5 tips that can help you work with what you’ve got. A full night’s sleep may not be in the cards for you in this season of life with baby (or toddler), but it IS possible to feel more energized.
1. Sit down
Just taking a time-out to sit on the couch for 10 minutes can have restorative benefits. Yeah, it’s not the same as being in your nice comfy bed, but taking a break to chill and rest your eyes (anyone picturing your dad falling asleep on the couch saying “I’m just resting my eyes”? ha) can give your body a few minutes to recharge.
2. Cut yourself off from electronics before bedtime
I know night-time might be the ONLY time you get to yourself. It might be the only time you have to catch up on work, catch up with friends on social media, or binge-watch your favorite show…aaaand before you know it it’s 12:30am and you’re both wired and exhausted at the same time.
Shut-down the electronics 20-30 minutes before you want to go to bed, and switch to screen-free, relaxing activities to get your brain and body ready for sleep. You’ll fall asleep more easily and feel more rested!
3. Ask for help
This one sounds so easy, yet for a lot of women (especially those of us who like things done a *certain* way…ahem, me.) it can be hard for a couple of reasons.
For one, you may feel like it’s just easier to do it yourself instead of trying to tell someone else how you like it done. And then you end up doing all. the. things.
Or maybe it’s just hard to admit that you can’t do it all. There’s tons of expectations placed on women and it’s easy to feel like you should be able to handle it all. But *news flash*…it’s virtually impossible to do everything yourself!
For things that you’re not super-attached to, enlist help: Ask your partner to help out with laundry if you don’t care that much about how the laundry is folded. Or ask a friend or family member to come over and help with some batch cooking for easy freezer meals.
4. Fill Your Belly
You might be putting all of your focus on keeping your baby fed and forgetting to feed yourself! Your body is doing A LOT of work right now, and one of the quickest ways to zap if of energy is to skip out on proper nutrition.
Not only will prioritizing your nutrition help you feel more energized throughout the day, it also helps promote better, more restful sleep.
If sitting down for an actual meal 3 times a day seems unrealistic right now, at least make sure you’ve got lots of snacks on hand that are convenient (think: easy to eat one-handed) and that still give you all the macronutrients (protein, fats, and carbohydrates) to keep your belly full and your energy up. Nuts, string cheese, pre-cut veggies and hummus, pre-cut slices/cubes of cheese, low-sodium deli slices, and greek yogurt are some of my favorites!
5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Water is literally essential for your body to function. When you’re dehydrated it can affect the flow of oxygen to your brain, which means your heart then has to work harder to pump oxygen to your organs…making your feel more fatigued.
Hydration is one of the most important-and also easiest- ways to support your energy and reduce feelings of fatigue during the early postpartum months and beyond! It will also help you get in the habit of drinking that water, which will be super important when you decide that you’re ready to up your postpartum fitness game 😉