If you’ve just had a baby, or planning to have one, be prepared that sleeping through the night might now be a fantasy — for a while at least.
If you have a baby, or know someone who has one, you’ll know that sleeping through the night is a big deal — for all concerned.
But there are ways for you to navigate through this tricky time, and come out the other side.
How much sleep do babies need?
Like adults, all babies sleep different amounts of time. But on average, newborns (0-3 months) need around 14-17 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period.
As they grow, the amount of sleep they require changes. From 4-11 months, it’s around 12-15 hours, and from 12-24 months they usually need anywhere from 11-14 hours.
So why is sleep through the night impossible?
Given the amount of time babies actually spend sleeping, you might be wondering why it seems impossible to sleep through the night.
One of the reasons is that while babies sleep a lot in the first few months, they actually sleep for short periods because they need feeding every 2-4 hours. This is because their tummies are still very small and can only hold small amounts of food at any one time. They are also growing at an incredible rate, and so need plenty of energy to support their growth and development.
And then of course, they may wake when they need a nappy change.
How does your sleep change
As well as not sleeping through the night, you might notice that your sleep isn’t as deep as it used to be. This is particularly the case for mothers who seem to be on ‘high alert’, waiting for their baby to cry in the night.
You’ll probably find that instead of sleeping for long periods of time, your sleep hours will be made up of more naps than usual. While this might be frustrating, it’s good to remember that broken sleep is better than no sleep at all!
Tips to maximise your sleep time
There’s no getting around the fact that getting a good nights’ sleep with a newborn is difficult. But remember that things will get better. As your baby gets older, they will develop their own sleep patterns and will usually start sleeping for longer periods of time. Eventually, they will be able to sleep through the night, without needing to be fed and in time, they’ll develop a nightly routine that enables them and you to sleep through the night again!
But until then, here are our top tips in getting sleep with a baby.
- Accept that your sleep won’t be the same for a while
- Make sleep a priority and sleep when you can
- Sleep when your baby sleeps
- Learn to let go of household chores and other responsibilities so you can maximise your rest time
- If you’re bottle-feeding negotiate with your partner to get up for some of the night feeds so you can get more sleep
- Seek help if you find it difficult to cope
- Remember that this is a phase that will pass.
Set up your bedroom
In order to make the most of the brief snatches of sleep you’ll get, ensure that your environment will support sleep. Keep your bed covers pulled down so you can jump right into bed when you get the chance. Ensure your window coverings are closed and your room is dark enough to sleep, especially during the day. Keep your room at a temperature that makes it easy to sleep and try to make sure that your bedroom is quiet.
Don’t forget that a comfortable mattress will also help in these sleep-deprived times. If your mattress needs replacing, come and talk to us. We can provide advice on the best mattress for you and your partner, to help you both cope with your changed sleep patterns. And when your baby is old enough to move from their cot into their bed, we can also help you out with a waterproof mattress. Browse our range of mattresses today.