Better Sleep for Parents

We’ve all heard the warnings about how having a newborn can impact sleep, but sleep challenges can also arise when your kids are older. As parents, we’re often caught up thinking about how to help our little ones sleep better, but we need to remember to take care of #1, too. 

This guide is a collection of our best tips for helping parents improve the quality of their sleep, from preparing for the first three months to improving sleep later on. We’ve got you, parents! 

Better Sleep for Parents Better Sleep for Parents

Preparing for a new baby - and sleep disruptions!

One thing guaranteed to keep you up at night is worrying about a baby on the way (particularly if they’re your first). To help, we’ve packaged up our best tips on how to prepare for a new baby - including what to buy, pack and set up - and educational resources on swaddling, safe sleep and settling.

Sleep tips for the fourth trimester (first 6 weeks)

The first two months after your baby arrives can be as full-on as they are beautiful. During this time, bubs have short sleep cycles and need to feed often, meaning short sleep cycles for parents, too! 

In this post on postpartum baby sleep tips, midwife and sleep consultant Amelia offers the top tips she gives mums and new parents for the fourth trimester when they leave the hospital.

Sleep tips for the fourth trimester (first 6 weeks)

Best-practice sleep tips for adults

Parents spend so much time worrying about their little ones’ sleep that they often forget to prioritise their own sleep. Jenna, the Sleep Science Guru, has compiled a whopping 20 tips for how mums and dads can get better quality sleep.

Read Jenna’s 20 suggestions for parents on how to improve your sleep.

Best-practice sleep tips for adults

Best foods to help parents’ sleep

It’s not always easy for us parents to eat all the nourishing foods we’d like when we’re raising little ones (does anyone else feel like they’re surviving on their child’s scraps?). But if you had to eat three things to help you sleep, what should they be? We asked mum and dietician Chloe McLeod for the best foods to eat and what to avoid to get a great night’s rest.

“Digest” Chloe’s recommendations for the best foods to promote good sleep in parents.

Best foods to help parents’ sleep

Benefits of white noise for adults

You may already use a white noise machine to help your child sleep, but have you tried one for yourself? White noise has a number of benefits for adults, like minimising sleep disruption and helping with concentration, e.g., during work or study. 

Learn all about the types of white noise and the benefits it has for adult sleep.

Benefits of white noise for adults

Perinatal depression and anxiety

Sometimes, difficulty sleeping can be a sign of perinatal depression and/or anxiety, which affects 1 in 7 women and 1 in 10 men after a baby is born. (This used to be known as “postnatal depression and anxiety” but “perinatal” covers the experience from before birth through to 12 months post birth.)

Read about this common mood disorder, including symptoms, how it differs from the ‘baby blues’, and what to do if you or your partner is struggling in this article about perinatal depression and anxiety by registered nurse and midwife Helen Stevens.

Perinatal depression and anxiety

Remember to be gentle with yourself

Consistently getting a good amount of quality sleep can be tough for everyone, whether they have kids or not. Try to be kind to yourself. If you’re not getting the rest you need at the moment, your time will come! We hope these sleep tips for parents have given you some inspiration and help to make a positive difference.

Support for parents who need help

If you're struggling, and not feeling yourself, help is available. 

Reach out to: SANE, Postpartum Support International, NSPCC or Mental Health Foundation.

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