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Tips to Cope with Sleepless Nights

Sleepless nights are unfortunately part of the territory – at least for the first few months – when you have a new baby in the house. But even if you’re not getting as much shut-eye at night as you’d like, there are steps you can take to avoid becoming a complete zombie during the day. Try these strategies to cope with sleep deprivation and get the most out of the rest you do get.

Create a shift system.

New moms, especially if they’re breastfeeding, tend to take on a larger share of the nighttime wake-up calls than dads do. But think creatively about how you and your partner can share this role (and minimize resentment and middle-of-the-night arguments). For example, your partner could take on some of the late-night feedings with pumped milk or formula. Or you could head to bed early for a few hours of uninterrupted sleep while your partner stays up, then you handle the feedings the rest of the night.

Minimize sleep disruptions.

If the littlest sound can rouse you from sleep, try to cut down on unnecessary interruptions. Make your bedroom completely dark, with shutters or blackout curtains, and no glowing lights from clocks or other electronics. Customize your baby monitor so the monitor turns on only when your baby makes a sound.  

Resist screens.

It’s tempting to scroll through social media or watch videos on your phone late at night, but this habit only makes it harder to fall asleep again when you have the chance. Set screen limits for yourself when you’re lying in bed or up for nighttime feedings. Substitute alternative activities, like reading or listening to a white noise app, to help you sleep.

Limit caffeine.

When you’ve had a tough night with the baby, a natural response is to reach for the entire pot of coffee in the morning. But try to limit yourself to just one cup; caffeine overload can make you too wired to sleep later.

Treat yourself.

Sleepless nights can wear you down over time, so find small ways to treat yourself when the baby is napping. Sleep, shower, watch a favorite show, read a magazine – do something you enjoy, even for a few minutes.

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