Dads Need Sleep Too
  1. Dads Need Sleep Too


    Any new dad will tell you that there’s nothing more magical and life-altering than the arrival of your new baby. Among the major adjustments new fathers face, the most taxing is a severe alteration to their sleep schedules.

    During the first 24 months of your child’s life, you will lose an average of six months of sleep. But it’s the first three to six months that will really be grueling with your newborn waking up every two to three hours demanding to be fed or have their diaper changed. Lucky for all you zombie dads, there are some easy ways for new fathers to cope with sleep deprivation.  

    Dad need sleep

    Give Yourself More Credit

    Most people assume that in a co-parenting couple, it’s the mom who loses more sleep during the earliest days of a newborn’s life. That assumption is especially understandable when you consider a woman’s role in breastfeeding and the fact that infants awaken at night every two to three hours. Alas, leave it to science to disprove our educated guess.  

    Studies have found that dads get less sleep than moms and experience more confirmed fatigue during the day. But before you text your wife this link announcing your plans to sleep in tomorrow, we should note that the same study showed that while new mothers received more sleep over the course of the day, that rest was disturbed more often. The takeaway is that you are both exhausted and it’s your duty as a new dad, partner and employee to find ways to cope.

    If you’re surprised to learn that you’re getting less sleep than your better half, consider this: it’s not just women who have strong neurological reactions to an infant’s cry. The sound of a baby crying (even one that’s not your own) triggers a heightened emotional response that’s almost impossible to ignore.

    It Takes a Toll

    Your newfound sleep deficit affects everything from your relationship to the U.S. economy. When you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you have a harder time reading emotions, making misunderstandings with your partner more frequent and harder to resolve.

    And remember our mention of the economy? Researchers in 2016 found that the U.S. economy loses $411 billion a year due to insufficient sleep. When you aren’t sleeping well, you’re an unproductive employee.

    Dads need sleep too

    You Can Make It Better

    The good news? You will get through this and eventually your baby will sleep through the night. Until that happens though, it’s important to find ways to cope. Here are some ways to improve your sleep:

    1. Take turns with the baby.

    Unless you’re bottle-feeding, you won’t be able to pitch in as well as you’d like when it comes to night feedings. Do your best to establish a routine that ensures you are both getting sleep. Maybe that means sending your better half to bed early while you stay up late until the first feeding, or rising early to let mom snooze.

    This is also a great time to start using that extra guest room if you have one. Whichever one of you is on deck can rest in the spare room to ensure your better half is getting uninterrupted sleep. You’ll soon discover what works for you both, but the important part is to communicate openly and be consistent.

    2. Get a white noise machine.

    Newborns make noise when they sleep, even when they’re not crying. Adding a white noise machine to your sleep routine helps ensure that you don’t awaken to every little squeak and sigh. Still sleeping with the baby in your room? You’re in luck—white noise machines benefit the quality of baby’s sleep as well.

    3. Take a cat nap.

    A 20-minute nap can work wonders in restoring your brain functions midday, making you a more productive employee. If your office has a nap room, use it. If they don’t, consider having a conversation with your boss about dedicating some space to a little shut-eye.

    Dads need sleep too4. Avoid the midday caffeine boost.

    Caffeine has a half-life of five to seven hours in humans. If you have a cup of coffee after 3 p.m., your body won’t fully be rid of the caffeine until 1 a.m. or later. Foregoing that extra cup of coffee in the afternoon may feel painful in the moment, but will pay off later when you’ve fallen asleep faster. If your brain’s really struggling to let go of its afternoon reward, try filling the void with a short afternoon walk or treat yourself to a square of chocolate.

    5. Put your phone down.

    Your phone’s blue light messes with your melatonin production, reducing your body’s urge to fall asleep. Additionally, being on your phone means you’re more likely to be checking your email, which gets you thinking about work and worrying over tomorrow’s responsibilities. The best thing you can do is put your phone down and save it for the next morning.

    Dads need sleep too

    Armed with a little extra knowledge, we hope that you start catching some extra sleep and reap the rewards in all aspects of your life. Keep up the good work, dads, and enjoy this special time with your little one. Before you know it, they’ll be 15 years old and sleeping until noon every weekend.


    Pregnant? New parent or have small kids? Tired? Get tips and info on our special site for exhausted moms. 

    Ready to start sleeping better?

    Dads need sleep too




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  2. New Parent? You Have Permission to Nap
  3. New Parent? You Have Permission to Nap


    Unless you plan on becoming a Navy SEAL, the sleep deprivation you experience as a new parent will likely be the most severe you ever encounter. Need proof? During the first 24 months of your child’s life, a survey revealed you’ll lose an average of six months’ sleep.

    One of the best things you can do for your overall wellbeing during this incredible period of your life is to take daily naps. For most of us, the last nap we had was some time during our senior year of college, but for new moms and dads, we encourage a short daily nap as often as possible.

    Sleep makes everything better

    The recommended amount of nightly sleep for adults is seven to nine hours. Whether you’re doing all the nightly feedings yourself or dividing them up with your better half, you’re not going to meet that nightly quota during the first few months of your child’s life. That means you’re going to be exhibiting signs of sleep deprivation.

    A person deprived of sleep experiences more than just a tired body. In one study published by the Journal of Neurobiology and Circadian Rhythms, researchers found that sleep-deprived individuals had trouble identifying facial expressions of happiness and sadness.

    It’s not only your capacity to recognize other people’s emotions that suffers. When you’re not getting enough sleep, your ability to express joy in your face and voice is also impaired.

    Enter the benefits of a nap.

    Napping does a body good

    A short cat nap (we’re talking no more than 20 minutes) improves your mood and cognitive abilities. Naps do everything from restoring alertness to reducing accidents and creating feelings of rejuvenation.  

    New Parent You Have Permission to Nap

    Get the timing right

    Most experts recommend taking either a short 20-minute nap or completing a normal adult sleep cycle, which lasts 90 minutes. Anywhere in between or over that timeframe, and the napper will awake in a groggy state, which for our purposes is not what we’re after. Unless you’re certain your baby will snooze for an hour and a half, you may want to play it safe and set your alarm for 20 minutes.

    If you’re a stay-at-home parent, then the best advice is to nap when the baby naps. Both stay-at-home and working parents should try to avoid napping past 3 p.m. as it may affect your ability to fall asleep later that night.

    Ditch the stigma

    Napping is viewed as somewhat taboo in American culture, often creating perceptions of laziness. If you’re a stay-at-home parent, then you may feel guilty or judged for napping instead of doing the housework, and if you’re a working parent, then you might worry that your boss and coworkers will think you’re slacking off.

    The truth is you’re going to be a more productive and relatable person if you nap during the first couple years of your child’s life. You are 100% allowed to let the dishes and laundry pile up during this time in your life, but you must take care of yourself in order to take care of your baby.

    New Parent You Have Permission to Nap

    Ask for help

    We know, we know. As a new parent, you want to feel like you have it all together (or just mostly together). But here's a little secret: nobody does! It's totally OK to ask for help. Call a friend or family member to come over and hold your adorable baby while you take a nap. They'll likely be thrilled you asked, and it gives you some much-needed rest. Think of it this way: if your friend called you with this request, you'd be happy to help. Know they would do the same for you.

    Happy napping, everyone!

    Pregnant? New parent or have small kids? Tired? Get tips and info on our special site for exhausted moms. 

    Ready to start sleeping better?

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  4. The New Parent’s Guide for a Better Night’s Sleep
  5. The New Parent’s Guide for a Better Night’s Sleep


    Between the constant feedings, dirty diapers, and that growing pile of laundry that’s threatening to establish itself as your home’s overlord, you just aren’t getting enough of that sweet (oh-so-sweet) sleep you want.

    By now you’re probably rolling your tired eyes and grumbling, “Tell me something I don’t know,” but hang in there, moms and dads. We have five simple strategies new parents can use to improve their sleep.

    What it really means to sleep like a baby

    Babies actually have a sleep cycle that’s in overdrive. At three months, babies need a hefty 15-16 hours of sleep. Babies will sleep (an often sporadic) 10 hours at night and 5 hours during the day napping. Plus, the average newborn spends 50 to 80 percent of their sleep time in REM and takes only 50 minutes to complete a full sleep cycle. In comparison, adults spend 20 percent of their sleep time in REM and complete a full sleep cycle in 90 minutes. Translation: your baby’s brain races through sleep like a NASCAR driver, while yours is cruising the parking lot in first gear.

    A newborn’s speedy sleep pattern is also affected by their small tummies, which cause them to digest breast milk and formula at a rapid pace. That’s the reason they wake up every two or three hours feeling hungry. During the first few months when you’re keeping their schedule, you experience sleep fragmentation. These constant breaks in your sleep cycle cause you to spend less time in deep sleep and more time in light sleep. Likely coming as no surprise—this is a recipe for exhaustion.

    How to maximize the sleep you’re getting

    Things will eventually improve. Your baby will start sleeping through the night and the new parent anxieties that keep you up will lessen. Until that time comes, you’ll want to take some steps to ensure you maintain some semblance of rest.

    1. Nap when the baby naps

    It may sound trite, but one of the healthiest things you can do as a new parent is accept that you can’t do it all. Let your dishes and laundry pile up, and go take a nap. Even if you can’t complete a full sleep cycle, the extra rest will do good for your body and mind.

    2. Give your bedroom an easy makeover

    While changing your wall color and buying new bedding would be nice, this isn’t that kind of makeover. Instead, consider making some alterations to your bedroom’s light, noise and temperature levels.

    You can make daytime naps easier by installing some blackout shades or wearing a sleep mask. We also recommend getting a white noise machine to drown out the buzz from the outside world.

    As for the temperature, it’s better to be on the cooler end of the spectrum. Our bodies’ core temperatures drop to initiate sleep. When we’re too warm, this process is slowed or stopped altogether. Ensure that you’ll drift off faster by keeping your bedroom’s temperature between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit.

    3. Let’s talk about that baby monitor

    Baby monitors are great, don’t get us wrong. But when your baby hits that four month mark, they’re starting to sleep in more regular sleep cycles. Consider separating from the baby monitor at this point, if even for just a night to start. While a monitor can be a helpful tool in feeling connected and safe, it can be an unnecessary sleep stealer once your child has established more consistent sleep. In regard to SIDs-related safety, check out a sensor pad or a device like Owlet instead for added peace of mind.

    4. Go for a stroll

    Try putting your baby in the stroller and heading out for a brisk walk (weather permitting, of course). Fresh air has a way of lifting spirits, and the sunlight will help regulate both you and your baby’s circadian clocks. Plus, adding movement to your day is great for your sleep and will help make you feel more alert during the day.

    5. Be aware of your caffeine consumption

    Because caffeine has a half-life of five to seven hours, it takes your body anywhere between 10-14 hours to fully be rid of it. A cup or two of coffee in the morning will likely not affect your sleep at night (and let’s be honest: sometimes it’s the only way to make it through the aforementioned sleep deprivation), but think about giving yourself a cutoff mid-afternoon.

    While a good night’s sleep may seem like a distant memory, remind yourself that this won’t last forever. In the meantime, take care of yourself and rest when you can. Sleep does wonders in making you the parent, spouse, and friend you want to be.


    Pregnant? New parent or have small kids? Tired? Get tips and info on our special site for exhausted moms. 

    Ready to start sleeping better?

    momsneedsleep.com exhausted moms

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  6. How to Make Sleep a Family Priority
  7. How to Make Sleep a Family Priority


    Families share everything. From their genes down to their sense of humor, children take their cues from their parents. But there’s one personal trait that we may not realize is affecting our families. You guessed it—our sleep habits.

    In order for your household to function at its best, sleep has to become a family priority. Let’s talk about the importance of sleep for your family and discuss how you can improve it for everyone.

    How much sleep should everyone be getting?

    For adults, the recommended amount of nightly sleep is seven to nine hours. For children, it depends on their stage of development. Here’s a breakdown of the number of hours of sleep required per day, including naps:

    • Infants 4 months to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours
    • Children 1 to 2 years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours
    • Children 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours
    • Children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours
    • Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours
    • What happens when your family misses its sleep quota? 

    You know that not getting enough sleep will make you irritable, but one study suggests that sleep-deprivation causes adults to dole out harsher punishments.

    How to Make Sleep a Family Priority

    As for your kids? On top of the damage it does to their cognitive abilities and physical health, sleep-deprived children are cranky, more likely to behave badly, and often exhibit signs of hyperactivity and lack of focus (sleep deprivation is sometimes confused with ADHD in kids). Combine that with a tired parent’s short fuse and you have a recipe for more family feuds. By making a good night’s sleep a family initiative, you may be able to improve the emotional environment of your home.

    FOUR TIPS FOR A HEALTHY SLEEP ROUTINE

    1. Put the electronics to bed.

    The cues start with you. A survey by the National Sleep Foundation found that if a child’s parents slept with one or more electronic device on (e.g., smartphone, tablet) the child is more likely to do the same. The same survey found that both parents and kids sleeping with their devices exhibit poorer sleep quality than those who keep their devices off or out of the room.

    Pro tip: Set up a communal charging area in your home where you and your kids can plug in devices for the night. You’ll know they’re sleeping without their devices and getting better rest because of it.

    2. Eat dinner earlier.

    Young children take more time to digest their food. They need to eat at least two hours before bedtime to sleep well.

    3. Enforce your bedtime rules.

    Setting rules and sticking to them will make a big difference for everyone. Set a caffeine cutoff for 2 p.m., and set definite cut-off times for television, computers, and video games.

    4. Develop a consistent routine.

    Getting everyone to sleep at the appropriate time every night is a good start, but following a consistent bedtime routine signals to our brains that we’re going to sleep soon, allowing them to shut down even faster.

    How to Make Sleep a Family Priority

    Lay out clothes for the next day, brush teeth, and end the night with a wind-down activity such as reading together—which we recommend as both a great activity that’s been tied to academic performance and also as a relaxing activity to prepare the body for bed.

    As with everything else in your life as a parent, setting a good example of healthy sleep habits starts with you. It might be a challenge to reverse some bad habits (we recommend trying one new thing at a time) but the payoff is worth it. After all, healthier and happier families is something we can all get behind.


    Pregnant? New parent or have small kids? Tired? Get tips and info on our special site for exhausted moms. 

    Ready to start sleeping better?

    momsneedsleep.com exhausted moms

    Read more »
  8. 3 Parenting Tips for Creating Sleep Balance with Your Partner
  9. 3 Parenting Tips for Creating Sleep Balance with Your Partner


    Tell someone that you and your better half are expecting, and the first thing out of their mouth will be, “Congratulations!” The next will probably be, “Sleep while you can.”

    With newborns waking every two to three hours during their first three months, parents are coming up short on the seven to nine hours of nightly sleep recommended by the National Sleep Foundation. Sleep interruptions are the most severe with newborns, but can carry on in the following years as little ones navigate potty training, nightmares and the urge to climb in bed with their parents.

    For co-parenting couples, striking the right sleep balance with one another can be difficult, but it will be one of the most important things you can do for the sake of your child, your relationship, and your overall health. With that in mind, here are three tips to help parents strike a healthy sleep balance.

    3 parenting tips for creating sleep balance

    1. Divvy up the newborn night shift

    Many couples choose to put the responsibility of night feedings on one person’s shoulders, particularly if that individual is a stay-at-home parent or breastfeeding mom. But with most babies not sleeping through the night until the six-month marker or beyond, this can be extremely taxing.

    Studies have shown that sleep deprivation affects our abilities to interpret how our actions affect others and the other way around. So, unless we want to see our spouses become insensitive, socially-inept zombies, it’s probably best to split up the night.

    Approach night feedings with shifts. If one of you is naturally a night owl, let that person stay up later to tackle the first feeding while the other snoozes. Then swap so the night owl can sleep until morning. Another alternative is to switch on and off nightly, with one person getting a full night’s rest, while the other answers the baby.

    For breastfeeding mothers, these ideas may mean pumping ahead of time and getting your baby used to taking a bottle. No matter which method you choose, remember to be flexible with your routine, and acknowledge that from time to time, one of you may need to lean on the other for a little extra sleep.

    3 parenting tips for creating sleep balance

    2. Talk it out

    If your current sleeping setup isn’t working, make time to talk about it with your partner. Have the discussion when you’re both rested (more on that to come) and when you’re free from distractions (yes, your children count as distractions.) This will give you both a leg up in your abilities to listen and express yourselves.

    Resist the urge to frame the conversation around who does more on less sleep. Instead, explain the ways in which you’re struggling and ask for help. Odds are your partner has also been holding in strong feelings on this topic, so be ready to hear them out.

    Since parenting takes teamwork, try thinking of this conversation as reworking the playbook you and your teammate have been running. It’s not getting us the results we thought it would. How do we adjust so we can both feel like we’re winning?

    Lastly, be ready to have a conversation about sleep balance a few times over the course of your child’s life. Your kiddo’s sleep schedule will continue evolving as they grow. Keep the lines of communication open with your partner and you’ll both sleep happier.

    3 parenting tips for creating sleep balance

    3. Sleep more. Bicker less.

    Yet another motivation for striking a sleep balance, studies have shown that lack of sleep leads to more frequent and severe conflicts among couples. When you and/or your better half aren’t getting enough sleep, you’re more likely to bicker and have a harder time resolving the issues.

    If something’s bothering you, sleep on it and say your piece after getting some shut-eye.

    Bonus tip: Take turns sleeping in or napping on weekends.

    It may sound like a no-brainer, but Saturday and Sunday are the only days of the week where one of you can catch up on sleep while the other watches the kids. Try alternating weekends, or have one of you take Saturdays, while the other gets every Sunday.

    There’s no one-size-fits-all for sleep-deprived parents, but we hope these tips have given you some new ideas to try or inspired you to have a conversation about sleep balance with your partner. Just remember: you both deserve empathy, and you both deserve a good night’s sleep!

    Pregnant? New parent or have small kids? Tired? Get tips and info on our special site for exhausted moms. 

    Ready to start sleeping better?


    momsneedsleep.com exhausted moms



    Read more »
  10. The Split King Guide to a Better Relationship
  11. The Split King Guide to a Better Relationship


    He said, she said. Venus, Mars. The battle of the sexes isn’t limited to waking hours. When you don’t get your way in terms of sleep, it usually means less sleep. Which leads to to more crankiness. And then all bets are off, grrr.

    How do both of you happily coexist in the same bed? If you sleep differently, the answer could be a split king adjustable bed. A Split King has two twin-size mattresses that can be raised and lowered separately on top of one king-size adjustable base.

    Here’s our handy guide to some of the top bedtime relationship issues a Split King could help resolve.

    He snores, she doesn’t.

    44% of all men are habitual snorers. Thankfully, Split King adjustable power bases have one of the greatest features ever developed for womankind:  the Anti-Snore position. Raise the head of his side of the bed, and usually that locomotive roar will subside. Settle flat on the other side of bed and, ahhhh. Can you say #bliss? 

    She needs to check emails, he wants lights out.

    Even though we strongly advise against it, we know many of you work in bed, arrgh. If you must, at least allow the saner partner some peace. You can dash off some late-night emails with a fully raised head and support under your knees to hold that laptop or tablet. Meanwhile, your partner can adjust to whatever sleep position works best, perhaps lying flat on his side. He can avoid all that bad blue-screen light and enjoy all that sleep you should be getting, hint, hint. 

    He sleeps one way, she sleeps another.

    Side and back sleepers often enjoy a little elevation. Stomach sleepers, not so much – flat is best. In an adjustable bed, to each his or her own. No need to compromise. There are also different positions that help alleviate pain and allergies. If you have a sore back, you can sleep in Zero Gravity position, while he fights his allergies with a raised head. Or if you’re pregnant, you can sleep flat on your side, while he nurses that ankle sprain with elevated feet. 

    She sleeps like a nomad; he sleeps like a rock.

    If one of you moves a lot while sleeping, it doesn’t have to disturb the other’s sleep. The small divide in the Split King keeps your partner from rocking your world in ways that you do not appreciate. It’s like hanging a Do Not Disturb sign on your side of the bed.

    The infinite number of positions achievable in a split adjustable king can also help to alleviate many medical conditions like restless legs and keep both partners sleeping comfortably. 

    He gets up early, she sleeps in late.

    Many power foundations have programmable massage features or raise-to-wake alarms. If the adjustable base is well-designed, you can enjoy either feature (or both) without the vibrations or moving parts disturbing your partner. Some also have nightlights under the bed, allowing you to hit the bathroom or even make a late-night fridge run without disturbing your partner. How considerate! 

    She’s cold, he’s a furnace.

    Or vice versa. For many couples, it’s not a matter of fighting for the blankets, it’s fighting off the blankets as well. With a Split King, one of you can pile on extra twin blankets on your side of the bed, the other can forgo blankets altogether and sleep with a lightweight organic cotton sheet.

    One caveat: if you’re a maximal cuddler, a Split King has a very small gap between the two mattresses which some people find less comfortable. If that’s the case, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons, i.e., cuddling versus crankiness. The gender gap can be further accommodated with a mattress that can be customized in firmness on both sides for each of you.

    All in all, a Split King has some big advantages that can promote harmony, increase the amount of restful sleep you both get and work well for most couples. We wish you luck bridging the divide and sleeping happily ever after. For our obsessive explanation of what a Split King base is, click here.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  12. Summer Vacation. A Sleep Guide for Kids.
  13. Summer Vacation. A Sleep Guide for Kids.


    As kids, we were excited about summer vacation. No school. No homework. Just relaxing and fun for three months. Fast-forward to you being the parent; summer vacation is not as exciting. Without school, what are your kids going to do all day? Sleep the days away and stay up all night? Without the structure of school, your kids’ sleep schedules can be completely nonexistent during the summer months unless you seize control. Our summer vacation sleep guide for kids can help. Below you'll find some ways to keep kids on a sleep schedule while still allowing them to enjoy their vacation.

    Set a summer bedtime.

    Because kids don’t have anywhere they need to be every day, they would stay up all night if they could. But just like during the school year, kids need a bedtime. Set a summer bedtime and a wake-up time, too. It is okay to let your kids go to bed later and sleep in a little, but within reason. Setting these times is a way to make sure they don't stay up all night and sleep their days away.

    Every parent knows that kids somehow tend to have so much energy come bedtime. To help them get to sleep, give them a late-night snack that promotes sleep. Foods like cherries, strawberries, tomatoes, and milk contain melatonin, which is what the body naturally releases when it is tired. Assisting the body into its natural state while sleeping can help your kids fall asleep faster.

    Keep them active during summer vacation.

    Help them sleep by getting them involved in summer activities. There are camps that will keep the kids active during the day – great for them and handy if you work outside the home. Also, you can send them to a summer camp that focuses on a specific activity, like a sport or performing arts; ask your friends on FB for some reccos. Summer camps usually have the schedule and structure that is similar to a school schedule. Keeping your kids busy and active during the day can tire them out, so they are wanting to go to bed at night and can wake energized.

    Muggy nights. The enemy of sleep.

    While getting ready for sleep, the body releases melatonin and the body temperature decreases; making the bedroom cool can help the body cool off faster. Sleeping in a cool room during the summer months can be a challenge, depending on where you live. Running your air conditioner all night is not your only option. Because the temperature drops at night, opening a window to get a nice breeze can be all they need. You can also use a fan on low to circulate the cooler air around the room. Between 60° and 68° is an ideal temperature range for sleeping.

    Traveling with kids. Oh, the joy.

    Traveling tends to mess up everyone’s sleep schedule, especially when traveling to a different time zone. To help kids cope better, try keeping their naps and bedtimes the same as if they were at home. This may help avoid the possibility of having a whiny, tired child because they didn’t get enough sleep. You can bring something that your child sleeps with at home, like a stuffed animal or blanket, which can make sleeping more comfortable for them. Also, plan your summer vacation travel times so that you're in the car (or on the plane) during naps and bedtimes, which can make traveling with a child easier and quieter.

    Limit sleepovers.

    Summer vacation can also bring an increase in sleepover invites. Sleepovers can be one parent’s night off, but another parent’s nightmare. Sleepovers usually mean all-nighters, never-ending sweets, and cranky kids afterward. If you are the hosting family, set rules for things like last call for snacks and bedtime. Making the kids go to bed and cutting off sweets can lessen the chance of all the parents having sleep-deprived children to deal with for the next few days. If you are the parents with the night off, you should prepare for a sleep-deprived child the next day. Try foregoing sweets the day afterward, because chances are your child overloaded on sugar during the sleepover. Also, allow a short nap, if necessary, and then get them to bed at the normal time. The sooner you can get your child back on schedule, the more you could shorten your time dealing with an ornery child.

    Back to school.

    About two to three weeks before school starts in the fall, begin adjusting the bedtime to allow for a full night’s rest with the designated wake-up time during the academic year. Every day, move their bedtime up by 15 minutes until you have reached your goal time. This slow transition will make getting up earlier easier for them and you.

    When it's summer, sleep is usually the first thing everyone foregoes to fit in as much fun as possible. We hope that these suggestions will make sure that your kids have the energy to enjoy every minute of their summer vacation and also to help you cope.

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  14. Sleeping with a Newborn Baby: An Ob/Gyn Gives Advice
  15. Sleeping with a Newborn Baby: An Ob/Gyn Gives Advice


    By Dr. Amelia Bailey, Ob/Gyn

    Congratulations, and welcome to motherhood for the first, second, or greater time. It is the hardest job you will ever have but it comes with the greatest benefits package. For me, the most difficult part of the newborn period is sleep deprivation. My daughter needed to nurse every 2-3 hours for one week, and every feeding felt like an eternity. My husband is very helpful, but he needed sleep once he went back to work. And even though there were very special bonding moments with my little girl during the night, it still felt very lonely being the only person up multiple times while extremely fatigued and hormonal. I know you have been there, too, my friend! So, what can we do to maximize sleep time and to make the most of the little sleep we can get? Here are my favorite tips for sleeping with a newborn baby, all of which I have been using since the birth of my second child just a few months ago.

    sleeping with a newborn baby

    Sleep When You Can

    Everyone says it, and it sounds so easy to sleep while your baby sleeps. But it’s hard! You have bottles and/or burp cloths to wash, visitors to entertain, and a precious bundle to stare at for hours and hours. All of these threaten to rob the much-needed sleep of a new mom. First, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Have family or friends come to hold the baby, change diapers and/or do household chores while you take a nap. If you do not have people who will help in this way, and you can afford it, go ahead and hire someone. Many night nurses or postpartum doulas will come to your home to help during the newborn period. And it doesn’t have to be for a long time, either. We hired someone to help for several nights around week 6 when my exhaustion and my baby’s crying were at their peak. These people are angels in disguise. If you don’t feel comfortable with help overnight, hire someone to assist during the day so you can nap. Sleep is a necessity after having a baby, not an option. You’ll be better able to function after some rest.

    Sleep Well

    Once you’re able to sneak away, make sure your sleeping environment is perfect. Hang blackout curtains, use a noise machine and wear comfortable pajamas. You can finally enjoy sleeping on your back again! If you had a c-section, keep an extra pillow in the bed so you can place it over your abdomen as a brace when you cough, laugh, or sneeze. An adjustable bed is amazing for post-C-section recovery because it raises you into a sitting position (for nursing or getting into and out of bed) preventing you from overworking your abdominal muscles until recovery is well underway. The adjustability of a bed is also helpful after a vaginal delivery, especially if you had tears since you can find the sitting angle at which there is minimal vaginal pain.

    Another tip: set yourself up for success by having everything you need near your bed. On my bedside table, I had two pacifiers, two burp cloths, a nursing pillow with pocket that held gas drops and vitamin D (important to give babies that are exclusively breastfed). Other stuff on the table? My journal of my baby’s activity (I was so tired that I couldn’t remember which side I nursed on the last time), plus water and snacks for me. I also had a basket with all diaper changing supplies, because walking across the room to the changing pad was too much sometimes.

    Sleeping Babies

    A sleeping baby is a thing of beauty. They need the same things we do to rest: a dark and quiet room at a comfortable temperature. Babies also need a bedtime routine, a nonverbal way of telling them that it’s time to settle down. Our routine was going into the bedroom, turning on the noise machine, swaddling, turning off the lights, and rocking for 5-10 minutes until she showed signs of sleepiness (yawning, closing her eyes, breathing slowing down a bit). Then I placed her in a co-sleeper and patted her leg until she was nearly asleep. There are plenty of variations on this theme; find what works for you and your baby, because you will be doing it multiple times a day for several months.

    You get to decide where your baby sleeps. Recent recommendations say that sleeping in a separate area (bassinet, co-sleeper, crib) in the same room as parents is best. However, that must be balanced with your ability to rest. My babies were both very noisy sleepers. As long as they were in the room, I could not sleep, which was not safe for me or them. So, they slept in a co-sleeper in my attached bathroom. I was near enough to hear a cry or cough but far enough away to not hear every grunt and sigh. This is a very personal decision that you should make with input from your pediatrician.

    Mommy Guilt

    A special word for all moms: let the mommy guilt go. Whether it be about breastfeeding,sleeping in the same room, asking someone else to care for your baby, or balancing this baby with other children–just do your best, then move on! This is a beautiful time but also a tough time, and it will pass quickly. Take a deep breath, get rest when you can, and try to savor the quiet moments with your newborn. If you are feeling overwhelmed or depressed, seek help immediately; you can’t and shouldn’t deal with these emotions alone. As one of my favorite people used to say to me, and this is advice definitely worth taking: be kind to yourself.

    Pregnant? New parent or have small kids? Tired? Get tips and info on our special site for exhausted moms. 

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    AmeliaBailey

    Dr. Bailey is an ObGyn and a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist. She treats patients who are having difficulty conceiving or who have complicated gynecologic conditions, following women throughout early pregnancy. Her expertise in sleep and women’s health, including pregnancy, stem from professional as well as personal interests. As a mother of both a newborn and a toddler, she knows how important it is to get a good night’s rest. She has used the Reverie Sleep System throughout both of her pregnancy and postpartum periods with excellent results.

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  16. Teeth Grinding: How to Escape the Grind of Bruxism
  17. Teeth Grinding: How to Escape the Grind of Bruxism


    We think of sleep as the most relaxed state our bodies can reach—and, for the most part, that’s true. Yet there are exceptions. One of the biggest ones is a phenomenon that is the epitome of non-relaxation. It’s characterized by tension and destruction that somehow slipped its way into the chilled-out world of sleep: bruxism.

    What Is Bruxism?

    If you’ve never heard of bruxism, you’ve likely heard of its more common name, teeth grinding. The condition, however, refers to not only grinding but also unconscious gnashing and clenching of the teeth (oh, the drama!). Doing this in your sleep (sleep bruxism) is considered a sleep-related movement disorder, a class of conditions that occur near or during sleep and affect the quality of your shut-eye.

    Nighttime bruxism, which afflicts 8% of adults, can also have repercussions on your waking life. It can lead to tension headaches, damaged teeth, disorders in the tempromandibular joints (TMJs), and receding gum lines. Not to mention all the side effects that come with inadequate sleep. When it’s severe enough, the sound of grinding can also create sleep issues for your partner. Not exactly a soothing lullaby.

    There’s evidence that those with nighttime bruxism grind their teeth during periodic arousals of the cardiac and respiratory systems during sleep. These arousals trigger increased muscle activity (in this case, in the jaw) and can happen up to 15 times a night. What makes someone more prone to this is a complicated question.

    What Causes Bruxism?

    There’s not a general consensus, but the cause is likely different from person to person. Possible causes of nighttime bruxism include abnormal tooth alignment; acid reflux into the esophagus; and use of certain anti-depressants or stimulants like coffee, alcohol, tobacco, and some illegal drugs.

    Research also suggests that those with other sleep disorders like sleep apnea or snoring are more likely to suffer from teeth grinding. In fact, one study showed that sleep apnea is the highest risk factor for bruxism in the general population.

    However, the most common cause—to which about 70% of bruxism cases can be attributed— is anxiety and stress. When daily stressors are not addressed head on, the body still needs to process that emotional strain. Think about your body’s reaction when something upsetting or stressful happens: you tense up, perhaps clenching your jaw and pressing your teeth together. Those with bruxism experience this while they’re asleep, as a response to concerns that go unaddressed while awake.

    How Do I Know If I Have It?

    Self-diagnosing bruxism can be tricky, since you’re asleep when it happens. However, here are some signs that indicate it could be an issue:

    • Flattened, fractured, or chipped teeth
    • Tooth sensitivity
    • Pain, fatigue, or soreness in the jaw
    • Headache, especially in the temples
    • Earache
    • Insomnia
    • Anxiety
    • Your partner notices the sound of grinding or clenching.

    How Do I Treat My Bruxism?

    If you think you are might have bruxism, your first step should be to make an appointment with your dentist or doctor. Explain the symptoms you’ve been experiencing and anything in your life you think could be relevant (new stressors, a change in sleep patterns).

    In many cases, your dentist will recommend a mouth guard to keep your teeth separated at night (with the added bonus of reducing any cringe-inducing sounds for your partner). There are a number of different mouth guards to choose from, but most dentists will recommend the hard, custom-fit guard, since it’s both smaller and more effective at preventing grinding.

    If you have an associated sleep disorder, your teeth grinding will likely improve after you address the other issue. In one study, those suffering from bruxism and sleep apnea saw an improvement in both conditions when only the latter was treated.

    For almost every case of nighttime bruxism, however, stress management is a smart idea. Good sleep hygiene, meditation, and more proactive ways of dealing with life’s stresses can be enough to treat bruxism without any medical intervention. Plus it has the added bonus of making your days more enjoyable as well. So take some time to relax during your days. You and your partner are likely to escape the grind and enjoy more restful nights.

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