The Dream Team: Exercise and Sleep
  1. The Dream Team: Exercise and Sleep


    Whether it’s time spent sweating in the gym, or time spent chasing the kids around the house, you probably get at least a little exercise in every day. While you’ve probably heard a plethora of reasons why you should be exercising daily, you may not know that it’s also really great for your sleep. Here are a few reasons why, and some tips on how you can make the best use of your exercise to get an awesome night’s sleep (and vice versa!).

    The vigorous cycle

    Research shows that when you exercise, you sleep longer and feel more rested upon waking. Even those who get a light amount of exercise report getting more high-quality sleep than those who get no exercise. Getting the right amount of sleep, in turn, gives you greater energy the next day, giving you the ability to exercise to your full potential. When you get consistent exercise and great sleep, you are starting up an invigorating cycle that will only result in greater improvements to your health.

    For those who include a more intense workout in their weekly routine, sleep also helps with muscle recovery. During sleep, there is a surge of growth hormones which help to repair muscle tissues (among many other parts of your body), allowing you to bounce back faster and be ready for exercise the next day. When you miss out on sleep, your body is missing out on much-needed repairs.


    The Dream Team: Exercise and Sleep


    Sleep, exercise, and aging

    Need more proof that these two heavyweights of health work hand in hand? We can take a look even deeper, down at the genetic level. The spirals of your individual packets of DNA are capped with telomeres that keep the strands from “fraying” and breaking down. Getting less sleep than you need or getting poor quality sleep causes these telomeres to weaken.

    Sleep scientist Matthew Walker in his book Why We Sleep tells us that this damaging of the telomeres from sleep deprivation appears to correspond with the aging of our bodies at an accelerated rate compared to our actual chronological ages. Exercise, on the other hand, has been found to do the opposite.

    In a recent study, it was shown that consistent exercise keeps telomeres strong and intact, keeping your body biologically younger than your non-exercising peers—up to nine years younger in fact. If you’ve ever encountered an active older adult who’s kept up an impressive workout routine throughout their life, this finding may not come as much of a surprise.

    The main takeaway? Whether you make daily exercise a high priority and let good sleep fall by the wayside, or you luxuriate in great sleep but give up on exercising—ignoring one and excelling at the other means that you’re not reaping the full benefits for your health.

    Sleep and exercise tips

    Looking to establish a good routine? To make the most of exercise’s impact on your sleep, it’s all about timing:

    • Don’t exercise right before bed, as this will raise your temperature, and a higher body temperature before bed prevents the onset of sleep.

    • If you must exercise in the afternoon or evening, try to schedule it in two or three hours before your bedtime.

    • The most ideal time to hit the gym is in the morning, as this will provide you with energy to begin the day. If you can get outdoors and soak up some sun, even better, as this will help to regulate your circadian rhythm and help you to have more alert mornings and an easier time falling asleep at night.

    Conclusion

    If exercise has not exactly been your “thing”, getting great sleep may just give you the burst of energy you’ve been needing to hit the gym in the morning. And, if you’re a superstar exerciser but you only sleep a wink, improving the quality of your sleep can give you the extra few reps you might be missing.

    It’s clear then that, even on the genetic level, sleep and exercise are meant to work together, as excelling in one while ignoring the other will cancel out many positive effects. All of this serves as just another reminder to us that, when it comes to your body’s efforts to keep you healthy, sleep is the ultimate team player.


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  2. The Unstoppable Power of a Good Night's Sleep
  3. The Unstoppable Power of a Good Night's Sleep


    The impact of sleep

    Let’s be honest: when was the last time you woke up without an alarm clock and felt awesome? And when was the last time you made it through a whole day without feeling groggy and underslept (or without being alarmingly over-caffeinated)?

    1 in 3 American adults report that they are not getting enough sleep, and as it turns out, when we don't sleep, it’s really bad for us. Sleeping less than six or seven hours a night wreaks havoc on all aspects of our wellness. Carried out over a long period of time, these negative effects are only compounded.

    When you are sleep deprived, you: 

    These are only a few of the detrimental effects of losing out on sleep. The good news, though, is that when you get consistent quality sleep, you protect yourself from this damage, and you also reap the amazing, life-changing benefits of sleep. What do these look like? Well, for starters, getting great sleep:

    The awesome thing about sleep is that it really and truly enhances every organ and function studied to date: there has yet to be a part of our physiology that has not been found to benefit from quality sleep.


    The Unstoppable Power of a Good Night's Sleep


    Cover all your bases

    If getting great sleep always seems to be just out of reach for you, you should make sure that you’re maintaining good sleep hygiene, which simply means taking steps to protect yourself from losing sleep. Here’s the list from the NIH with tips to help you get your best sleep:

    1. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule.

    2. Exercise is great for sleep, but don’t do it too late in the day, as this can prevent you from falling asleep.

    3. Avoid caffeine and nicotine.

    4. Avoid alcoholic drinks close to bedtime.

    5. Avoid large beverages and meals late at night.

    6. Don’t take naps after 3 p.m.

    7. Relax before bed.

    8. Take a hot bath before bed.

    9. Keep your bedroom cool, completely dark, and free of any screens such as phones, TVs, tablets, etc.

    10. Get the right sunlight exposure, as this will help regulate your sleeping pattern.

    11. Don’t lie in bed awake. If sleep doesn’t come on after lying in bed for more than 30 minutes, or you start to feel anxious or stressed, get up and do a relaxing activity in a different room, and head back to bed once you feel tired.

    The mighty slumber

    Sleep is infinitely more complex, profoundly more interesting, and alarmingly more relevant to our health and wellness than we could've ever predicted even a hundred years ago—and we are always learning more about it. Many health professionals are calling sleep the single-most beneficial thing we can do for preventative care. There is just nothing out there that can claim to do for your body all the things that sleep can do. Make sure to take advantage of this wonderful remedy tonight!

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  4. How Screens Keep You Wired
  5. How Screens Keep You Wired


    A quick prediction: tonight, you will get into your PJs, shut off the bedroom light, snuggle beneath the blankets, and pull out your phone just one more time for the day so you can see what your friends have been up to, check up on the news, or just scroll through your feed and laugh at something funny. Eerily accurate (or at least pretty close), right?

    No crystal ball needed! Chances are, if it’s not your phone, it’s a tablet, or a television, or maybe even an e-reader; an overwhelming majority of people today, of all ages, just love to see a screen before sleep. Just like electric lighting and the alarm clock, our entertainment and communication devices provide us with much-needed innovation and increased adaptability, while, at the same time, creating another barrier between us and getting our best sleep.

    Yes, we’re sure you’ve heard it before: screens are no good for sleep. But, we’d like to tell you exactly why, and we also want to let you know some changes you can start making tonight that will improve your sleep.

    Keeping you blue

    Melatonin is a hormone produced by our pineal gland, which is located just above the middle of our brain. Upon nightfall, the pineal gland begins actively producing melatonin, which is the signal that lets your body know to begin the sleep process. It’s at this point that you begin to feel less alert and a little drowsy, as sleep is beckoning. When daylight returns, melatonin levels are diminished, lending melatonin its nickname “the vampire hormone”.

    Blue LED lights, found in most of our favorite screens, emit the same type of light as daylight, causing cutbacks in the production of melatonin—no matter what time of day it is. Melatonin is essentially your body’s hand-delivered invitation to get some shut-eye, and spending time in front of screens before bed means sending your regrets. Without a build-up in melatonin, you’ll remain too alert to drift easily into sleep.


    How Screens Keep You Wired


    Under the influence

    While the blue light hits us at a physiological level, the content of our screens hits us at a mental level. You might lay in bed to relax and scroll through Facebook at ten p.m., and find that you’re not actually shutting down until eleven-thirty or midnight, because your active brain is pushing you to reload the feed one more time, to just check one more post.

    As we get ready for bed, it’s ideal to turn off our screens and go through a sort of mental deceleration as your brain waves go from erratic stimulation to the soothing waves of sleep. Whether it’s doing some relaxing yoga or just reading a chapter from a good ol’ paper book, establishing a habit of calm, screen-free activity before bed will help your body ease more readily into sleep.

    Where to start

    When we look at screens so close to bed, it revs up the engines on our brains instead of downshifting them—pushing us away from sleep in a double whammy of light and stimulation. Ideally, after learning this, you’re going to keep all screens out of your bedroom….right?

    No matter how hard you try (OK, so maybe you don’t actually try that hard), you can’t seem to separate screens from your bedroom. What’s a person to do? Start with these gradual adjustments:

    • Dim and de-blue the lights by turning your phone to night shift.

    • Enable “Do not disturb” at night.

    • When you’re settling in for the night, charge your phone away from your bed, to help you resist the temptation.

    We never said it was going to be easy—but the thing to remember is that when you set your phone down and take the time to treasure your sleep, you’re cultivating resilient good health that recharges your batteries for the days and decades ahead.

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  6. Bedtime Consistency: The Cure For Monday Mornings
  7. Bedtime Consistency: The Cure For Monday Mornings


    Picture this: You fly from New York to Los Angeles on Friday night and start adjusting to Pacific time. On Sunday night, you catch a red eye and abruptly fly back to the east coast: where waking up at 7 a.m. for a Monday morning meeting feels like 4 a.m. to your body. Sounds miserable, doesn’t it?

    Well, if you’re like a lot of people, this is exactly what your body is being put through every time you stay up late on the weekends and then try to adjust to a 9-to-5 schedule on Monday. This concept is called “social jetlag” because it’s often a result of socializing on the weekends, and the impacts of chronic fatigue and drowsiness very closely resemble jetlag.

    Our bodies crave consistency, and so they’ll try to establish a solid pattern sometimes even when we ourselves can’t stick to one. This is why it’s rough getting up early on Mondays (and probably not much easier Tuesdays and Wednesdays)—because your body got used to sleeping in till ten or eleven a.m. over the weekend after a night spent up until midnight or one a.m.

    The time that you go to bed is one of the few things solidly within your control when it comes to the factors of getting good sleep, and, as it turns out, it’s also one of the most powerful ways to improve your sleep hygiene. If you’re tired of being tired, here are a few tips to bring some consistency to your sleep:

            1. Set a bedtime alarm.

    You already set an alarm to help you wake up, but you could probably use a good reminder of when to hit the hay, too. A good step toward stellar sleep hygiene is setting aside time in your schedule for sleep. The idea is to set a cutoff point between the busyness of your day and the time you take to unwind before sleep. Use a bedtime alarm set for an hour before bed to help you start this habit.

            2. Find a sleep schedule that works for weekdays and weekends.

    Ideally, you’ll wake up within a half hour range whether it’s Monday morning or Saturday morning. This may take some getting used to at first, as you’re probably used to gorging on sleep come the weekend, but it is definitely worth it, if only because it will make your Monday mornings go so much smoother.

           3. Wanting to get to bed earlier? Do so slowly.

    It takes more time to pull our circadian rhythm back earlier in the day than later at night. This is why it’s easier flying West than flying East across time zones. Laying down to sleep much earlier than your body is used to and just trying to force it on the first day is about as effective as someone telling you to relax. Your body will need some time to get used to it.

    Bedtime Consistency: The Cure For Monday Mornings

    Conclusion

    Just as it is with a good friend, your dependability is treasured by your body. Regardless of whether or not you look like a buffoon while dancing, your body loves consistency and rhythm. The more you stick to a consistent schedule, the less time you’ll spend tossing and turning at night, and the easier you’ll find your mornings.


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  8. Mental Deceleration: Downtime Before Bedtime
  9. Mental Deceleration: Downtime Before Bedtime


    If you’re like many people, your busy life probably keeps you going until you hit the pillow. And if you are like many people, your head hitting the pillow doesn’t mean your mind stops racing—in fact, often the opposite is true. Somehow the moment you decide to get some rest, you recall that you forgot to make lunches for the kids, and Christmas is coming up fast, and you have got to put new tile down in the kitchen, and you should probably figure out retirement right now before it gets too late…

    If this describes you, what’s probably missing from your busy life is a moment of mental deceleration before bed. You wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) finish up vigorous exercise without a good cool down, right? The same principle is working in mental deceleration. Your mind needs some time to calm down from all the stimulation of the day before it settles in to the tranquil waves of sleep.


    Mental Deceleration: Downtime Before Bedtime


    Unlimited unwinding

    Sounds great, right? But what sort of activities can help you relax? Obviously that will come down to your preference, but here are just a few of the endless possibilities:

    • Listening to calming music or tuning in to a podcast (again, ideally a rather tame one).

    • Reading a chapter of a book, or a short story (make sure not to leave the light on too close to bedtime!).

    • Brew some herbal tea. Chamomile is a great option that’ll help you prep for sleep.

    • Luxuriate in a warm bath. Baths have the added benefit of raising your blood vessels closer to the surface of your skin (where they’re better exposed to the air), allowing for a post-bath body-cooling effect to set the stage for deep sleep.

    • Journaling about the day now behind you, which is shown to have proven positive effects for you mentally in addition to helping you wind down.

    • Trying meditation. While meditating might seem a little “out there” to some, it really can be something as simple as focusing on calm breathing. Meditation increases “feel good” hormones, lowers stress hormones, and reduces inflammation in the body.

    You want to make sure that whatever activity you do end up choosing, you try to keep it screen-free. The daylight-mimicking blue light found in most of our screens puts a serious damper on the release of melatonin which your body craves for sleep.


    Protecting your bedtime

    The most important aspect of mental deceleration is that you make sure you have some transition time between the busyness of your daily life and the calm sanctuary that should be your bedtime. This will help not only to settle your brain, but it also treats your brain to much-needed consistency and much-beloved rhythm. Keeping up the habit of mental deceleration will help your body to better know that it’s time for sleep, and bring some welcome peace to your life as well.


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  10. The Buzz About Caffeine
  11. The Buzz About Caffeine


    To many of us, caffeine is like a superhero—swooping in to save us from the drowsy morning or mid-day slump and carrying us through the rest of the day. What we tend to forget in all of our appreciation of the trusty caffeine buzz is that it is a stimulant drug—and a very powerful one at that. While this substance does an awesome job of pumping us up mid-afternoon, it has terrible effects on our sleep later on. But wait!—before you close this page, grab your grande and run, let us tell you why and how you can drink coffee while still protecting your sleep.

    Stubborn caffeine

    Caffeine sticks around in your system for a while. Caffeine has a half-life of roughly five to six hours. What does that mean for you? Say you drink a grande coffee at 4 p.m. (clocking an impressive 300 mg of caffeine), then fast forward to 10 p.m. and you still have more caffeine in your system than if you had downed an energy drink. This is problematic when it comes to trying to fall asleep.

    Even if you’re somehow able to fall asleep with caffeine still kicking around in your system, you risk the chance of losing out on restorative deep sleep and decreasing your total sleep time by up to an hour. And the last thing you need is to be getting less sleep!

    The Buzz About Caffeine


    Holding back sleep

    A chemical compound called adenosine is responsible for creating “sleep pressure” in our brains. It works along with our circadian rhythms, it builds all day while we’re awake, and then releases at night while we sleep. When the pressure builds enough, that’s a signal to our body that we’re tired.

    Caffeine tricks your body into thinking that it’s not tired by creating a barrier between your brain and the building adenosine. Sleep scientist Matthew Walker in his book Why We Sleep explains: “...caffeine blocks and effectively inactivates…[adenosine] receptors, acting as a masking agent”. He describes it as similar to “sticking your fingers in your ears to shut out a sound”.

    All the while, sleep pressure builds up behind this dam of caffeine, and when the dam finally wears down hours later, the big wave of sleep pressure comes in all at once. This process is problematic for people drinking caffeine late in the day, because the dam stays strong long into the night, keeping you from the sleep pressure that aids your brain in initiating sleep.

    Last call for coffee

    As promised, the sleep-smart way to get your coffee: commit to a strict cutoff time of 2 p.m. for any caffeinated beverages, in order to give yourself plenty of time for the caffeine to wear off before bedtime. So this means you’re good to get your dose of caffeine in the morning if you need a quick perk-up—that’s what caffeine is for anyways, right? However, if you find yourself relying on caffeine to get you through every morning, you may want to examine the quality of the sleep you’re getting every night. After all, the best all-natural way to ensure happy, alert mornings will always be a great night’s sleep!

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  12. Up all night? Expert tips to help your newborn sleep.
  13. Up all night? Expert tips to help your newborn sleep.


    By Dr. Amelia Bailey, Ob/Gyn

    We teach our children how to do everything: eat, talk, play.  But do we remember to teach our children to sleep? That’s right ... sleep, while a natural part of our biorhythms, is still a behavior that needs to be cultivated.  Here are a few ways to ingrain this important skill starting from the time they're an infant.

    Start young.

    As soon as your baby is born, he desires a schedule.  Early on, that timetable is most closely attuned to feeding intervals; but sleep is a normal part of each full cycle of eating, interacting, and resting.  Granted, your little one may seem to fight you on this every step of the way. Remember that they are learning how to do every skill necessary for survival while becoming accustomed to multiple new stimuli.  Be flexible with the clock, but try to adhere to a predictable order in each cycle: feed, play, sleep, repeat. The amount of time taken to complete each cycle may fluctuate, but the pattern should be the same so your baby knows what she is expected to do next.  It is one of your first forms of communication with her.

    Up all night expert tips to help your newborn sleep

    Have a wind-down routine.

    Your body takes time to go from “full steam ahead” to “sleep” mode, and your baby’s body is no different.  Establish a set of steps that takes about fifteen minutes and signals to your newborn that sleepy time is nearing. There isn’t one right routine, so you may want to experiment a little at first. 

    What might a routine look like?

    At my house, I would give the baby a bottle at 6:30pm while we snuggle, then close the blackout curtains, turn on the sound machine, change her diaper, put on pajamas, and talk for a few minutes before setting her into her crib with her pacifier around 6:50pm.  She usually fell asleep by 7:00pm. Over this time, she had received non-verbal clues (physical, auditory, and visual) that it was her bedtime. Your child may need more cues or fewer, so tailor your evening routine to what works for your family. For example, your infant may fall asleep after a bath and massage with lotion whereas mine did not. You are the parent. You will learn your baby’s preferences quickly.

    Up all night expert tips to help your newborn sleep

    Be consistent.

    Once you establish a time and routine, stick to it.  Of course, illness and unforeseen circumstances will lead to occasional disruptions, but you are responsible for adhering to the schedule you set for newborn as frequently as possible. Type a document that you can easily update and print for other caregivers so they are prepared to follow the same rituals.  This will help your baby and the caregiver, both of whom want an easy night.

    Up all night expert tips to help your newborn sleep

    When to see a doctor?

    Certainly, if your baby cries like he is in pain when you lay him flat or has bouts of projectile vomiting, you should call your pediatrician for a gastrointestinal evaluation. A small percentage of babies have sleep disorders, so if you implement a routine and your baby still is sleeping poorly after a couple months, you may want to have her evaluated for that.

    Up all night expert tips to help your newborn sleep

    Sleep isn’t just for your baby.

    You need it too. Lack of sleep affects every area of health: intellectual, emotions, and physical well-being. For example, the immune system is less capable of fighting off infection when we are tired, which is certainly important if you have older children in school.  Create a relaxing place to rest in order to fall asleep faster and have more restorative sleep. A bed and pillow that support your body in any sleeping position as well as comfortable pajamas and bedding are essential. Top that off with a white noise machine and lavender sheet spray, and you are setting yourself up for success!

    Sometimes following these tips is hard. You want to snuggle longer, your little one does not want to go to bed yet, requiring you to put in more effort that night. Or activities and plans keep you out later than anticipated. That is okay. No one is a perfect parent; we are all just trying to do our best for our loved ones. Give your baby the gift of sleep, and your hard work will pay dividends.  Good luck!

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

    Ready to start sleeping better?

    moms need sleep

    Up all night expert tips to help your newborn sleep

    Dr. Amelia P. Bailey is a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility (REI) specialist in Memphis, Tennessee.  She is the Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery for her practice and an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.  She completed residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, where she served as Chief Resident, followed by a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.  While in Boston, she was a Clinical Instructor at Harvard Medical School and conducted joint research projects between Boston Children’s Hospital and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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



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  14. Why you need a power bed if you're a mom or mom-to-be
  15. Why you need a power bed if you're a mom or mom-to-be


    If you're pregnant or already a mom, you know that sleep is both the sweetest thing and the hardest thing to get at the same time. What if there was something that would help you get comfortable, something that would make your life a little easier every day and every night?

    You may have heard about power beds or adjustable bases before. Your grandma might have had one, and if so, you may be picturing an old clunky medical-looking device that sounds like a dying power drill when it moves. Well, it's like the power beds of old have aged backwards and got their braces off: today's models seamlessly blend into your Insta-worthy bedroom and are quiet when they move. They connect with your phone, some have massage, and they have life-enhancing, marriage-boosting positions like anti-snore. These aren't your grandma's power bases anymore. And let me tell you: they make every minute in bed more comfortable.

    Why you need a power bed if you're a mom or mom-to-be

    SIX POWER PERKS FOR PREGNANCY AND BEYOND

    Find comfort with unlimited adjustability.

    Pregnancy is nine months long. That's 275 nights and 2,190 long hours if you're trying to get comfortable. A power bed gives you individual degrees of customizability: it's like having a couch that can be turned into a chair, a chaise, or a lounger at the touch of a button. We recommend zero gravity (which raises your feet and head to induce weightlessness) for side sleeping.

    Give relief to your swollen feet.

    Sure, during the day you might be cramming your new sausage feet into the last pair of shoes that still fits, but at the end of the day, you just want sweet relief. Forget the tipsy stack of throw pillows: with a power bed you can easily elevate your feet with a power base to reduce the swelling.

    Why you need a power bed if you're a mom or mom-to-be

    Get the support you need after delivery.

    Your body is absolutely amazing—pregnancy is proof, but having a baby still does quite a number on a lot of areas down there. If you had a C-section, your body is recovering from both childbirth and a major surgery. In either instance, you can probably use all the help you can get. A power base gives remarkable support for your stomach and abs while getting in and out of bed for the umpteenth time.

    Feed your baby comfortably.

    Power beds turn your warm bed into a nursing chair in the middle of the night and make nursing or bottle feeding ten times easier. You can even get split or split-top mattress options so you can be feeding while your partner is still silently in anti-snore position next to you.

    Why you need a power bed if you're a mom or mom-to-be

    Experience stress-relieving massage.

    If there were ever a stage of life to get extra stress relief from long days, the early stages of motherhood would be a perfect time. Many power beds come with massage options that have proven circulation-enhancing benefits.

    Why you need a power bed if you're a mom or mom-to-be

    Have a bed that fits your lifestyle.

    You probably use your bed for more than just sleeping: it might be your living room for reading or watching your favorite show, it's a table for breakfast in bed, it's the best spot for snuggling with your partner and your growing family. Power beds make those sweet, normal, everyday moments a lot more comfortable.

    Being a mom is no easy feat, and power bases make it just a little bit easier. 

    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

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  16. Dads Need Sleep Too
  17. 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




    Read more »
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