You can't change your baby's round-the-clock schedule or stop a sick toddler from getting you up at 3am. But you can improve the quality of what little sleep you are getting in 10 easy steps.
1. Just say no: Say no to caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol in the late afternoon and evening. A cup of coffee or even tea in the afternoon can delay your dropping off even hours later. And more than a glass or two of wine or beer will make your sleep more restless at night. Bear in mind that caffeine is also found in chocolate, diet pills, medicines and many soft drinks.
2. Get some exercise: Exercising during the day may actually help you to sleep at night. But stop at least three hours before you go to bed, unless it is gentle stretching. You need to give your body a chance to unwind after an energetic workout.
3. Stay cool and quiet: Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature and block out light and noise, which can wake you from a light sleep. Most people sleep better in a cool room. If outside noise is a problem, consider getting relaxation music CDs. These can mask noise with soothing sounds, such as that of a waterfall, rain or ocean waves. Some women continue to listen to the garbha sanskar music they enjoyed during pregnancy. So choose whatever you find enjoyable and relaxing.
4. Grab a snooze: A snooze during the day can improve alertness, sharpen memory and generally reduce the symptoms of fatigue. You could time it for when your baby takes his naps. Keep in mind, however, that a snooze is between 15 minutes and 20 minutes. Sleeping for longer during the day could disrupt a good night's sleep.
5. Stick to a routine: Working parents often find themselves postponing bedtime to a later hour, so that they can have some time alone with their baby. Try to establish a regular bedtime routine for your baby and do the same for yourself. Putting your baby to bed at an earlier hour will also help you relax and give you some time with your husband and older children. An hour or so before bed, stop doing house chores or the work you've brought home from the office. You could unwind with a cup of warm milk or a nice long shower. You may find it relaxing to snuggle down with a good book before you turn out the light.
6. Don't try too hard: If you can't go to sleep after 30 minutes, don't stay in bed tossing and turning. Get up, go into another room, and listen to soothing music or read until you feel sleepy. You can't force yourself to fall asleep if you aren't ready.
7. Bed is for bedtime: Try and keep your bedroom a place where you go after all daily chores are done. If you are in the habit of watching TV in bed or using your bed as the family meeting place, stop! You should associate your bed only with bedtime activities. Try to clear your mind and don't use bedtime to solve your daily problems.
8. Steer clear of bad habits: When evening comes, if you find yourself falling asleep on the sofa in front of the TV, make yourself get into bed. Getting into the habit of sleeping anywhere but the bed can lead to sleep problems later on.
9. Eat light meals: Don't have a heavy or spicy meal close to bedtime. If you need a snack before going to bed choose a high-carbohydrate food. A handful of nuts, a banana, toast, or a small bowl of cereal or murmur e are healthy options. It may also promote sleep.
10. Jot away your cares: If racing thoughts are keeping you awake and anxious, keep a notepad by your bed. This way you have a place to unload your thoughts until the morning. If your husband is awake, try relieving your mind by speaking to him.