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Top 5 Tips For Coping With Sleep Deprivation

Top 5 Tips For Coping With Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation is inevitable for new mamas Parents of a newborn will lose anywhere between 400-750 hours sleep in the first year alone. 

Here’s my Top 5 Tips for Coping with Sleep Deprivation:

1. Guided Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra)

Don’t get put off by the name. Despite the word “yoga”, it’s as easy as lying on the floor or your bed and listening to a guided relaxation. Research suggests that a 20 minute Guided Deep Relaxation known as Yoga Nidra is equal to 3 hours sleep. During Yoga Nidra, your mind and body go into a state of deep relaxation unlike regular sleep so it’s the ultimate way to combat sleep deprivation. 

Yoga nidra is for everyone including beginners, pregnant women and new mamas. You don’t need any props, but you can use an eye pillow or eye mask, a blanket and earphones to make yourself comfortable. If you’re pregnant and in your third trimester, lie on your side with a pillow between your knees and under your head. 

Here’s How:

Begin by lying on your bed or the floor. Turn your phone onto “Do Not Disturb” so you won’t be interrupted by a call, text or alert. Choose a yoga nidra from YouTube (search for “postnatal yoga nidra”), put your headphones on, cover your body with a blanket and your eyes with an eye pillow or eye mask, close your eyes and enjoy. 

Best time to do it:

  • When your little one has a nap. 
  • If your partner is home, ask them to play with your little one(s) while you do it in your bedroom with the door closed and earphones in.
  • If you’re struggling to get through the afternoon and wondering how you’ll make it to bedtime, give your baby a toy or if they’re older let them watch an episode of Playschool while you do it nearby.
  • If you’re the passenger in the car on a long road trip.
  • If you get insomnia, do it before bed. It’ll help you fall asleep and improve the quality of your sleep.

Yoga Nidra for Mums

2. Legs Up The Wall (viparita karani)

If you don’t have time for yoga nidra, this is a good second best way to cope with sleep deprivation. As the name suggests, it’s as easy as elevating your legs. When your heart is lower than your feet it doesn’t have to pump as hard to return blood from the lower body. Your resting heart rate will fall and after 5 minutes you’ll feel relaxed and recharged. 

Legs Up The Wall is for everyone including beginners, pregnant women and new mamas. You don’t need a yoga mat- just a wall or a chair. If you’re pregnant and you feel light headed or breathless, stop. Instead sit on a chair or the couch and elevate your feet with a pile of cushions on the coffee table (great for getting rid of cankles).

Here’s How:

  • If you’re using a blanket and an eye pillow, have them close by. Sit on the floor with your right hip close to the wall. Using your hands to support you, lean back, swing your legs up onto the wall and slowly ease your shoulders and head down onto the floor.
  • If your hamstrings are tight, wriggle away from the wall and bend your knees a little so that your buttocks is on the floor.
  • Drape a blanket over your legs if you like.
  • Put your eye pillow or eye mask on and close your eyes. 
  • Rest your hands on your belly. After pregnancy, it’s soothing to reconnect with this area but also a reminder to breathe into your belly. 
  • Lay here for about 5 minutes (stay for longer if it feels good and your feet haven’t fallen asleep).

Best time to do it:

  • After your put your baby to bed.
  • Once your baby has good head control, sit your baby on your belly with their back against your legs (support them with your hands).
  • While you’re breastfeeding.
  • Before you go to sleep, lie on your bed and put your legs up the wall.

Legs Up The Wall

3. Gentle Stretching

After birth, the general rule in regards to returning to exercise is 6 weeks for a vaginal delivery and 8 weeks for a c- section. But gentle stretching isn’t in the same category as running or going back to the gym.

Birth, sitting for hours feeding your baby, walking with your baby in a carrier and lack of sleep can leave your lower back, hips, neck, shoulders and wrists very tight and sore. Gentle stretching can help to ease your pain and help you cope with sleep deprivation. 

Here’s How:

If your baby wants to be held, do my Baby Wearing Yoga sequence with your baby in a carrier or wrap HERE.

You can ease back into yoga when you feel ready. Yin Yoga will give you an incredible stretch and recharge your batteries. Going to a yoga class may not be possible, but doing a class online while your baby naps or with them playing alongside you is a good option. Check out Yoga Glo

Best time to do it:

  • While your baby is asleep in a carrier or wrap.
  • When your baby is napping.
  • Ask your partner, a friend or family member to look after your baby for an hour.
  • While your baby is asleep in the pram, walk to a park or the beach and stretch in the shade while you get some fresh air.
  • If your baby is awake, do yoga with them on a rug beside you while they soak up their surroundings. Check out my Baby Yoga sequences on my YouTube channel for some fun for them too.

Stretching for Mums

4. Essential Oils

Instead of reaching for coffee when you have a 3pm slump, use essential oils for an instant pick- me- up.

Here’s How:

Place a drop of peppermint, wild orange and frankincense in the palms of your hand, rub them together, close your eyes (otherwise the oils will sting your eyes) then cup your hands over your nose and inhale deeply. Then rub your hands on the back of your neck (wash your hands thoroughly before you pick up your baby). 

Best time to do it:

  • Whenever and wherever you need a pick- me- up. Carry them in your nappy bag so they’re always on hand.

 

To find out why I choose doTERRA essential oils and how to get your hands on them at wholesale prices, CLICK HERE

5. Ask for help

You know the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”? Well it also take a village to raise a mama. Filling your cup isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. In the first year of mamahood, this doesn’t mean going for a pedicure or buying a scented candle. It’s the small things that recharge your batteries so you can get up to your baby multiple times a night and still be a loving partner, sister and friend.

Have the courage to ask your partner, a friend or family member to take your baby for a walk while you have a shower and wash your hair, do a 20 minute yoga nidra, do some stretching or go for a walk. It’s not selfish, it’s a necessity. It might help if you think of it as a way for someone else to spend some quality time with your baby without you looking over their shoulder.

Postpartum Support

There’s always something to do as a mama; cleaning, washing, laundry, cooking etc. but it can wait. Use the small pockets of time throughout your day for self- care. Rather than scrolling facebook or instagram, do a yoga nidra or enjoy a hot cup of tea. Make YOU a priority.

If you’re pregnant, start building your village now. Create a postnatal plan and have a think about who you can call on for help.

Are you pregnant? Get your free Guided Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra). Fill in your details HERE and I’ll send it straight to your inbox for you to download.

I’d love to hear your comments and questions in the COMMENTS below.

Create a Feeding Sanctuary With These

Create a Feeding Sanctuary With These

Have you spent hours on Pinterest designing your baby’s nursery, choosing a pram and buying cute little baby outfits? Have you given much thought to creating a feeding sanctuary? A place where you can retreat to with your baby. A place where you’ll feed, rock and cuddle your baby, read, eat, watch netflix and perhaps fall asleep too.  

Here’s a few things you can use to design your Feeding Sanctuary:

FEEDING CHAIR

In the early days, you’ll spend a lot of time feeding and settling so make sure you have a comfy chair in your Feeding Sanctuary.

I love my Ollie Ella Mo- Ma Glider with the ottoman that glides in synch and the lumbar pillow to support your lower back. It takes the effort out of rocking your baby to sleep.

A feeding chair is a good investment as you can use it for subsequent children, as a reading chair or sell it on Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace (they have really good resale value). 

Create your Feeding Sanctuary where you think you’ll spend most of your time with your baby. Maybe in the nursery, your bedroom or in the living room. 

Breastfeeding Sanctuary

Source: Kiddie Country

SMALL TABLE

Put a small table (a bedside table will do) in your Feeding Sanctuary so it’s in easy reach of your chair in for your snacks, drinks and other essentials.

LAMP

Use a lamp in your Feeding Sanctuary with a low voltage globe or one with a dimmer instead of turning on the room light in the middle of the night. Blue light (light emitted from screens, fluorescent bulbs and LED lights) can make you and your baby more alert so you’ll both struggle falling back to sleep after an early morning feed). I love my Himalayan salt lamp which gives off a beautiful orange glow. 

DRINKS

Keep a water bottle on your side table in your Feeding Sanctuary so it’s in easy reach and top it up before each feed. 

Breastfeeding can cause dehydration so drink more than the standard 8- 10 glasses of water to make up for what your body uses in producing milk. Staying well hydrated increases your energy, reduces hunger, promotes digestion and boosts your milk supply.

Herbal Tea is also very hydrating. A warm cup of tea is like a hug in a mug. It boosts oxytocin and makes you feel warm, loved and cared for. This “breastfeeding tea” by LOVE TEA helps with milk supply and digestion (for you and your baby). Don’t let your tea go cold (which is easy to do as a new mama) drink it in an insulated reusable cup with a lid to keep it nice and hot. 

SNACKS

Keep some snacks on your side table in your Feeding Sanctuary so they’re in easy reach.

Instead of counting your calories, use your hunger as a guide. Breastfeeding works up an appetite and can make you ravenous. Whilst it’s tempting to grab a packet of Tim Tams or a block of chocolate, they won’t leave you feeling satiated. Instead, stock up on snacks that are nourishing and will keep you fuller for longer like nuts and seeds, fruit, cheese, yoghurt and bliss balls.

Include a plan for snacks in your Postpartum Plan. Things like bliss balls, banana bread and slices can be frozen ahead of time so you can make them on maternity leave or allocate to friends or family that feel at home in the kitchen. Do some research to find some recipes you like and share them. My Apple and Cinnamon Lactation Bliss Balls are yummy.

Otherwise, ask friends and family to make you snacks instead of buying you a baby gift. Or put your visitors to work when they stop by so you can get some rest and enjoy the fruits of their labour later on.

Lactation Bliss Ball Cookies

ENTERTAINMENT

The days may seem long and the nights even longer when you’re feeding your baby so you may like some entertainment in your Feeding Sanctuary.

KINDLE: Load it up while you’re on maternity leave. Some books that I really enjoyed are The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali, Happy Mama by Amy Taylor- Kabbaz, Mindfulness for Mothers by Rebecca Ryan and SLOW by Brooke McAlary. Keep away from all the dreaded baby books- they’ll just mess with your head. Hard copy books can be a little awkward when you’re trying to juggle a newborn so audiobooks are a good option.

PODCASTS: Some of my favourites are The Goop Podcast with Gwyneth Paltrow, The Motherly Podcast, The Motherkind Podcast, Newborn Mothers Podcast with Julia Jones, The Slow Home Podcast with Brooke and Ben McAlary and the Happy Mama Movement by Amy Taylor- Kabbaz. Use the Podcasts App on your phone and search for topics that you’re interested in. 

NETFLIX: Add the shows you’d like to watch to “your channel”. Use your headphones so  it doesn’t overstimulate your baby and mess with their sleep. When choosing movies or series, go for romcoms. Research suggests they’ll give you an oxytocin boost. 

HEADPHONES

Keep your headphones in a drawer, a basket or on your side table so they’re in arms reach in your Feeding Sanctuary. Use them to listen to podcasts, music, chat to friends or watch Netflix. Iphone headphones are easy to get all tangled up when you’re juggling your baby and your cuppa so invest in some wireless ones.

PHONE CHARGER

No doubt you’ll be using your phone a lot for taking baby photos and texting friends and family, so keep your charger plugged in close to your feeding chair in your Feeding Sanctuary. Don’t get stuck under your sleeping baby with a dying battery not able to move.

Are you pregnant? Get your free Guided Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra). Fill in your details HERE and I’ll send it to your inbox for you to download.

I’d love to hear your comments and questions in the COMMENTS below.