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7 sleep tips for tired parents

Parenting can be a tough gig – and when we’re lacking in sleep, it often seems even harder. On average, new parents with babies of up to a year-old struggle catch just four hours and 44 minutes of sleep a night, which can make dealing with the next day feel like an impossible task. Back in January, we hosted a parenting panel discussion at The Sleep Suite, where several experts shared their most helpful advice and tips about children and sleep. Prepare to learn from the best…

don’t put pressure on yourself

According to our go-to sleep expert, Christine Hansen, following the way other people parent – down to how much sleep they’re getting themselves – is a particularly unhelpful move. “I find there are two mum camps – either you sleep or you don’t,” she told our panel. “Often you think you’re overdoing it when sleeping with the baby, or you think you’re horrible because you aren’t doing it. It’s important to understand that it’s your choice, and it’s totally OK to change your opinion on things. You never know what a child is going to be like – children are individual from the get-go.”

implement a routine

If your child’s sleep affects yours, then it’s worth looking honestly at their bedtime routines, says Christine. “A routine is absolutely crucial. If you have a child who has issues sleeping, it’s the very first point at which you should start.” Not sure what a sleep routine actually looks like? “It’s the same steps, in the same order, every day,” she says. “When I started working with people, they’d tell me ‘Yeah, we have a routine’ and I would tell them to write it down – they had no routine! It’s a soft form of sleep training and helps make babies and children feel safe, because they know what’s going to come next. If there’s one thing babies and children like, it’s predictability.” And once you’ve got that happy bedtime routine sorted for them? Fingers crossed yours should follow, too…

the baby cot mattress by eve

but don’t panic if it occasionally changes

Routine is all well and good, but it’s important not to let it take over family life completely – life throws curveballs now and then, after all. “By the time we had our fourth – who is now six – we had very regular bedtimes,” explains our co-founder, and father of four, Kuba Wieczorek. “When she was three or four, I remember her laughing out loud when we told her it was bedtime – she loves sleep, and was so excited. But if something is out of kink to her routine, we pay the price. Now she’s at the age where she’s often invited to friends’ houses for sleepovers – she loves it and we hate it, because it ruins the routine. But still, it’s really important for her to forge relationships.”

make bedtime fun  

When children are older, it can be useful to encourage them to play a part in their own sleep routine, says Christine. “Something I like to suggest to parents is to actually have a laminated chart, and put a tick or a sticker on it once they’ve gone to bed at the right time. It actually keeps you in check as well as the child, and for them it feels exciting because they are boss for the night. It works really well.”

monitor your child’s sleep if you can

According to fashion model, writer, beauty insider and mum-of-two Ruth Crilly, it’s important to know how much sleep your child is actually getting, to work out how to improve things. “When our first was born, we were living in rented, short-term accommodation because our house was being renovated. She wasn’t sleeping, and we had no routine – we’d sort of grasp of how much sleep she’d be getting because no one was writing it down, or remembering. So when we’d ask ourselves how much sleep they got, we didn’t have a clue! When you have a more rigid structure and monitor things, you can tell if something is off. Pretty much as soon as we introduced a routine and took note of how much she was sleeping, she was eight months old and had started sleeping through, and things improved.”

baby in eve cot sleeping

check the bedroom temperature

It’s an obvious one for adults, but babies and children can’t necessarily vocalise that they’re too hot, or too cold. In fact, they might not even realise themselves. “The best room temperature to sleep in is actually pretty cold, between 18-21 degrees – so often a little cooler than a regular setting,” explains Christine. Ensure the room is dark, and well-ventilated, too.

switch off the baby monitor

While everyone’s different – and some parents love the flexibility and reassurance of a baby monitor – Christine says it’s not always a good idea for tired parents. “Turn it off and leave the door open, or put it on the lowest volume – you’ll hear the baby when they’re freaking out, they are really loud!” she says. “Because babies are very noisy sleepers, they’ll disturb you via the monitor, which means you often interrupt them while they’re sleeping to check on them. I often tell clients to go in very quietly and see if they are awake when they hear noise, and to ditch the baby monitor altogether.”

Give your little one the perfect start with our cot bed mattress.

 

 

 

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