How Clean is Your Sleep?

While we were all talking about clean eating in 2016, clean SLEEPING is the hot topic for 2017. It’s one of the biggest health trends this year – and at first glance, one of the most appealing to sleep-challenged parents.

It was Gwyneth Paltrow and her Goop team who kick started it off claiming that a clean night’s sleep is not only good for you mentally, but the key to ageing gracefully, staying slim and having good hair. What’s not to love?

In a nutshell, it consists of at LEAST seven or eight hours of good, interrupted, high quality sleep each night.

This is the point where all new moms spit out their cold cups of coffee laughing hysterically….. interrupted sleep? You’re kidding right? Paaaaah ha ha! Good one.

Yeah, we know. This is maybe possible with toddlers (I said maybe!) and older, but this just isn’t possible in the early days of regular night feeds. For a new mom, it can be really, really hard to get the sleep you need.

But the truth is, we all know how important sleep is for our overall health and wellbeing. And while we can’t all be like Gwyneth and have 7-8 hours every night, perhaps we can and should still treat ourselves to a clean sleep every now and then. It’s not admitting defeat or cheating – it’s RECHARGING! It’s essential.

So, if you have the full support of a partner or family member, here’s how you can live like Gwyneth for a day and plan for the odd clean night’s sleep.

  • If breastfeeding, build up a supply of breast milk in the fridge and ask your partner take all the night feeds
  • Plan to sleep in a separate room away from your baby to minimize the familiar sounds of their wake up calls
  • Get outside and exercise during the day – take baby for a stroll and enjoy the fresh air
  • Stop drinking caffeine around 4pm
  • Avoid alcohol before bed
  • Set yourself a bed time – and STICK TO IT! There will always be a household job to do. Just this one time, let it wait until tomorrow
  • In fact, set your bed time one hour earlier than you plan to fall asleep, and use that hour before bed as quiet, relaxing time, free of duties AND Facebook is tempting, but it too can wait!
  • Keep your phone on silent. And away from your bed
  • And SLEEP!

The likelihood is that you will probably wake up on auto pilot the first couple of times you try and switch off – after all, you are so in tune with your little one’s needs and sounds! But perhaps after a few attempts, once you realize your partner has it all under control, or once you have established more of a sleep schedule with your little one, you can get a clean night of 7-8 hours and wake up feeling like a new mama! Because you really do deserve it ladies! And often.

Happy snoozing.

 

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May is Better Sleep Month

BabiesinBloom_KelseySmithPhotography2015(PrintResolution300PPINativeFile)-41“SLEEP?” we hear many of you cry. “What’s that?!”

If you are struggling to get your baby to sleep through the night, don’t worry, you’re not alone. We know it can be HARD. And when you feel like you have tried everything, we know it can feel relentless. You’re exhausted. Defeated. Overwhelmed. You’re just not you.

‘Better Sleep Month’ is all about encouraging people to seek and establish better, healthier sleeping patterns. So what better time is there than now to take a moment and virtually hug, empower and support all our sleep deprived parents out there! It WILL get better, we promise you.

First, stop telling yourself you’ve messed up. That’s just the exhaustion talking, coupled up with the obligatory mom guilt that we all know and hate. Just because your friend’s baby is sleeping 11 hours a night at nine months, doesn’t mean you have done it all wrong. There is no ‘one size fits all’ way to do this. No two babies are wired the same.

Second, it is never too late to fix it. Good sleep habits can be learned at any age says Jen Varela, our wonderful friend and Sleep Coach, be it six months or five years old.

Under the age of six months, we are not talking about sleep training, but sleep shaping. This is all about sleep hygiene and simply identifying the methods used to get baby to sleep. From around three months, small incremental steps can be taken to make adjustments in how your baby sleeps at night – this is because most infants take about 12 weeks to fully produce melatonin, the “sleep hormone.” So for example, instead of nursing him/her to sleep, simply try rocking instead. Don’t worry, baby will let you know if it is too soon to make that change. And if it is, just hit pause on this shift for a little while and then try again.

Sleep training is generally recommended for babies six months or older. This is when you use a specific method, over a period of time, and then start removing ‘sleep crutches’ to enable baby to self sooth and put his/herself to sleep.

Third, let’s be real. There will ALWAYS be tears. There is no getting away from this. But our expert Jen’s goal is always to have as little crying as possible, and to avoid ‘toxic stress.’ She believes there is a big difference between tears in arms and not. If a baby is crying in arms, there is a stress buffer there by way of the nurturing parent, vs. things like the detached ‘cry-it-out’ method. Sleep training needn’t be a battle – it CAN be gentle and successful.

Jen runs regular Gentle Sleep Coaching workshops at our Boutique, so if you feel like you need to get a better idea on methods, or just feel like you need a darn miracle, please register. She may be the Fairy Godmother you have been looking for. We promise you, no question will be a stupid question, and no case is a hopeless one. Stay strong folks – this too shall pass!

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