Anyone who’s been a new parent knows that sleep deprivation is a big deal. Newborn babies need to feed at least every three or four hours – day or night. And all those nighttime feedings and sleepless nights can leave new parents feeling like the undead. The good news is, like almost every new parent who came before you, you can make it through this stage! Keep reading for our simple tips to help new parents get more sleep with a newborn.
8 Ways to Get More Sleep with a Newborn
1. Sleep When Your Baby Sleeps
We know, we know: this is probably the most clichéd piece of advice for new parents. You can’t always sleep while your baby sleeps. Naps at 2pm aren’t exactly office-appropriate. And for parents at home, you were probably counting on that moment when your baby goes down to actually do laundry, catch up on emails, or even just have a little free time to watch TV or browse Instagram.
Don’t get us wrong, we know that me time is important. But try to strike a balance and get at least a little sleep during nap times when you can. Aim to go to bed within a certain amount of time of your baby going down. During daytime naps, try to go to bed no more than a half-hour after your baby does. At night, go to sleep within one hour of your baby. Yes, you might not fully catch up on your favorite show tonight or be able to do that last load of delicates, but the extra sleep will be worth it!
2. Share a Room
Some new parents use room-sharing to get more sleep with a newborn. Basically, this just means that they keep their baby’s crib or bassinet in their own bedroom instead of in the nursery, which makes sense! When your baby wakes up at night, you’re that much closer. So you can more quickly and easily take care of them, and get back to sleep.
3. Try Dreamfeeding
What’s worse than finally falling asleep, only to have your hungry baby wake you up? The trick to preventing this is to gently rouse your baby just enough to feed them right before you go to bed. This will help the nighttime feeding come a little later, so their sleep can overlap a little bit more with your sleep, and you can get some rest. This technique is called “dreamfeeding” because your baby is literally still dreaming when you feed them.
4. Encourage Naps
Some new parents try to keep their baby awake during the day, hoping that they will be more tired at night. It may sound counterintuitive, but not allowing adequate naps can make your baby overtired and even more unable to fall asleep. Plus, overtired babies are more likely to wake up at night. So try to let your baby sleep when they need to. And follow some of these other tips to catch up on your zzz’s during naptime if you can.
5. Share Feeding Duties
Don’t let just one parent have all the fun of nighttime feedings! Take turns with your partner so that you both get a few hours of sleep. If you’re breastfeeding, pump before you go to bed so your partner can bottle feed the baby while you get some rest. Or you can try switching off shifts every other night. The lucky parent who gets to sleep can block out nighttime distractions with ear plugs and an eye mask.
6. Midnight Snacking
Getting up at all hours of the night can do a number on your stomach. If you’re hungry when you’re up with the baby, try eating a low-sugar, high-protein snack that’s easy to digest.
Some of the best choices for midnight snacks also contain compounds that help you sleep better. A banana with almond butter is great because tropical fruits like bananas have been shown to increase melatonin levels1, and almonds and almond butter contain melatonin2, as well as magnesium, which is associated with improved sleep.3 One ounce (about a handful) of pistachios is packed with a whopping 6.5 mg of melatonin.2 A hard-boiled egg is low in calories but high in hunger-satisfying protein and tryptophan (the drowse-inducing amino acid in your Thanksgiving turkey). Plain Greek yogurt with unsweetened fruit has calcium, which helps your body make melatonin from tryptophan4, and casein protein, which has been shown to reduce your hunger at breakfast the next morning.5 You can even go for cheese and whole wheat crackers. This is a surprisingly good choice because the balance of carb-rich crackers with the protein in the cheese support more consistent blood-sugar levels, plus the cheese contains tryptophan.
7. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Set yourself up for sleep success by practicing good sleep hygiene. Keep your bedroom cool and dark at nighttime. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol as much as you can, especially right before bed, because all of these can affect your ability to sleep. And put down the phone! Blue light from your phone is too stimulating when you’re trying to fall asleep.
8. Try Melatonin
Partners and mothers who are not breastfeeding may want to take melatonin supplements. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone secreted in our brains that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. vitafusion makes a range of sleep-support gummies with 3 mg of melatonin (vitafusion Sleep Well), 5 mg of melatonin (vitafusion Extra Strength Melatonin) or 10 mg of melatonin (vitafusion Max Strength Melatonin). So you can find the strength that works best for you. vitafusion gummies with melatonin help regulate your sleep cycle and help with jet lag recovery, for when you’re finally ready to take a jet-setting adventure with your baby!*
We love sharing our insights about vitamins and health. But that doesn’t mean it should be a substitute for professional medical advice. For that, you should talk to your doctor!
1 Sae-Teaw, M, et al; J Pineal Res, 2013.
2 Meng, Xiao. Nutrients, 2017.
3 Jabbour, HJ, et al; Acta Anaesthesiol Scand, 2014.
4 Barbosa, R, et al; Life Sci, 2008.
5 Kinsey, AW, et al; Br J Nutr, 2014.