☐ Turn off screens one hour before bedtime. I mean it. The light mimics daytime light and messes with your circadian rhythm. No smart phones on the nightstand. No looking at your phone while you nurse. You can use them for an alarm but they need to be across the room so you’re not tempted to look at them.
☐ Have a bedtime and a wake up time. Even though you’re up multiple times, have that time when you’re in your pajamas and in bed.
☐ No caffeine after 1:00 PM. No ifs, ands, or buts.
☐ Limit alcohol to one drink a day, if you must have any, and no alcohol after dinner. Alcohol can help you fall asleep but it leads to fragmented sleep. Your sleep is already fragmented by baby, let’s not make it worse.
☐ Move your body to the point of sweating at least 20 minutes a day. It’ll help you sleep, I promise. But no exercise within two hours of bedtime or it’ll keep you up.
☐ Hot baths – taking a hot bath 20 minutes before bed time can help relax you.
☐ Keep the bedroom a moderate temperature, quiet, and dark. Or, use a sleep mask and earplugs to create quiet and dark (use one earplug if you need to hear baby).
☐ Have a light bedtime snack, such as a slice of cheese or a small bowl of cereal. Having a little something in your belly can promote sleep. Avoid being full or hungry.
☐ Save the bed for sleep and sex. You want to train your brain to associate the bed with these two activities only.
☐ Limit daytime naps to 15 minutes, if you must nap at all. Set an alarm. More daytime sleep will lead to lighter, more restless nighttime sleep.
☐ Expose yourself to light in the day. If you live in the gloomy Pacific Northwest, consider investing in a full spectrum light for the dark days. Light during the day and darkness at night helps regulate your body’s circadian rhythm.
☐ If you can’t sleep for more than 20 minutes, get up and do something else for 20 minutes and try again. Don’t lay in bed not sleeping.
In the third and final post, we'll discuss sleep robber thoughts and how to combat them.