Top 9 Ways Dads Can Get More (And Better) Sleep At Night

We’ve all heard the sayings about how hard it is to have a new baby in the house,  people who haven’t had kids don’t really understand, and people who have seem almost too excited that you get to go through the same trials and tribulations that they went through.  The underlying theme though, is usually about how the moms suffer.  Not many people mention what dads have to go through.  

According to an article by NPR, a recent study in 2013 tracked the sleep of 21 male & female pairs using special electronic wristbands.  Although the women were disturbed more often while trying to sleep, the men generally got less sleep.  Additionally, women reported that the men felt less tired than the men themselves reported feeling.  The moral of the story here is that dads need sleep too!  Here are nine ways that new fathers can get more and better sleep at night:

  1. Nap when baby naps
It’s finally quiet in your house, and you probably want to check fantasy football scores, compare the latest soccer cleats on Soccer Gap, do that report for work you’ve been putting off, or spend some quality time with your other children.  Resist the temptation, and take a power nap when your baby naps.  You’ll be relieved later when baby wakes that you are well rested.

2.   No electronic devices before bed.
Okay, so I just told you to not check your fantasy football scores while baby is napping, but you probably shouldn’t check them right before bed, either.  It’s critical that you get the best night sleep possible to make sure you get the proper number of hours required for your age and size.   The glare from electronic devices wakes up your brain and makes falling asleep at a reasonable hour that much more difficult.

3.    Treat yourself like a baby before bed.
Keep wraps on other work too, not just the kind with electronic screens.  The more you do relaxing things before bed, the easier it will be to doze off.  Drink some warm milk or tea, Listen to some soothing music— think about all of the things you would do to help baby fall asleep and then try those on yourself.

Getting in and out of bed during the night, as well as tossing and turning to try to get back to sleep can lead to back and neck pain. Ensure you have the right pillow to deal with neck pain and a mattress that suits your sleeping position - these are also essential and will help you sleep like a baby!

Ensure you are comfortable by buy new sheets,

4.  Keep the same diet & exercise, and avoid caffeine.
It’s easy to grab fast food when you have an extra busy schedule, and it’s also tempting to load up on sugar and caffeine throughout the day to get some of that fake energy, but that will only make you feel bloated and cramped at night, and like crap the next morning.   Caffeine will also make it harder for you to get to bed and will wake you up throughout the night, and let’s face it— that’s baby’s job.

5.  Keep the same routine / sleep schedule, etc.
We’re all creatures of habit, even though we want to think we’re more advanced.  The truth is, we’re all just like Pavlov’s dog, and that bell makes us salivate.   If you’re used to going to bed around 10pm, and waking up at 6am, you should stick to that as best as you can.  If you usually go to the gym a few times a week, try to continue that schedule even with a new baby.  It will make you better equipped to help out with baby.

6.    Swap feeding times, shifts, even nights.

Take every other bottle and feeding,  or do shifts with your wife like 10pm-2am and 2am-6am.  You can even take every other night.  I know  of one couple who goes to the extreme with this, one is on duty and sleeps with baby, and the other is off-duty and sleeps in a second bedroom so baby’s crying does not disturb their sleep.

7.   Keep baby close

Keep baby in the same room so you won’t have to wake up as much when baby wakes up.  You can feed or rock baby without having to turn on a light, or walk too far, and get right back to sleep.   Be creative. I heard of one couple recently who tied a rope on their bassinet and would pull the rope to rock baby while they were laying down with little effort.  If you're going to do this, make sure your baby cannot reach or grab the rope at all, tie it to the very bottom of the bassinet.

8.   Have fun in your midnight shifts with baby.

I know it seems like a drag to have to go sit on the couch from 2am-4am with baby, but the fact is, this is some bonus time where you can do whatever you want to do, because besides baby, everyone else is asleep.  Use the opportunity to catch up on news, binge on Netflix, eat some good snacks, jam out to music, do all of those things you feel like you never have time for as an adult.  It’s also a chance to spend some really cool quality time with your kid.

9.   Be optimistic about the situation and recognize it’s only temporary.

If you realize that you have people to help you,  that you can make fun out of spending extra time with your baby, and create memories to cherish forever— you’ll be far better off.   Make the best of it!  Plus, this situation is only temporary, and baby will be sleeping through the night in no time at all!  Just keep reminding yourself that it’s almost over.

Yorkshire Dad

Part-time daddy and lifestyle blogger. Father of 2 boys under 2. Golfer, scare-fan, tea-lover, traveller, squash and poker player. I write on the @HuffPostUK

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