7 Ways to Get a Good Night's Sleep
Ferberize yourself and 6 other ways to get some sleep
Learn to sleep through (some of) the night
In other words, put Dad, Grandma, or anyone who's willing, to work on late-night feedings, diaper changes, and colic-soothing. No gift I've had from my husband or mom meant more than being forbidden to touch a diaper the week after my first child was born. Even if you're nursing, someone can carry the baby to and from your arms for feedings and bring you water (you'll sleep better afterward if you're hydrated and haven't been bustling around). Better yet, you can sleep through a "shift" if that someone feeds the baby a bottle of pumped milk.
Keep your bedroom restful
Is your room like mine, home to every unwashed bodysuit, unrepaired toy, and un-put-away holiday decoration? Lying in bed surrounded by reminders of chores can make you too tense to drift off, Kendall-Tackett says. So if you can't move the stuff somewhere else, try covering it or hiding it with a screen. Then turn off all the lights and lower your thermostat: Experts believe darkness helps set your internal clock to sleepy time, while coolness mimics the way your internal temperature drops during the night.
Once you're in bed, moms recommend a white-noise machine or humming fan (to drown out the rottweiler yapping next door); an eye mask or blackout curtains; a cool "Chillow" pillow for summer; and -- for that partner snoring beside you -- options ranging from nose strips to apnea treatments to a night on the couch (separate beds can be good for a sleep-deprived relationship).
Take naptime seriously
Naps can be crucial for perking you up, experts say, but it's important to follow certain rules. Rule #1: Take planned naps in a safe place. (Forty winks in your parked car? Sure -- but not on the side of the expressway.) Rule #2 (a tried-and-truism): Nap when your baby naps, for as many months as you like. Rule #3: Once your baby is sleeping through the night -- and you are, too -- try not to let your own daytime naps last more than an hour or so. Otherwise, you may reverse your clock to sleeping during the day instead of at night. For moms who work outside the home, getting extra shut-eye may require creativity.
"I asked my boss if I could combine my lunchtime and my breaks, so that I had a half hour to pump and an hour to sleep in my car," says Heather Schott of West Hills, California.