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7 Ways to Get a Good Night's Sleep

Ferberize yourself

You know how infant-sleep guru Richard Ferber, M.D., says you can gradually teach your baby to fall asleep on her own? A gradual approach may help you get some rest, too: Turn in a few minutes earlier each night until you reach your desired bedtime.

On the other hand, you might embrace your inner night owl instead. This works for moms whose babies are happy to stay up late and then sleep in the next morning. Whichever way you go, stick to a regular sleep pattern once your baby has a pattern herself. "You'll feel the best if your schedule doesn't change by more than an hour or two, even on weekends," notes Amy Wolfson, Ph.D., author of The Woman's Book of Sleep.

Don't forget checkups

If you've got insomnia that persists no matter what, or if you're sleeping a fair amount but still feel pooped, see your doctor. You could have a health problem such as sleep apnea, anemia, hypothyroidism, or restless leg syndrome. With medical help, you may get your sleep groove back with ease. "I thought that staying up for hours at night worrying was part of being a new mom," says Sabrina Anne Ropp of Columbus, Ohio. "I never realized postpartum depression could cause severe anxiety, too. Once I talked to my doctor, he put me on the proper medications and I've been enjoying a good night's rest ever since."

Get some fresh air and exercise

A workout can help you sleep better -- if you do it at the right time. "Exercising close to bedtime may make it difficult to fall asleep, whereas exercising in the late afternoon may be sleep promoting," says Wolfson. Mornings are also a good bet; early sunlight can reset your inner clock, helping you get to sleep at night. One mom who needs no convincing about the power of exercise is Zeis, the onetime shower snoozer. For the past year, she's made a habit of running while a sitter watches her daughter. She sleeps more easily and soundly now at night -- and aims to keep working out after her next baby comes along. "Then, with luck, I'll do all my napping in bed."

Babytalk contributing editor Melissa Balmain is a writer and mother of two in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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