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Getting enough sleep

Most of the time, parents put up with tiredness. But if you are feeling low, bad tempered and unable to cope or enjoy things, you need to find a way of getting more sleep, or at least more rest. Here are some tips:

  • Go to bed really early for one week. If you can’t sleep when you go to bed, do something relaxing for half an hour beforehand, such as soaking in the bath.
  • Try deep relaxation. As little as 5 to 10 minutes deep relaxation can refresh you. You can learn relaxation techniques online, or go to the library for books or DVDs.
  • Sleep when your baby sleeps and rest when your children are at playgroup or school. You could ask a relative or friend to take your child for a while and spend the time sleeping (not doing housework). Take turns with other parents to look after the children in order to give yourself time to rest. Set an alarm if you’re worried about sleeping too long.
  • If you can, share the responsibility of getting up in the night with your partner. Take alternate nights or weeks. If you’re on your own, a friend or relative may be prepared to have your children overnight occasionally.
  • Don’t let stress get on top of you. Tiredness is often a sign of stress. If you can do something about the stress, you might find it easier to cope, even if you can’t get any more sleep.

If you can’t sleep at night even when your baby is sleeping, it could be a sign of postnatal depression.

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