New research has found that besides making you tired, lack of adequate sleep can short-circuit your system and interfere with a fundamental cellular process that drives physical growth, physiological adaptation and even brain activity.
“When we misalign our behaviour with our circadian clock, for example by creating jet lag, or by working as a night owl, we don’t only disrupt normal physiological processes such as cycles of appetite and body temperature,” said one of the researchers, Albrecht von Arnim from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, US, noting that the study suggests that we may also be interfering with a more fundamental cellular process, protein synthesis. “Muscle action, brain activity, growth and development are functions all performed by proteins whose synthesis is carefully regulated.”
How to make sure you get enough sleep
What is a new mom to do when her newborn just won’t go to sleep? We rounded up 10 of our top sleep tips to help your niggly baby drop off:
- Leave your baby’s room purposefully when you put her down. Check on her regularly and pat her on the back to reassure her that you’re around while she settles.
- Rather than rocking him, do sideways lunges, lifting alternate feet, like a boat at sea. This should relax him and when he goes floppy, you can put him down.
- Put your nightie in his cot. He may settle because he can smell you on it.
- If your baby has colic, you have to ride it out. Colic drops and skin-to-skin contact can help you get through this more easily.
- If you’re breastfeeding, don’t have drinks that contain caffeine. It stays in your baby’s body for more than three days.
- Don’t take your baby directly from light to darkness. Use dimmers to mimic sunsets. It helps to settle him.
- Don’t rock your baby to sleep, and don’t cuddle him too tight, so that when you put him down in his cot he doesn’t notice the difference so much.
- A drop of lavender oil on a hanky placed near the cot will often soothe a baby to sleep.
- White noise works wonders, so get hold of a special CD or buy a fan.
- Put your baby in a bouncy chair in the bathroom while you have a shower. Steam clears the airways and makes babies dozy.
Getting your children to sleep soundly is one thing; getting your own peaceful night’s sleep is another. As mothers, we tend to put our children and everyone else first, but a rested mom is a happy mom, so making sure you get enough sleep is essential.
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