Babies, from newborns to toddlers, can be tricky sleepers and we all know the cliché of sleep deprived parents stumbling from their bed to the cot in the middle of the night, or turning up to work bleary-eyed.
These 8 tips should help you to both feel and look more awake so you can get through those sleepless nights and come out looking your best.
Grab an Apple
Apples are known to wake you up. They contain fructose, a natural sugar that releases slowly into your bloodstream, waking you up gently without the spike and crash syndrome that sweets or chocolate give you. It’s also quick to grab with no need for preparation – perfect when you’re busy with a new child.
Beat the eye bags with tea bags
Green Tea has many health benefits to drink, but it also has a lesser-known gift to offer. Put a couple of Green Tea bags in some water and leave them in the fridge for an hour, once chilled squeeze the excess water out, sit back and pop them on your eyes. The natural properties will help reduce the bags and the coolness will restrict the blood vessels, ridding you of puffy eyes. If you’re with a partner, get some chilled tea bags ready for them to relax with when you take over for a bit – a 5 minute pamper session like this is sure to get them feeling special. Seeing as you’ll be taking your eyes off baby, you may need to pass them to your partner or try this while your little one sleeps.
Drink, drink and drink some more! This can’t be stressed enough. Having a new baby throws your routine out of kilter and makes it much easier to forget about keeping up your own fluids. A recent survey by Zip Heaters UK showed that 60% of the UK population drink less than half of the NHS recommended amount of water a day. When one considers that the NHS recommendation was reduced so as not to seem intimidating, this is worrying.
Even mild dehydration can cause you to feel sluggish and lacking in energy, and has even been shown to make you more emotionally susceptible to lower mood. With emotions already running high surrounding the arrival of your new baby, its best to keep those water levels up. Start setting a good example for your child early and keep drinking!
Light up the room
Making a room bright can really help with waking us up. Scientists have discovered light sensitive cells in our eyes (ipRGCs) that absorb light to help set our circadian clock. These cells absorb light causing your body to realise that it is time to wake up, so stepping out into the sun or turning the lights on can really help you feel brighter. This also works the opposite way, to encourage you or baby to sleep, keep the room as dark as possible.
Yoga (and baby)
Yoga has been proven to be a natural energy booster in addition to its ability to reduce stress and anxiety and improve sleep. ‘How will I find time for Yoga when I have a baby?’ I hear you cry. Well, there’s a fantastic way around that. Baby Yoga is Yoga that is good for both you and your baby. Don’t be fooled, it isn’t about getting your baby to hold strange positions, but it does increase their flexibility and involves them in your yogic poses. Not only does it have health benefits for you both, but it is also a great bonding opportunity.
Emphasis is often on mum and baby bonding, but dad’s bonding is just as important. Taking time to get to know your baby through fun activities like this is a fantastic way to make the most of them and form a long-lasting relationship. Classes are offered throughout the UK usually for ages 2+ months, Yogakidz will soon be offering downloadable classes to do from home and to start you off you can find some Youtube videos too. Babies who do baby yoga also seem generally more relaxed and sleep better, meaning you can get more shut-eye too!
Splash your skin to life with cold water
Cold water not only wakes you up but also causes your blood vessels to constrict and tightens your pores making your skin glow and appear toned. Splash the water on your face straight after waking or when feeling groggy to feel the most benefits.
Tackle tiredness with Peppermint tea
Peppermint tea is a revitalising way to wake yourself up. It improves blood circulation giving you that healthy glow and counts towards your daily fluid intake, keeping you hydrated and happy. As lack of sleep can cause a slowed digestion and metabolism, Peppermint tea’s ability to soothe and cleanse the digestive system is perfect for a pick-me-up.
And for when herbal teas just don’t work…
Try iced coffee. The caffeine in coffee is famous for waking you up, but sometimes a hot drink can be so soothing that it lulls us back to dreamland. Try making iced coffee instead: You’ll find a cool drink will refresh you much more than a hot one – particularly in the warmer summer months. A simple recipe is to dissolve double your usual amount of coffee in hot water and leave to cool (may be done the night before), then add a couple of glasses of milk and 1-2 cups of ice to your blender and pulse until done.
The extra protein from the milk provides the amino acids your brain needs to function at its optimum level and also helps you feel fuller for longer. Sleep deprivation can cause us to feel excess hunger as well as that familiar ‘foggy brain’ feeling, so extra milk in an iced coffee is a perfect helper for the sleep deprived nights of early parenthood.
With these tips, hopefully bleary-eyes will become a thing of the past and even after those sleepless nights, you’ll be looking and feeling fresher – ready to face anything the day throws at you.