First, set up a bed time ritual for yourself. "You do a bed time ritual for your kids - you should also try to do one for yourself and that includes trying to go to bed at about the same time every night," says Hartshorn. Wind down - don't pay your bills right before bed. Instead, take a relaxing bath, read a book or sip some warm milk or decaf hot tea.
Also, do your best to get rid of your vices; don't smoke before bed and skip that nightcap. The nicotine in cigarettes and the alcohol in a glass of wine can help you fall asleep quicker, but your sleep will be more restless. You're more likely to wake up feeling tired if you drink or smoke before bedtime. Also, avoid caffeine late in the day.
Another energy booster to avoid before bed is exercise. While many women are trying to shed their baby weight, night time isn't the best time to work out. "It gives you a little bit of an adrenaline rush," says Hartshorn. That extra boost of energy can make it difficult to fall asleep. Save workouts for the morning hours.
Also, try to eat well rounded meals throughout the day. It can be difficult to fall asleep at night if you are too hungry or too full. You should feel satisfied after a meal, not ravenous or gorged. Comfort is key.
The same goes for your pajamas. You need to be comfortable to fall asleep - Hartshorn suggests wearing loose cotton clothes to bed. Also, try to keep your bedroom around 70 degrees. "A little warmer or a little cooler [may feel] cool to you," says Hartshorn. "We all sleep better when it's a little cool outside."
Try to keep your bedroom dark and quiet as well. "Watching TV before bed kind of jazzes you up a little," says Hartshorn. Turn the TV off and close the blinds or curtains on your windows. Shut the door if you have to. You can always rely on a baby monitor to alert you if your baby wakes up.
Even though it's hard, try not to worry too much about your little bundle of joy in the next room. Hartshorn suggests clearing your mind at least 15 minutes before bed time. Forget about the dirty dishes, the unfolded laundry or the thank you notes you still haven't sent. Your main priority is your health. New moms are under a lot of stress and can easily get run down if they don't get their proper rest.
So take some time for you and sneak in naps where you can. In a few months, your child will be sleeping soundly and your sleepless nights will be a distant memory.
For more information on getting a good night's rest, as well as additional parenting advice, click here to visit www.AmericanBaby.com.
By Erin Petrun