Becoming a parent, whether for the first time or the fifth, is a tiring experience. Midnight bottles and nappy changes, and a crying infant who simply won’t be cuddled back to silence are all a natural part of being a parent to an infant.

And every new mom needs some additional shut-eye, whenever and however she can get it.

Buying a new mattress right around the time your little one is expected to arrive might not be very high up on your agenda.

However, if you are looking for a way to instantly improve the way you sleep, and you have the money to spare, there is no better time than now to buy a new mattress.

“Having everything you could possibly need to improve your sleep experience, is going to make nodding off blissful.”

Napping is a pastime that has been around for as long as mankind has existed. At least, we assume it has. But when a woman becomes a mom, that pastime becomes something of a luxury as time becomes more of a commodity. As the mother of an infant, napping essentially might be the only time you can sleep. So rather than a guilty snooze, the nap is bound to be a new way to shove some much-needed sleep time into your day.

All that sleep lost during the night can be made up during the day, while your baby adjusts to a sleeping pattern. Sleeping when your baby sleeps is far easier said than done, in fact, some mothers will tell you that that saying is a downright myth. Basically, a new mom gets sleep when she can.

So how can a sleep deprived mom enjoy an effective nap?

The power of the nap lies in ensuring that the sleep you get, even if it is 20 minutes, is quality sleep.

Have a time frame

As with all napping, too much sleep during a nap can leave you feeling groggy rather than refreshed. But as a new mom, the time frame is far more complicated. With a newborn in the room needing attention as much as a watchful eye, napping between 20-30 minutes or up to an hour and a half would be the ideal. That is if your unpredictable newborn doesn’t scream the house down and wake you up.

When determining how much sleep you need during your nap, consider what you want to “achieve” with your nap. A shorter nap will improve your concentration and your alertness while the longer nap will help you get through the day when you haven’t had enough sleep the previous night. Sleeping between 30 and 90 minutes can severely upset your sleep cycle, and make you feel groggy rather than refreshed, so keep an alarm nearby: a quiet alarm, you don’t want to wake your young one.

Have the right sleeping conditions

There are certain habits and sleep conditions that most of us need in order to have a proper nights rest. These can include a cooler room, dimmed or no light and minimal noise. While you might not be able to completely recreate the sleeping environment you would have at night, you can try at the very least mimic it. The more you can make it feel as though you are sleeping at night, rather than napping during the day, the more chance you have of actually getting quality sleep during your nap.

Try to shut down your mind

The biggest obstacle to overcome when trying to get some sleep while napping is your mind. Worrying about whether or not your baby needs something, or worrying about whether it is safe while you both nap, can hinder or completely prevent you from getting enough sleep. As a new mom, your mind is probably all over the place. You are likely to be already thinking about all that needs to be done, the moment your head hits the pillow.

While it is completely understandable that you have a busy schedule, you will need to find a way to shut down your mind before you attempt to nap. Those 20 or so minutes will pass by very quickly while your mind is constantly at work. Keep in mind that your body has to sleep in order for you to function properly for the sake of your child. Try meditation and forget the laundry.

Have a plan B

If you are convinced that you will not be able to nap, you don’t have to despair. Sleep credit is what you need. Sleeping whenever you can, rather than worrying about a timed nap or having to sleep at a specific time of the day, can help you to store up a “reserve” of sleep, which in turn can help you feel more refreshed. With this reserve of sleep, you might even have the energy to power through another night of minimal sleep.

Be smart about powering through

You will not win any points by pushing your body through the days and nights with little to no sleep. But, let’s be realistic and say that there are likely to be times when you are unable to nap or get any extra sleep. For those times, try some extra coffee or treat yourself to a shower with an energising shampoo or body wash. Be smart about the caffeine intake. There is such thing as too much coffee and it can have the reverse effect.

As a new mom, you are doing the best you can for your little one. But you need to take care of yourself, as much as you have to care for your baby. If you haven’t got a comfortable new bed to sleep on, perhaps this is a pre-birth treat that you should spoil yourself with. There is not much better than a comfortable new, supportive bed, to help you get a proper nights rest.

But whatever you do, don’t deliberately deprived yourself of sleep in an attempt to do it all. You are only human after all, and each one of us needs quality sleep in order to function, especially new moms.