Four things new parents can do to get more sleep

A lot of people are talking about this story - a recent study found parents don't get enough sleep for up to six years after having a baby.

The worst sleep deprivation is during those first three months.

The reaction from a lot of parents? No kidding.

But just because sleep is a struggle for a lot of moms and dads, doesn't mean it has to be that way.

News 3 spoke with Lacey Bauer from Hampton Roads Doulas to get some advice.

She says one of the things parents should do is create a plan before the baby comes.  A lot of people carefully create birth plans for the hospital but don't think enough about what comes next and where they can turn for help.

Another strategy is one you've most likely heard before - sleep when the baby sleeps.

Bauer says she knows people don't always like to hear this because they use that time to get chores done, but sleep needs to be a priority.

Also, don't be too quick to turn down offers from friends and family who want to help or consider hiring people to help, whether it's a postpartum doula or a housekeeper.

Bauer says it's crucial for new parents to find ways to get some sleep.

"Today it's became sort of this badge of honor to be sleep deprived ... and what we know is it's actually pretty dangerous," Bauer told News 3. "We see it impact mood directly and it leads to higher risk of depression and anxiety.  It makes things like driving really dangerous, and so when you have a new parent that has to go to doctor's appointments and things like that, it's a little bit scary.  It also makes it really hard to safely and effectively parent your child."

One more strategy for new parents, instead of just registering for items for your baby, register for services like housekeeping that will free up time for you to get some sleep.

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