As a new mum or mum-to-be, it's important to make the most of any free time you have restfully and to take regular naps of no more than fifteen mins, when you can, in order to re-energise.

Here's how you can achieve this with these top tips from Silentnight sleep expert Dr Nerina:

1. Make Rest A Priority

This is one of the hardest things for women, especially mothers to do, but resting whenever during the day will lessen the effects of sleep deprivation and improve the quality of your sleep at night. It's too easy to say 'I'll just get some chores done', but before you know it, baby is awake and needing your attention again. Sometimes a break of five - 10 minutes can be sufficient to enable the body to renew energy physically and mentally. You should also drink a glass of water, eat a piece of fruit, stretch and close your eyes.

2. What To Do If You Wake Up During The Night

It is inevitable that you will be woken, sometimes repeatedly, during the early days of your baby's life. However, there are a few tricks that you can use to get yourself back to sleep more easily. Be prepared - try to have everything on hand for a quick feed or nappy change and if you have to put a light on, use a low-level bedside lamp. The less time you are exposed to light, the easier it will be to get back to sleep again. Avoid checking the time too, if you do this, you are more likely to start worrying about how little sleep you'll get.

3. If You Really Can't Get To Sleep

Use the time to relax. Abandon all attempts to sleep and allow yourself to just rest. Tell yourself 'it doesn't matter if I don't sleep tonight; I'm just going to rest'. Alternatively, get up and do something relaxing. Read a book, have a cup of camomile tea or warm milk, or even do some ironing to tire you out.

4. Wind Down For Good Sleep

Try to get into a bedtime routine. We respond well to familiar rituals that tell our brains that it is time to prepare to rest - read a book, listen to relaxing music or sip a milky caffeine-free drink. A 10-minute bath is the perfect route to relaxation, try using some essential oils such as lavender, to help promote sleepiness. Avoid anything over stimulating such as sending emails or social media. Make 'to do' lists part of your wind down process as well, getting them out of your head and on to paper before you go to bed. Those 20 minutes of wind down time are more likely to help you feel rejuvenated, five or six hours of efficient sleep is better than seven or eight hours of shallow, restless sleep.

5. Get Some Exercise

One of the hardest things to do when you're a new mother or mum-to-be and you're exhausted is to find time for exercise, but this will help you to both relieve stress and sleep more effectively. Exercise helps to reduce levels of adrenaline and other stress hormones and it boosts the production of hormones which 'repair' the body thus making your immune system and overall health more robust. It doesn't mean having to go to the gym or running, a 20-minute brisk walk can boost the production of endorphins.

6. Nutrition And Supplements

In order to get good sleep, we need a good balance of the naturally produced sleep-inducing hormones serotonin and melatonin in our system. Adequate amounts of vitamin B6 and tryptophan are needed to boost these hormone levels and they are found in chicken, cheese, tofu, tuna, eggs, nuts, seeds and milk. Drinking a glass of milk before going to bed can help to induce sleep. Avoid skipping breakfast as this is vital to stabilising your blood sugar levels and helping you to produce melatonin. It's best to resort to sleeping aids as a last resort. Valerian (tablets, tincture or tea) can aid sleep for most people. Passionflower and hops also have mild sedative effects.

Mums need their rest!

Mums need their rest!

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