5 ways sleep-deprived new moms can get more sleep.
Being a mom means juggling many responsibilities, and the first thing that always gets sacrificed is sleep. Moms are intensely sleep-deprived, they barely get enough sleep, and the younger the kids are, the worse it gets. The sad fact is that sleep loss is inevitable. But, that doesn’t mean you can not enjoy some peaceful zzz’s here and there. Here are five ways sleep-deprived moms can get a good night’s rest.
Why new moms have sleep issues?
Besides the apparent reason moms can’t get enough sleep – i.e., your new, loud, demanding bundle of joy – there is something a bit more serious. Namely, experts claim that the period before and after birth is a breeding ground for insomnia. This can then lead to the development of postpartum depression.
A significant drop in reproductive hormones, along with the brain becoming more alert ( so you can take better care of the baby), is another important factor.
Get some sleep when your baby sleeps
It’s all about making the most of those few precious moments of peace and quiet. One of these is getting a nap when your baby is napping too. Close your eyes and take a nap, no matter how little sleep you think you might get. It adds up after a while and can mean the difference between being exhausted and being the regular kind of new mommy exhausted.
Also, try to put sleep as a priority. It’s even more important than “me time,” which is vital for your health and wellbeing. Your favorite show can wait, as can cleaning.
Quite often, a big problem for new moms is actually falling asleep, even when they get an opportunity to do so. Lying down and not being able to fall asleep is very common. Your mind is racing, a lot of stress is adding up, and relaxing feels impossible. It’s like you forgot how!
We suggest you practice a kind of mindfulness. Try some meditation exercises before bed, clear your mind, and try and center yourself. One of these exercises is breathing in for four seconds, holding your breath for four seconds, and then breathing out for four seconds.
A simple thing, but very important – you have to get comfy. Your body went through many changes, and what was one a comfy mattress is now too hard (or too soft), and doesn’t comfort your body. Similarly, it’s important to be comfortable while you’re feeding or resting with your baby, which is why many choose to invest in a recliner or reclining armchair. The inclined position helps to comfort infants who may have colic, gas or reflux, it’s also a soothing position if you fancy a snooze, plus there are even baby-proof recliner covers available nowadays for easy cleaning.
Allow yourself to sleep
Many moms feel a kind of guilt when they lay down and relax. They feel like every second of their time not spent on taking care of the baby, or the house, or your career, is time wasted. Feeling like you don’t deserve to sleep is illogical and unhealthy.
Indeed, recovering emotionally from childbirth can be difficult, and sleeping properly is a vital part of this process. Allowing yourself to sleep is the best thing for yourself (which should be enough), but it’s also the best thing for your family and your child. Being healthy means, you can be the best mom you can be.
Practice sleep hygiene
Working on establishing a sleep routine for your baby is just as crucial for your sleep, as it is for the baby. Namely, one of the core factors of good sleep hygiene is waking and going to bed at the same time. We understand that this is not always possible, so other sleep hygiene activities are probably more important.
For example, avoid using electronic devices before bed – the unnatural light will mess with your sleep. Don’t have any caffeine after 2 pm, and avoid alcohol as well.
When to see a professional
If all of these tips aren’t working, and you still can’t get any sleep, we suggest you see a professional. There is a strong link between postpartum depression and insomnia, as well as many other health concerns caused by a lack of sleep. Talking to a general practice doctor or a therapist can work wonders and can prevent things from getting really bad.
Being a mother is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Being a new mom is even harder. Losing sleep, working hard, juggling so many things at once can be exhausting. Paradoxically, due to a myriad of factors, it will become challenging to get some sleep during this time. We suggest you practice sleep hygiene, sleep while your baby is asleep, get as comfy as possible, and maybe start practicing mindfulness.