I’m thinking I must have Pregnantsomnia because much of what I faced with postpartum insomnia I am now facing as a pregnant mama with my toddler running around. Nonetheless, these six tips to fight postpartum insomnia apply to me now too and I think they can help many a mamas, but especially those new moms.
I am by no means a professional and I am only sharing what worked for me. If you are battling insomnia then I would encourage you to seek guidance from your physician.
I remember when Bubby started to sleep longer stretches at night as a new baby. He’d sleep four, five maybe six or even seven hours of sleep. Not me. I’d roll over and look at the clock and it’s 2:00AM. I’d start thinking “I’ve got a couple more hours, maybe even one, before he’s awake again. Go back to sleep. Go back to sleep.” Nothing. No sleep at all.
Some women it hits right away. For some, it takes its time, showing its ugly face right when you start to feel “normal” again. Insomnia. Unfortunately, for most women who suffer postpartum insomnia, depression may be lurking around the corner. According to the National Sleep Foundation, insomnia and depression tend to go hand in hand. We already know that those who suffer with sleep disorders need to be wary of the onset of depression. So why does postpartum insomnia get so easily overlooked for moms who experience postpartum depression?
Most women are told it’s normal to run on no sleep during those early newborn months. We laugh about the 30 minute power naps we take a few times a day to get through a 24 hour period. Women are made to believe that sleepless nights are normal and will pass. You know, maybe in a year or two when the kid starts sleeping through the night. Most women need the tools now to curb their sleepless nights which may dial down postpartum depression. Here are a few strategies that you can try right right now in an effort to get a better night’s sleep.
Quit trying to nap when the baby naps.
Some women just don’t nap well or can’t pull off the power nap. If anything, you lie there, agonizing over the fact that you’re not sleeping while the baby is sleeping. Instead of trying to nap every time the baby does, use those times as rest time but only pick a nap during the day when you know you just might actually fall back to sleep.
Get some exercise and get outside.
Many moms groan at this one but don’t underestimate the power of stimulating your body. Let’s define exercise real quick for the new mom. It is NOT jumping right back into your old workout routine. It is NOT pushing your body too soon physically. Sometimes a simple walk around the block will do wonders for your morale and your body. Maybe it’s doing that annoying 10 minute total body workout video you bought from WalMart. Whatever is, give it a simple try. We think we should be able to sleep because we haven’t had very much sleep to begin with, but studies show that a short time of physical exertion helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Quit surfing Facebook before bed.
If you’re like most of us smartphone-loving moms, you check your Facebook during that middle of the night bottle feed or nursing session. Studies upon studies tell us we need to put our electronics down at night. For this strategy to be effective, we should put them down about an hour before we turn out the lights. This definitely eliminates checking your Instagram while you’re nursing at 2:00A.M. The simplest way to explain this reasoning: the lighting on your electronic devices makes it hard for your brain to shut down to fall asleep and to stay asleep.
Try to not look at the clock when you wake in the night.
This strategy alone helps some individuals reduce anxiety with mid-night wakings because they aren’t aware of how long they’ve been awake. Keep yourself from running in a vicious circle, agonizing over how you’ve been awake for the last hour. Turn off the stress, and you may fall back to sleep sooner than if you were aware of the time on your clock. Plus, looking at the lighting on your clock may be too stimulating for your brain.
Try turning the baby monitor down a notch.
This doesn’t mean turn it off. We already know that women are more sensitive to their baby’s noises than men are. But sometimes we hear every little move the baby makes and wake when we don’t need to. Try different volumes during the day to gage what you’re comfortable with. Maybe move the monitor in your room so it’s not so close to your bedside. Find an option you’re comfortable with so you won’t worry about it.
Just get up and do what you can’t stop thinking about.
This might sound counterproductive, but if you’re laying there thinking about laundry, the grocery list or something else you want to get done, then it might serve you better to get up and do it quickly so you can quit thinking about it. Don’t make this a habit but it could be a valuable option if it will help you go back to sleep.
Seek help and counsel if you feel your sleep loss is greatly impacting your mood and attitude.
While this is the last strategy, it is certainly not the least. Many women fight a silent battle against postpartum insomnia, while they’re dealing with depression. Don’t let yourself be one of them. Talk to your provider or a friend who may be able to give you some advice on how to receive help.
What about you Only a Season Mamas? Any other tips you would add to help encourage one another?
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