As moms, there are so many things in this journey that are joyful and fill you with love. There are also experience that make you question if you wanted to be a mom in the first place. Being sleep deprived for way longer than you thought was humanly possible in one of those that might have you questioning. It's no secret that getting a full night's sleep becomes a rare luxury when caring for a newborn and beyond. Today, we will explore this common and demanding issue that new mothers face, sleep deprivation, and why it's crucial to address it promptly for both mental and physical well-being. After all, quality sleep isn't just a personal indulgence; it's a necessity, especially when caring for a tiny human.
The Impact of Sleep Deprivation
Let's take a look into the world of sleep deprivation in new moms and uncover its effects on both mental and physical health. Sleep deprivation as a new mom isn't merely about feeling tired; it's about the relentless exhaustion that seeps into every aspect of your life. Imagine nights filled with interrupted sleep, constant diaper changes, and soothing a fussy baby. It's no wonder new moms often find themselves on an emotional rollercoaster, finding it hard to connect with their partners, difficulty thinking of ways in interact and connect with their babies, not being able to think and more!
The consequences of sleep deprivation as a new mom aren't confined to the mental realm; they extend to our physical health as well. Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to weakened immune function, weight gain, and an increased risk of chronic diseases. As new mothers, it's essential to recognize the seriousness of sleep deprivation and the profound impact it can have on our well-being.
Tips for Sleep Deprivation as a New Mom
As moms, the only thing that we can control is ourselves and what we do. We unfortunately cannot control our babies sleep or our partners and support system. So what can we do when getting a good nights sleep isn't always up to us, or in our control. Let's explore practical and actionable tips that can help new moms enhance the quality and quantity of their sleep. Begin by creating a consistent bedtime routine. Yes, this will also have to be flexible depending on the night, if you have support, if your baby is sleeping... Even if your sleep routine changes times, or is interrupted, try and complete the same routine as it signals to your body that it's time to wind down. Consider soothing activities like reading a book, taking a warm bath or shower, or practicing gentle relaxation breathing or journaling activity. These activities can signal to your body that it's time to transition from the busyness of the day to relaxation mode.
Optimizing your sleep environment can also make a world of difference. Ensure your room is dark, cool, and quiet. No need for blackout curtains, just make sure you turn off the lights and have something covering the windows. Keep the house as close to 65 degrees as possible. Make it cold enough to need a blanket when you go to sleep. Your body temperature changes throughout the night. It is a lot easier to regulate your temperature with blankets than it is to get up and change the thermostat. Turn off the music, and use earplug if you need to get it quiet. (You will still be able to hear our baby through the earplugs if they are in the same room as you.) If you need noise to fall asleep, consider white or brown noise rather than music. Investing in a comfortable mattress topper and pillows that support your body can significantly enhance your sleep quality.
Nighttime feedings are a given with a newborn, so how to we get back to sleep faster after being woken up at night? Keeping the lights dim and minimize stimulation during nighttime feeds works wonders. While you are feeding, try and have the least amount of stimulus possible. Lay down or recline while you are feeding and even closing your eye when you can to try and stay in that restful state. Keep a try of midnight snacks and drinks near where you feed so that you can quench your thirst and hunger easily and without turning on lights and getting out of that relaxation mode. Change diapers at the same time you feed so that doesn't cause another waking. Try and use the bathroom before or after feedings so that you are not woken up with a full bladder when it isn't time to feed. This will help both you and your baby ease back into sleep more quickly.
Coping with Sleep Deprivation in New Moms
Coping with sleep deprivation as new mom requires resilience and self-compassion. It's essential to build a toolkit of coping mechanisms and strategies to navigate the day-to-day challenges posed by sleepless nights.
One of the cornerstones of managing sleep loss is self-care. When I talk about self-care it is just that, taking care of yourself. Not this lofty idea of a spa day or getting your nails done, I mean eating when you are hungry, drinking water and taking a shower! Recognize that taking care of yourself is not selfish but a necessity. It's okay to ask for help, whether from your partner, family, or friends. If you feel like you don't have time to shower because the baby might need you, start off with your support being with the baby in the bathroom while you shower. You and your baby will eventually learn that there will be sometimes that mom is not available. This is great for your baby to be able to attach to other people in their lives. Babies do well with experiencing different ways of caregiving. It might not be done exactly how you want it to be done, but they are safe and being loved on. You can take the 10 minutes to get in some food, shower or go walk to the mailbox by yourself. Delegating tasks and allowing yourself to rest during the day can make a world of difference.
Seeking support is another vital component. Connect with other new moms who understand what you're going through. Share your experiences and challenges, and you'll likely find comfort in knowing you're not alone on this journey. Support groups can provide a sense of community, learning, validation and empathy that is invaluable during this time.
Remember that addressing sleep deprivation as a new mom isn't just a luxury; it's a necessity for your well-being and your ability to care for and attach to your newborn. By applying the provided sleep tips and coping strategies, new moms can significantly enhance their sleep quality, overall health, and well-being. Prioritize your sleep, and you'll find yourself on the path to a happier and healthier postpartum experience, one night at a time.
Remember, you are not alone on this journey called motherhood.
Hi, I’m Kristina Anzell, I am a Clinical Social Worker dedicated to providing specialized and compassionate mental health support for moms postpartum. My mission is to empower you to thrive in your role as a mother while nurturing your own well-being. If you enjoyed this blog post, check out my blog here! If you want more information or are seeking treatment, feel free to reach out!