Every new mom is told to sleep when the baby sleeps. When you finally become a mom, you will realize it’s easier said than done.
Postpartum, you may be really exhausted, but when you finally get into bed, you toss and turn with no sleep in sight!
It’s frustrating. Because you honestly want to get some rest before the baby is up again!
Sadly, this phase of not being able to sleep does not only last for the newborn stage. It can linger on for so many years if nothing is done about it.
I suffered from postpartum insomnia and the more I researched, I realized it can become a motherhood thing!
According to this research, only 10% of adults sleep well. This statistic is worrying because poor sleep can have serious consequences.
Dear Mama, this and why you can’t sleep and this is what you can do about it…
1. It starts from pregnancy
Every pregnant woman hates the discomfort that comes with sleeping in pregnancy. Starting from the first trimester, there is waking up to pee which interrupts sleep and sadly gets worst right to the third trimester.
Another cause of poor sleep in pregnancy is finding the perfect position for sleep when the bump gets bigger and the terrifying pregnancy dreams!
2. Postpartum insomnia
As if not being able to sleep in pregnancy is not bad enough, a lot of new moms suffer from postpartum insomnia. Sleep when the baby sleeps sadly becomes a delusion because they are unable to sleep. This is because they’re either battling with postpartum depression, stress, anxiety, or the excitement of having a new baby.
3. Breastfeeding or feeding
Waking up so often to breastfeed can ruin your night’s sleep particularly doing it with the lights on.
A. If you get an extra hand so you sleep. It’s particularly useful if your husband is supportive or you have a relative living in or a nanny to help care for the baby. However, you’d have to ensure you have pumped milk or they’re well vexed with the instructions of formula feeding your baby
B. Wean from night feeds. Read this post for how I weaned my daughter from night feeds. You can start once they have been introduced to solids. This will get them sleeping through the night so you also have uninterrupted sleep mama.
4. Screen time and light exposure
It’s time to put the smartphone phone down! Although social media is useful, it’s also a big distraction! Tech devices including smartphones, laptops, tablets, and even TV emit blue light. This light suppresses the production of melatonin and decreases sleepiness.
5. Stress and anxiety
It’s difficult to sleep when there a million things racing on your mind. Or things making you anxious, stressed, or worried. Stress accounts for more than 50% of the lifestyle reason why people can’t sleep.
Big meals, spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol are likely to interfere with a good night’s sleep. Spicy food can cause heartburns, big meals will make you uncomfortably full and in the long run, contribute to weight gain. Caffeine can take up to six hours to clear from the body thus, keeping you awake at night. Alcohol-induced sleep is also normally light and not restful.
7. Circadian rhythm disorder
If you’re tired but can’t sleep, your circadian rhythm may be off. The circadian rhythm is the body’s internal clock. It aligns our sleep and wakefulness with day and night to enable us to rest at night and stay active during the day. If your circadian rhythm is off, it means proper signals are not being sent to the body to trigger sleep resulting in the inability to sleep, fragmented, or shallow sleep.
Sometimes it happens because we’ve put off sleep for so long. “Oh let me…” return this call, reply to this message, catch up on, clean, cook… Sleep gets postponed every single time!
Are your goals keeping you up at night? This is closely related to anxiety as these tasks and timelines we set for ourselves could also stress us out.
By all means, set goals Mama. But make sure they’re realistic and not overly ambitious. If your goals are stressing you out, re-evaluate them and make adjustments.
9. Baby waking up so often
If your baby wakes up a million times a night, how do you ever get some sleep?
If your baby wakes up so often, check out these baby sleep mistakes probably keeping you and your baby up.
In conclusion, avoiding these baby sleep mistakes makes your baby a good sleeper right from the onset.
Other sleep disorders like apnea, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy require medical diagnosis and treatment.
Notwithstanding, here are some little things you can try today for a better sleep.
Minimizing screen time
Cutting down screen time especially before bedtime limits light exposure. Most smartphones can show you the usage of your smartphone. This also enables you to set limits for overall usage or limits for how long you use specific apps.
However, it is also useful to make a conscious effort to limit or stop using your smartphone or devices two hours before bedtime. Yes, you can!
Set a routine
You may have heard that babies thrive on routine! Well, it’s true but it’s not just babies- attempting to go to bed and waking at the same time every day helps set the body’s circadian rhythm. With time, the body gets used to sleeping and waking up at the same time and establishes a healthy sleep routine.
Establishing a sleep routine for yourself as a mom can be a tough one particularly in the beginning. But once you commit to it, it gets easier with time.
Big meals, spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine should be replaced by lighter meals and sleep-inducing snacks like walnuts, cherries or cherry juice, and green tea before bedtime.
Every mom needs support postpartum. Someone to help with household chores, cooking, running errands, and sometimes holding the baby so you can shower. If your significant other is unavailable or unwilling, hire someone or take on those offers of “… is there anything I can do to help”?
Prayer and meditation
As a mom, you do not have all the answers. You can only do your best and pray for the best. Instead of thinking, stressing and worrying about every little thing , prayer about everything. You may not have all the answers but you certainly know someone who does!
Exercise is known to improve insomnia. About 30 minutes aerobic of exercise will immediately help you improve the quality of your sleep. Source.
Melatonin is a hormone that reduces wakefulness and alertness. It is produced by the brain in response to darkness and helps with the timing of the circadian rhythm.
Although naturally occurring in the body, a sleep disorder is indicative that the levels are not sufficient or not being adequately utilized by the body hence the need for the melatonin supplement to help boost uptake or increase production.
Melatonin supplements are sold in pharmacies. However, you should still talk to your doctor before buying or taking them.
Use of essential oils
The use of oils such as sleepyize, sniffleease and lavender from Young Living essential oils produces a calm effect. Their oils are made up of ALL-NATURAL active ingredients that are known to alleviate discomfort, stress, and anxiety, ease aches and pains, reduce inflammation, improve sleeping, and help with recovery.
Sleepyize oil into your diffuser might just be what you need to create a calm and relaxing atmosphere for bedtime. In Ghana, you can purchase these oils from talkative mom.
Overall, sleep improves physical and mental well-being. If you’re not sleeping well or losing in on sleep, you’re sadly losing out on so many benefits. Finally, getting a night of good sleep helps you to be a better mom. You’re more rested, less grumpy, and ready to take on any challenges that may come your way!
Do you sleep? How many hours of sleep are you currently getting Mama?