Postpartum Insomnia Help for New Mums
5 min read
Last Modified 12 June 2023 First Added 16 May 2023
We understand the challenges that come with welcoming your precious bundle of joy. Exhaustion, never-ending washing piles, and sometimes postpartum insomnia. This is when, as a new parent, you struggle to catch some much-needed shut-eye, no matter how exhausted you are. Your mind becomes a whirlwind of thoughts, worries, and “to-do” lists, making it tricky to drift off into dreamland.
But worry not; if you’ve been battling those sleepless nights, help is coming. Join us as we explore the causes and, most importantly, gentle strategies to help you find solace in slumber again.
Both hormonal changes and lifestyle adjustments play a role in causing postpartum insomnia. First, let’s talk about the hormonal hurricane that sweeps through your post-baby body. After birth, your levels of estrogen and progesterone drop quickly. These hormones play a vital role in your sleep-wake cycle, and the change can throw your circadian rhythms off balance, making you feel tired during the day and wide awake when darkness falls. It’s like your body’s internal clock gets a little confused.
But wait, there’s more. Night feeds and the symphony of baby sounds (from adorable coos to unexpected cries) can also make it harder for you to catch those precious Zzzs. And let’s not forget the never-ending worry that comes with being a mum. You become a 24/7 guardian, constantly vigilant for your baby’s well-being. Every tiny whimper or rustle can send your heart racing, leading to sleepless nights.
Postpartum depression, also known as perinatal depression, can present another challenge to getting restful sleep. This condition, which affects some new mothers, can bring about intense feelings of sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion. According to research, insomnia can both contribute to and manifest as a symptom of postpartum depression. One study discovered that new mothers who struggle with sleep are 3.34 more likely to experience depression compared to those who sleep soundly.
From creating a cosy sleep sanctuary to embracing the power of relaxation techniques, we’ll guide you through this journey of reclaiming restful nights.
Dim the lights, embrace comfy bedding, and keep the noise levels low. Make your sleep environment a haven for relaxation and tranquillity.
Explore relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises, meditation, or gentle yoga to calm your mind before bedtime. Practice mindfulness to let go of racing thoughts and find inner peace.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy for insomnia is an effective treatment. CBT treatments may involve intentionally facing anxiety-inducing situations and maintaining a journal to jot down your thoughts and reflect on your emotions related to those thoughts throughout the day.
Develop a soothing routine that signals to your body it’s time to wind down. It could involve taking a warm bath, reading a book, or listening to calming music. Consistency is key, so stick to your plan each night.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Rally your circle of support, whether it’s your partner, family, or friends. Share the nighttime responsibilities to ensure you get the sleep you need. Remember, it takes a village.
Take advantage of daytime naps when your baby sleeps, and sneak in some much-needed rest to replenish your energy levels. We understand this is easier said than done, as you probably have a million and one things to do, but it’s important to try.
Maintain a balanced diet and stay hydrated. Nourish your body with nutritious foods that promote good sleep. Avoid heavy meals close to bedtime, and limit caffeine and sugary treats, as they can disrupt your sleep.
Engage in light exercises like gentle walks or postnatal yoga. Physical activity helps alleviate stress and promotes better sleep. Just be sure to avoid intense workouts close to bedtime.
Join support groups or online communities where you can connect with other mums experiencing postpartum insomnia. Share your stories, seek advice, and find solace in the company of those who understand.
Be patient with yourself. Remember that adjusting to the demands of motherhood takes time. Celebrate every small victory, and practice self-compassion along the way. You’re doing a fantastic job, even on those sleep-deprived days.
Read more – how to sleep better at night.
Postpartum insomnia varies from person to person, and typically, it can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Insomnia comes in two forms: acute, which is short-term, and chronic, which is long-term. Acute insomnia typically lasts a few days or weeks, while chronic insomnia can persist for three months or longer.
As your body adjusts to the changes brought on by childbirth and your baby’s needs evolve, you’ll gradually find your way back to restful nights. The trick is to be patient with yourself, embrace self-care, and reach out for support and professional medical advice when needed.
Asking for help is vital as insomnia has been associated with many health issues, including heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and other conditions such as depression and anxiety. According to a study involving 10,000 adults, individuals experiencing insomnia had a five times higher risk of developing depression. In that very same study, individuals with insomnia had a twenty times increased likelihood of developing a panic disorder.
Remember, dear new mum; you’re not alone in this sleep-deprived adventure. With the right support system around you, we can tackle postpartum insomnia together and bring back the well-deserved beauty of sleep into your life.
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