For new mothers, getting proper sleep can be a common problem. When mothers have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, they probably have postpartum insomnia. It can be challenging to adjust to life as a new mother. Many physiological changes can affect many parts of a woman's health. Sleep is one of them. Postpartum can make getting proper sleep feels impossible. It is vital for new mothers to be aware of the symptoms, causes, and treatment of postpartum insomnia so that they can be prepared to get the help they need and give their new child the help they need.
Symptoms of Postpartum Insomnia
Primarily, if a woman is having problems falling asleep or staying asleep, that is a clear sign of postpartum insomnia. Although, there are other symptoms women should recognize.
If a woman is experiencing postpartum insomnia, it is also very possible that they are also struggling with anxiety and depression. In addition, they may also have bouts of irritability and mood swings which is understandable when they receive little to no sleep because of their insomnia.
Causes of Postpartum Insomnia
There are a variety of reasons a new mother may experience postpartum insomnia. One is that their newborn has not yet developed their proper sleep-wake cycle. This means they will wake up often throughout the night and disrupt a new mother's sleep.
A new mother may also be healing from any birth trauma that may have happened during the birth of their child, which can lead to a lot of emotional and physical damage. In addition, the physical postpartum changes can be physically uncomfortable for new mothers, primarily during the first few days after childbirth.
In addition, they may also have developed an iron deficiency and are anemic. If the new mother experiences heavy bleeding during childbirth, they are at more risk of developing anemia, and a result of that can be a rise in sleep problems.
When a mother brings a newborn home, there is a lot to process physically and emotionally. It is a huge life transition, and several emotions may surface. For example, anxiety and depression can become a big issue and create sleep issues leading to postpartum insomnia.
Treatment of Postpartum Insomnia
There may be many mothers who believe that postpartum insomnia is just part of the postpartum period, but there are things that they can do to prevent and treat their insomnia.
One important rule that every new mother should follow is to sleep when the baby is sleeping. It is a classic bit of advice, and it is still popular. A new mother must rest as much as possible, so taking advantage of when the baby is sleeping is imperative.
Creating a sleep haven within the bedroom and practicing sleep hygiene can also help prevent and treat postpartum insomnia. Making the bedroom as comfortable and relaxing as possible can help a new mother unwind at the end of the day and promote better sleep. Keep the bedroom dark and avoid too much screen time in the evening.
It is also beneficial to follow a loose routine around bedtime, such as trying to go to bed and wake up around the same time each night. But, of course, the baby's needs come first, so the timing must be adjustable to fit their schedule.
Sleep when your newborn is asleep
This is arguably the golden rule for new parents. Immediately your newborn falls asleep; you should strive to get some sleep as well. You should avoid using your phone or resorting to watching a show on TV, instead, you should sneak in as much rest as possible. Sleeping when your baby falls asleep is quite challenging for most mothers and is difficult advice to live up to.
Newborns have very unpredictable sleeping patterns. They can have a nap at any time, wake up within fifteen minutes of sleep and fall asleep again after a couple of minutes. This annoying sleeping pattern makes it difficult for mothers to follow. In the same light, newborn mothers often have postpartum insomnia and experience difficulty in falling asleep. It may not be possible for mothers to fall asleep as soon as their newborns fall asleep. However, the bottom line is, that parents with newborn babies should try getting more sleep when their newborns are asleep.
Habits play a significant part in developing your newborn’s sleeping patterns. If you train your baby to sleep through the night by avoiding unnecessary interruptions and frequent feeding during the night, you may be able to get an uninterrupted goodnight's sleep. This, however, is only possible after a few months and not for newborns.
There are many other tips to aid a new mother's sleep, such as limiting caffeine and alcohol consumption, getting some exercise, and trying deep breathing techniques. But overall, simply knowing that postpartum insomnia is a common problem among new mothers can be an encouragement. They are not alone in their struggle, and if their struggle to sleep continues, reaching out for support from other mothers or doctors will be beneficial.
At The Alaska Sleep Clinic, we provide consultation and therapeutic management for a wide variety of sleep disorders, for moms and kids. We understand that your and your child's health is important to you and we want to assure you that our Board Certified Sleep Physicians are highly adept at treating all sleep disorders.