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Sleep-Deprived Moms: Expert Strategies for Restful Nights

Author: Gud Sleepz Team
Date:

Sleep-Deprived Moms: Expert Strategies for Restful Nights

Sleep-Deprived Moms: Expert Strategies for Restful Nights

Be patient with yourself. You and your baby are both learning new things each day” - Unknown


The challenges of motherhood are many but among them having constant sleeplessness and being awake almost all day taking care of your newborn is the most laborious task of all. We at Gud Sleepz are constantly on a lookout for the best possible way to help with sleep deprivation and we could never forget amazing mothers like you. So, let’s discuss some evidence-based strategies that could help you find relief during your difficult period of motherhood. We want you and your newborn to sleep like a baby. 


The sleep researchers are persistently trying to find a framework that would address the sleep concerns of mothers in a much more effective way. But most often it isn’t possible to give one remedy that would address all your sleep problems. Therefore, the strategies for sleep deprivation should cover aspects of your lifestyle, personal needs and your belief system. What do I mean by that? Let’s get into each aspect of sleep one by one to help you get a restful night. 


Before we get into the strategies to address sleep deprivation, we need to get the basics right. First of all, your sleep cycle is a step by step process from a light sleep to a slow-wave deep sleep to finally reach a dream state or REM. The sleep stages are usually divided into: NREM and REM. It basically means your body during REM has a series of eye movements and bodily movements which indicates active dreaming while you won’t be conscious of it. Why do these stages matter? 


During REM, your body goes through a series of restorative mechanisms to prepare for the next day. What happens to moms when they miss a series of nights of restful sleep? You tend to miss out on deep stages of sleep and REM sleep. The result is, confusion and mind fog (for eg. Did I change diapers? Did I pump the milk?) and burn out. There is good news and we would now look at how we can use this information to our advantage. 


Expert Strategies to Combat Sleeplessness 


  • Sleep whenever you can: Due to the repeated nights of sleeplessness, your body would directly go into deep sleep and REM to compensate and wouldn’t waste time on light sleep (not the important parts). So you get the essential sleep right away. So, all you have to do is sleep even if that means an hour or so. Do not worry about getting that 6 hours because here we want to work with what we have best in our hands. 

  • Make use of pumps for feeding: I understand that feeding is a very personal topic for most people and not fulfilling the duties as it should be feels a bit overwhelming for most mothers. But you can switch to feeding during night by pumping the milk and storing so the other partner (husband) can take care of your baby while you can get some shut-eye. 

  • Do not overburden with responsibilities: Most often new mothers get overwhelmed and focus on doing things right. This can lead to over-working, sleepless nights and eventually end up having burnouts and mental breakdown. This is extremely counterproductive in the long run and can lead to complete breakdown by letting go of everything. Therefore, cut some slack for you and set boundaries when you can’t. Or be aware of what responsibilities you take over. 

  • Delegate: The joy of family is sharing responsibility and most often we believe we are being a burden but in reality you are not. It’s their duty as well to take care of the baby and ask for help. Always remember asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness or considered as a ‘not good enough mother’. Therefore, delegate tasks and responsibilities so you can set time aside to sleep. 

  • Sleep when the baby sleeps: I know you’ve time and again heard this from every video and article. But I want to emphasise on this, let this be your mantra. There is no other time to sleep than when your baby sleeps. And most babies would sleep for about 6-8 hours straight after 6 months. So, do not worry about momentary awakenings of your baby. It’s normal. Just get your sleep and if possible delegate the other parent to take care of the child. 

  • Sleep the right way: Most often mothers would sleep on the sofa, table or just where the baby sleeps. Always remember that when you sleep, you sleep right. What do I mean by that? There is nothing better than going to your bed with blankets on and having the screen made dark. You would sleep right away if your surroundings are right than lying down wherever possible. Avoid that. Always keep your bed made so it feels comfortable for you to hop in when the baby sleeps. 

  • Lifestyle factors: I’m sorry to say that, you cannot have your pizza at night due to midnight cravings or due to baby stress. I understand that, it feels so good but it’s going to work the other way around in providing a good mood and good sleep. Make sure you do exercise probably in the morning or evening but never before bed. Always eat 2 hours before bedtime something light and easy to digest. No caffeine whatsoever during evening hours or at nights as it might affect your sleep and mood. Remember to put your lifestyle factors right to fix your sleep. 

  • Sleep Hygiene: We need to emphasise that sleep hygiene is also important for you. You can drink chamomile tea, do the bedtime routine and set a series of activities to do during the night if you are awake. It’s important to avoid light and prefer night lights instead. Do the things the right way and your baby would also learn to sleep at night through these routines. The more irritable you are, the baby is going to catch up on that. 

  • I hope these strategies will help you sleep better and have a restful night. 


    Good night!


    References


    Kempler, L., Sharpe, L. A., Marshall, N. S., & Bartlett, D. J. (2020). A brief sleep focused psychoeducation program for sleep-related outcomes in new mothers: a randomised controlled trial. Sleep, 43(11), zsaa101.

    Sadler, L. S., Banasiak, N., Canapari, C., Crowley, A. A., Fenick, A., O’Connell, M., ... & Redeker, N. S. (2020). “If mommy’s not cranky, everybody else survives another day.” Sleep Perspectives from Multiethnic Community Parents, Pediatric Providers and Childcare Providers. Journal of developmental and behavioural paediatrics: JDBP, 41(7), 540.

    Tags: mom , sleep

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