Everything you should know about Postpartum Insomnia

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Postpartum insomnia
Postpartum insomnia

Sleep becomes a luxury once your baby is here, most babies cry at night making it hard for the mother to sleep but if you haven’t been able to sleep even after a long and stressful day it could be a problem. It could be postpartum insomnia. Here is everything you should know about postpartum insomnia:

What is postpartum insomnia?

Postpartum Insomnia is a condition in which an exhausted new mom badly needs sleep but struggles to get any even though the environment is totally conducive to rest and sleep. It occurs to approximately 60% of women eight weeks after delivery. Postpartum insomnia is quite normal in women due to all the drastic physical, mental and hormonal changes your body goes through. It’s a natural phase of life and it gradually settles down. If sleep problems persist long after postpartum, you should consult a doctor.

What causes it?

Hormones

After delivery, all your hormones suddenly shoots down and it creates an imbalance causing the body to be extremely stressed causing sleep problems. Low estrogen levels cause sleep disorders and can also cause depression.

Baby

As a new mother, you have to feed the baby at odd hours. This can cause sleep disturbances. Sometimes you may take a long time to fall asleep after feeding the baby and at times sleep may not come at all.

Mood swings

Your moods become unpredictable after pregnancy. It is caused by postpartum anxiety, depression, stress and obsessive-compulsive disorders. These can impact your sleep habits and cause insomnia.

Night Sweat

Hormones in your body try to eliminate fluids that have had a role to play during pregnancy. Profuse sweating at night is a part of this process. It can make you sticky, hot and sleepless.

Symptoms of postpartum insomnia:

  1. Restlessness
  2. Tossing, turning in bed
  3. Too hot, too cold
  4. Hot flashes and night sweats
  5. Anxiousness about the sleeping child
  6. Strange dreams
  7. Sometimes hearing imaginary sounds like the baby crying, the bottle of feed falling on the floor etc.
  8. Light sleeping
  9. Waking up at slightest disturbances
  10. Mood swings
  11. Irritability
  12. A sense of great misery and/or hostility
  13. Extreme apprehension

Treatment for Insomnia:

Tea

Teas like chamomile and lavender tea have helped women feel better.A research on postpartum women recommended that consumption of chamomile tea for two weeks improved sleep quality and associated depression.  The fragrance of lavender can apparently induce positive emotions in a mother for her baby. 

Massage and yoga

Massage and yoga help women sleep better and improve sleep quality. You can do a massage with aromatherapy oils and lotions but do check if they interfere with feeding before you begin. You can also do some yoga for relaxing effects.

Supplements

Taking supplements that contain iron and magnesium are helpful and are known to have a prominent role in averting neurological problems. These supplements help elevate mood and sleep.

Sleeping pills

Taking some safe, gentle and non-addictive OTC sleep medicines like Nytol, Sominex or Simply Sleep can help. Take them for a short time. However, be aware that the main element in these medications is diphenhydramine, which can impact the flow of breast milk in some nursing mothers. There are natural products too like Serenity that can help. Make sure you consult your doctor before you take any of these.

How to deal with insomnia?

  1. Try to sleep every time your baby sleeps, it will help you relax and bond with the baby.
  2. Go to bed as early as you can giving you more time to fall asleep.
  3. Try wearing blackout masks
  4. Understand your baby’s sleeping cycle and make your sleeping cycle around it
  5. Share your workload with your partner, it will help you with the stress.
  6. Do activities that help you feel better, like walking, meditating, yoga
  7. Stay away from coffee
  8. Keep away all your gadgets away atleast an hour before you go to bed

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