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The Importance of Your Sleep Health During Postnatal Depression
Life after baby is never the same as life before baby. If you are a new mother you already know how precious your sleep is to you. If you happen to be experiencing postnatal depression, your sleep health is even more important- for your well-being and for your newborn’s. Don’t fret, I’ve found some tips for new mothers with postnatal depression that can help them get their sleep back on track.
How Can New Mother’s Improve Their Sleep?
As a new mother who is diagnosed with postnatal depression, one of the most vital things you can do for yourself is to ensure that you get plenty of rest. Many times the postnatal depression will leave you feeling exhausted, (along with the duties of being a new mother), but due to the constant feeding, changing, and care of your baby you can often find yourself lying awake at night unable to actually get to sleep.
A great way to help unwind when you are in bed, or let’s face it, the couch, is using a technique called sleep meditation. Sleep meditation is a technique that allows you to reach the ultimate relaxation, both physically and mentally. Sleep meditation will help you to fall asleep quicker and it improves your relaxation. During the sleep meditation, you can reflect upon your day and the things you have to be grateful for in your life.
The relaxation as well as the mindful gratefulness will improve your mood. You will feel calmer and have a more positive outlook on life when you can feel grateful for the things in your life each day.
What are the symptoms of postnatal depression?
Postnatal depression can happen to any new mother just after she has given birth or even several weeks later. Emotional and physical symptoms of postnatal depression can include:
- Constant crying with an inability to stop
- Memory loss or difficulty concentrating
- Feelings of being unable to cope
- Feeling hopelessness
- Low mood
- Lack of interest in the baby as well as activities or those around you
- Persistent sadness
- Low energy
- Difficulty sleeping at night
- Feeling exhausted during the day
If you are a new mother and you are experiencing any or all of these symptoms, it is advised that you speak to your OB/GYN or general practitioner for further advice or diagnosis.
Best Techniques for Improving Sleep Health as a New Mother
Sleep disruption can affect the entire family, especially when postnatal depression is involved. The lack of sleep and nearly every night in a row of REM cycle interruptions can leave the new mother in a zombie like state due to the lengthy periods of sleep deprivation.
According to Huffington Post, many new mothers do not recognize the signs and symptoms of postnatal depression so the vicious cycle of no sleep or low quality sleep will continue to grow with each passing night. Postnatal depression can seriously affect the bond between the mother and baby. Not to mention the mother’s pregnancy hormones will significantly drop.
It is important to remember that postnatal depression is quite common and it does not mean that you are a bad mother. It also does not mean you will always feel this way and not be able to enjoy being a mother and the things motherhood brings.
That being said, there are several tips and techniques a new mother with postnatal depression can take advantage of to get their sleep on the right track. After all, a good night’s rest can leave you feeling much better and with more energy to face the day ahead.
Best Tips for Improving Sleep Health as a New Mother
Make Sleep a High Priority
First things first, according to Sleep Health Foundation, you have to make sure that sleep is number one. With a newborn getting quality sleep is hard to come by so make sure that your support system – friends, family, spouse, and/or co-workers understand and respect that you will sleep when you can.
Limit or Minimise Other Responsibilities (especially during the first three months)
Learn to say no and be assertive. You’ve got a lot on your plate right now as it is with the new baby and making sure you are in tip top shape. Since there is a new arrival in your family, this will attract visitors, far and wide. Think about turning off your phone and putting out a sign that reads ‘Mother and baby sleeping – Do Not disturb’.
Sleeping When the Baby Sleeps
Taking frequent naps during the day alongside the baby’s sleeping schedule is better than no sleep at all. Make sure that your bedroom is set up for sleep anytime day or night. Make sure the space is quiet, dark, and comfortable so you can get some shut eye in while your baby sleeps too.
Learn to Let Certain Things Go
While it may seem hard to do, try not to obsess over the state of your home or the pile of laundry in your room. Or worrying about playing host to any guests you may have. Let your support team help you. And don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Allow Others to Help with Feeding
If you are choosing to bottle feed your baby, allow someone in your support system to give you a hand with a feeding session so you can catch up on your sleep. If you are not using formula, it is possible to breast pump your milk when you have established a good flow so there will be plenty of milk on hand for a quick bottle.
Night Time Feeding
Make sure that you are in a quiet and dim lit space when you are doing any night time feeding. This will allow you and your baby to get back to sleep even easier after feeding time is over.
The Final Word
Keep in mind new mothers, that it will get better in time! The first three months will be the most challenging and after that, the baby will sleep for longer cycles at a time, which means you will too. Stay on top of your sleep health during postnatal depression so you do not get worse!
What techniques do you use to help you get more sleep with the new baby?
Bio: Sarah is the editor of sleepydeep.com. Feeling the repercussions of being an irregular sleeper for far too long, she decided to do something about it. She learned why sleep is so important and how to maximize it, and is now helping others who are struggling to find their right sleep routine.