Why Sleep Is Important For Moms | Hea Boosters
People sacrifice sleep for all sorts of reasons - a night of partying, attempting to cope with the extra workload, perhaps even a night of merely relaxing and watching Netflix.
For new moms, however, sleep deprivation just comes with the territory. With erratic and all-too-frequent feeding cycles, diaper changes, household chores, mental task lists, the innate desire to manage everything all by oneself and constant social demands, sleep really does get the short end of the parenting-priorities stick.
What most mothers do not realise though is that prolonged lack of sleep can also impact their mental health, increase anxiety and stress (for both them and their baby), and also reduce their immunity and impair their health overall.
6-7 hours of sleep in one go is likely to be an uphill task initially but, sleep is too crucial to be ignored entirely since quality and quantity of sleep play a major role in a new mom’s life.
Why is sleep so important for moms?
- Lack of sleep may exacerbate postpartum depression:
When you haven’t slept well for a long time, the body reacts by increasing cortisol, your stress-response hormone, which causes you to experience anxiety, over-react to minor things, as well as alters your mood.
The additional stress causes your body to store more fat, and as a double-whammy, it starts preferring to break down muscle tissue for energy instead of burning fat.
Worse still, it can seriously impact the quality of time that you spend with your little one. When your mind is tired and distracted, you may not be able to give your best to or bond with your baby.
- May affect the quantity of your breastmilk:
It is no secret that stress negatively impacts the production of breastmilk. Between lack of sleep and adjusting to the baby’s schedule, rising levels of certain stress hormones such as cortisol can dramatically reduce your milk supply.
Seeking and accepting help from your partner, family members, and friends when it comes to daily chores, errands and non-breastfeeding parenting requirements will allow you to get some me-time so you can rest, recover, and maintain an adequate milk supply for your baby.
- Affects your productivity at work and at home:
If women in general face barriers at work, sleep-deprived moms returning to work after maternity leave takes things to a whole new level.
Even a single night’s poor sleep could hamper reasoning, problem-solving, and verbal abilities, such as understanding someone in conversation or comprehending written articles. Moms have many many many such nights which directly impacts your productivity and decision-making abilities.
It is not easy to work the entire day and come home to care for your baby, plan meals, labour through chores and take care of your health even when you are fully rested; it is nearly impossible to do all of this when you are sleep deprived.
5 ways to start getting more sleep:
- Alternating night feeds when possible (with your partner or support person)
- Nap whenever you get a chance, try and coincide your nap times with those of your baby
- Have a friend, sitter, or relative help with childcare so you can sleep
- Hire help
- Make your environment conducive to sleep
On a parting note, stop guilting yourself out of sleep. It’s hard enough to come by for new parents as it is, so do not sacrifice your sleep unnecessarily. Listen to your body when it starts sending you signals to power down and do not be apologetic about it.
Fatigue affects your judgement, causes you to be irritable, prompts feelings of depression, reduces your milk supply, makes you forgetful and makes you prone to accidents, none of which bode well for anyone.
So go take that well-deserved nap, because believe it or not, getting enough sleep really is the best way for you to take care of your baby and enjoy motherhood to the fullest.