Top 5 Ways to Support Mom’s Sleep Postpartum
Getting Sleep After Baby
The overwhelm of a new baby can overshadow a mom’s ability to prioritize her own sleep, which is being frequently interrupted. Neglecting sleep can put your health at risk. Carolina Marcus, MD, of UR Medicine Sleep Center states, ‘‘Sleep deprivation is one of the most common post-birth side effects as well as one of the most damaging.”
Here are my top five ways to help support your sleep once your little has arrived:
- Prioritize your sleep. When you make sleep a top priority and adopt a “sleep is of utmost importance” mindset, you will be more likely to follow through with it. Know that it is okay to choose sleep over cleaning the dishes or doing the laundry: your health is much more important than chores.
- Nap when baby naps. A 20 to 30 minute power nap will help revive you without making you wake up in a groggy fog. (I became a pro at these during chiropractic school!) I do recommend keeping your naps earlier in the day (nothing after 3pm), otherwise it could make it difficult to fall asleep at night.
- Reduce distractions. When it is time to go to sleep at night, make the room as dark as possible. Use blackout curtains and turn your electrical devices off. Reducing screen time a few hours before bed, as well as in bed, is very helpful for restful sleep. The blue light that comes from the screen can throw off your circadian rhythms, making your body unable to understand when day and night is, thereby disrupting your sleep patterns and quality.
- Move. Exercise has been shown to help improve sleep. Take the BIRTHFIT Postpartum Series, work on connecting to your breath and the functional progressions. Go outside, enjoy the sun, and soak up some vitamin D.
- Don’t be afraid to call in backup. Ask friends and family for help with the baby and chores so you can take a sleep vacation. Take shifts with your partner at night. If you’re breastfeeding, I recommend having baby close to you so you don’t have to get up and walk far, or practice feeding lying on your side. You can even have your partner help baby latch so you can keep snoozing while your little feeds. Also, talk to your providers and coaches, and know that you have a tribe here to support you!
Your baby’s needs are important, but yours are, too. If you’re not getting adequate rest, put these tips into action as soon as possible!
Lacey Osterman, D.C.BIRTHFIT McKinney @birthfit_mckinney
Marcus, C., M.D. (2017, May). Maternal Sleep & Sleep in Infants [PDF]. Rochester: University of Rochester Medical Center, NYS Maternal & Infant Health Center of Excellence.