Postpartum insomnia occurs when new mothers find it hard to fall or remain asleep. It’s believed that this condition may be common in the first few months. This may be due to stress, hormonal fluctuations, anxiety and sleep interruptions caused by the need to feed and care for the baby.
Insomnia could severely affect a new mother’s quality of life if left untreated. This is because it could lead to postpartum depression (PPD). PPD could cause them to isolate themselves or have feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness. Besides that, it could also make them have suicidal thoughts or feel like harming their baby.
Tips For Managing Postpartum Insomnia
If you’re struggling with postpartum insomnia, it’s vital to overcome the condition as early as possible. This way, you might avoid its adverse effects. Some women may prefer taking sleeping pills to help them get enough sleep. If you’d like to do the same, first consult your doctor because some drugs may not be safe to take while breastfeeding. Your physician may prescribe suitable medicines for a safer and successful recovery.
Besides taking sleeping aids, there are several things you could do to overcome postpartum insomnia. You can:
Postnatal exercises may promote high-quality sleep. This is because they could help your body release hormones like serotonin and dopamine, which is directly related to improving your mood. As a result, you could become less anxious or stressed, which could enable you to sleep better.
Additionally, it’s believed that a woman’s progesterone hormone levels drop after birth. Progesterone’s primary function is to support pregnancy and regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle. The hormone is also thought to induce sleep by affecting the melatonin levels in the body. Melatonin is a chemical substance that enhances sleep at night. Low progesterone levels may cause melatonin reduction. As a result, it may be more difficult for new mothers to fall or stay asleep.
Exercising may help balance your progesterone levels. This way, your melatonin may increase too, promoting sleep at night. However, avoid over-exercising as it may also dramatically lower your progesterone levels.
That said, you must also ensure that your body is ready for physical activity. This way, you’ll reduce the risk of joint pain, pelvic discomfort, and injuries that could result from exercising too much or too early after delivery. Consult your doctor beforehand so they can advise you when it is the right time to start and recommend safe postpartum exercise routines suitable for you.
2) Develop A Sleep Routine
Developing a sleeping routine for your baby has its advantages. You, as a mom, could also benefit from your baby’s regular slumber schedule. This is because, over time, you’ll also get used to the routine. Your mind will know when it’s time to relax and rest.
To enhance sleep, consider taking a warm bath, reading a book, meditating, or listening to soothing music. These are examples of simple tasks that could help calm your body and relax your mind. As a result, you could fall asleep more easily.
3) Change What You Consume
Changing what you consume could also help you manage postpartum insomnia.
For instance, caffeine makes you stay alert during the day. However, an excessive amount could cause insomnia. If you must take coffee, tea, or anything else with caffeine, keep your daily intake to a minimum. Also, it may be advisable to avoid this substance in the afternoon or evening, as caffeine is thought to last several hours in your body.
Avoiding alcohol may also be recommendable. Even though it could help you fall asleep, it may cause disruptions in between because you have to wake up several times to use the bathroom. It’s also believed that alcohol can interrupt your circadian rhythms – a natural process that controls your sleep and wake cycle. As a result, you’ll be up frequently at night or before you’ve had enough rest.
It may also be recommendable to prioritize healthy foods that promote sleep during the postpartum period. Some may include proteins like fish and nuts, dairy (or non-dairy) products such as plain yogurt, vegetables like lettuce, and fruits such as mangoes.
Postpartum insomnia is a common condition that many women may struggle with within their postnatal stage. If you’re facing a similar problem, this article advises that you consider exercising and developing a routine. Also, limit caffeine, avoid alcohol, and eat healthy foods that boost levels of melatonin to help you sleep well at night.