5 remedies to help YOU sleep
5 remedies to help YOU sleep
When my son was a few months old, and I was deep in the midst of sleep-deprivation & “mommy fog”. Lucas was still sleeping a lot better than most newborns. I would only have to get up once, but most of the time twice or three times for 3 months. That being said, I don’t do well on broken sleep & I cried. A lot. Lucas was a good sleeper relativity early. We think it’s because of his weight! He’s always been in the 97th percentile. When he finally did start sleeping well, I discovered something — he could sleep through the night, but I couldn’t! Suddenly, I was the one waking up multiple times each night, unable to fall back asleep, while my son slept peacefully in his crib. I would constantly check the video monitor each time I woke up.
Turns out, I had postpartum insomnia. It often affects moms much more than dads, and it’s pretty common!
all collected information on Postpartum Insomnia is research based.
What Is Postpartum Insomnia?
Postpartum insomnia happens when an exhausted mom, one who desperately needs rest, is unable to sleep even though her baby’s sleeping soundly. Postpartum insomnia has been linked to postpartum depression, but it can also appear on its own, without any noticeable depression symptoms. I personally has a mild PPD and thankfully after about 4-5 months got past it. I did reach out and ask for help, however I found once I asked for help I started to manage and crawl out of the depression.
Moms who struggle with postpartum insomnia often say that they feel on edge, and unable to relax. They anxiously lie awake and listen for their babies, afraid that if they fall asleep, they won’t hear their little ones cry. And when these moms finally do fall asleep? They’re often awoken by the slightest sounds (or even “phantom” sounds that aren’t real.) This was true for me; when I was struggling with postpartum insomnia, I’d often awake convinced that I’d heard my baby cry, only to find that he was sleeping peacefully. Or I would wake from a nightmare and would often if Lucas would wake in the middle of the night sleep with alight on because I was convinced someone was watching me (Spiritually) it didn’t feel like a good spirit either. I believe it was just paranoia.
How To Beat Postpartum Insomnia & Get The Sleep You Need
There’s no fast fix for postpartum insomnia, unfortunately. But if insomnia is something you struggle with, there are things you can try to overcome it:
Watch your caffeine intake. Limit yourself to one caffeinated drink per day, and make sure to drink it before noon. This will help ensure all caffeine is completely out of your system by bedtime. I personally cut it out completely for a while and switched it for a turmeric latte.
Turn off all screens (computer, TV, and phone) at least an hour before bed. Research indicates that using electronics before bed is terrible for our sleep. Electronic devices stimulate brain activity (not a good thing right before bed), and some researchers have found that the back lighting from these devices may actually lower our melatonin levels. (Melatonin is the hormone that controls sleep.) I 100% believe this because the last couple of weeks gearing up for blogtober I have been laying awake because my head is in my screen from 8:30PM - 12-1am.
Create a soothing bedtime routine. Take a bath, read a book, drink some herbal tea, meditate! — do anything that helps you “turn off your brain” & unwind. Having a bedtime routine in place will also help signal to your brain that bedtime is approaching, and as those of you who do bedtime routines with your kids will know, that can be really helpful in promoting a good night’s sleep. I have to take my own advice and go to bed earlier & get off the screens earlier.
Consider using a white noise app, or machine. This was so helpful for me. I found that the constant hum of my white noise machine helped me to relax, and it masked all the tiny, slight noises that were making it so hard for me to sleep at night. You can also download white noise apps, if you’d rather not pay for a machine. I really like my app that’s just called White Noise. LOL
Try blackout curtains or eye masks. Light has never made it hard for me to sleep, but it used to drive my husband crazy! He has an eyemask when the video monitor goes off. Even a little bit of light made it impossible for him to get to sleep! If that’s the case for you, think about investing in some good blackout curtains, or maybe even an eye mask.
Try deep breathing and muscle-relaxing techniques. Simple, slow, rhythmic breathing can do wonders to help you relax and feel drowsy. You can also try focused muscle-relaxing techniques to help you calm down and feel sleepy. I used this one a lot when I was struggling with postpartum insomnia: I’d slowly tighten a muscle, and then relax it. Doing this over and over really helped me to intentionally relax my muscles, and it went a long way towards helping me at least feel sleepy or I would honestly count sheep in my head.. I normally get to 40 or so and then fall asleep. I’m not kidding!
Ask your partner for help. If your partner or spouse is available at night, consider enlisting their help. Maybe your partner could give you a shoulder massage at bedtime, to help you relax. My husband used to scratch my back while I was trying to fall asleep, and that helped a lot. Or maybe your partner could agree to be the “on call” person at night, and listen for the baby, so that you can tune out and sleep (provided, that is, that you can trust your partner to actually wake up to the sound of the baby crying!) Even asking your partner to stay awake with you for awhile can help you feel less alone and anxious. My husband understands when I have anxiety or if he falls asleep before me I am doomed to stay awake against my will because my body just wont let me sleep! It’s odd but it happens.
Look for herbal, natural remedies. Certain essential oils such as lavender and jasmine, have been proven to help people sleep longer. Certain foods can also promote sleep, like cherries, honey, and chamomile tea. Vitamin and mineral supplements can help, too — magnesium and iron are two minerals known to help promote better sleep. I have a sleep spray I use nightly that has a blend of essential oils and a key note of lavender. I also have another spray (spray crazy I now) that is Magnesium oil that has helped me sleep recently from a brand called Só Luxury.
Have you struggled with Insomnia before? If so what helped you?