I Need More Sleep

February 1, 2020

Meeting many new parents during the years, questions come up about health, feeding, sharing, the dos and don'ts of parenting. But lately many parents are asking me about how to sleep after you become a parent. This article caught my eye. I hope this helps with your sleep after reading this article.

 

"The Key to Better Sleep When You Have a New Baby

Fatigue is a common side effect of parenthood. Here’s how to know when it’s a symptom of a bigger problem.

 

THE GIST

  • Fragmented sleep can leave you as tired as insufficient sleep. Aim for at least four hours, uninterrupted.

  • Tiredness and fatigue are not the same thing. You can alleviate the former by getting more sleep, but fatigue doesn’t always respond to extra rest. 

  • If you have trouble falling asleep, make sure you’re practicing good sleep habits like sticking to a sleep schedule and avoiding caffeine and alcohol, especially late in the day.

  • Insomnia can be both a trigger for and a symptom of postpartum depression. 

  • Parents should reach out to a medical professional if they have long-lasting fatigue, or think they might have a sleep disorder or postpartum depression. 

I pulled many all-nighters in college, but I didn’t know what it meant to be truly bone-tired until my daughter was born. The baby slept only an hour or two at a time. My husband helped, but in the early days, I was the only one who could feed her. Even after she started sleeping for longer stretches, my exhaustion seemed to grow worse. One day, I tried to start my car by clipping the dog’s leash to the ignition. “Is it normal to be this tired?” I wondered. I couldn’t find a clear answer. None of the baby sleep books I’d read mentioned parental fatigue. 

 

WHEN TO WORRY

It’s common for parents to feel exhausted after the baby arrives. Newborns don’t follow typical sleep patterns. They wake often, and some may even sleep more during the day than they do at night. But intense exhaustion beyond the early weeks could be a symptom of something other than parenthood. Here are some signs you might need to seek the help of a medical professional:

  • You’re snoring. This could be a symptom of sleep apnea, a breathing disorder that causes frequent night wakings, said Dr. Montgomery-Downs. Some studies suggest that pregnancy can increase a woman’s risk of developing sleep apnea, and the problem can persist even after the baby is born.

  • You experience frequent limb movements that disrupt your sleep.

  • You have persistent trouble falling asleep or returning to sleep after the baby wakes.

  • You feel depressed or anxious. You’re having trouble taking care of yourself. You have lost the desire to do things you once enjoyed. These can all be signs of postpartum depression.

  • You routinely fall asleep at inappropriate times, such as while holding the baby. 

  • Your reaction time is impaired. You’re constantly dropping things or failing to practice good driving habits.

Parents should feel free to reach out to a healthcare provider or even ask to see a specialist, Dr. Montgomery-Downs said: “These are not symptoms to just live with.” 

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