Sleep deprivation and the birth of your baby do not have to go hand in a hand. With discipline, you can give yourself time to gain much needed sleep, which will allow you to reboot your energy levels. Catching up on sleep is not only important for your well-being, but for the rest of your family.
The National Sleep Foundation says that the average adult requires seven to nine hours of sleep every night. If these needs are not met, the individual will acquire what is known as “sleep debt.” The “debt” will increase as your hours of sleep diminish. New parents are prone to developing sleep deprivation.
A study presented at the SLEEP 2012 conference in Boston, USA earlier this year stated that sleep deprivation may increase levels of anxiety. This happens because the brain’s anticipatory reactions are heightened.
Leaders of the study noted that the findings put emphasis on the “importance of sleep for healthy emotional functioning.” Sleep is therefore a fundamental aspect of survival as it helps us to effectively respond to our environment.
Below are four tips that can help you regain your strength.
Sleep when your baby sleeps
It is common for moms to want to catch up on household chores when their new baby falls asleep. Perhaps there is a basket full of laundry, dirty dishes overflowing in the sink, or your favourite television show may be on. But even though you may not be used to doing this, taking a nap when your baby does, will help you boost your depleting energy levels.
As difficult as this may be, don’t be tempted to catch up on chores, even though you may feel obliged to do so.
Simply disregard the chaos in your home for a moment, switch off the television and your phone and catch up on some sleep. Make sure that the room is quiet and darkened too.
“Accept that your house is dirty and messy and go to sleep because once the baby is up, you have to be up too,” says Susan Zafarlotfi, Phd, clinical director of the Institute for Sleep and Wake Disorders at Hackensack University Medical Centre in New Jersey, USA.
“I do not care if you have piles of laundry all over the house—if you are too tired to drive your child to the paediatrician, you have a problem on your hands,” says Michael Breus, Phd, clinical director of the of the sleep division for Arrowhead Health in Arizona, USA.
Stop clock watching
Experts believe that looking at the clock over regular intervals will increase the likelihood of developing insomnia. Looking at the time, trying to predict how much time you have left to sleep, or constantly checking on how many minutes or hours you have until you need to prepare dinner is not a good idea. Before you know it, your baby will be awake.
During night time, formulate a schedule that allows both you and your partner to enjoy restful sleep. If your baby is bottle fed, take turns with your partner to feed him over the course of the night. If breastfed, then you can handle the feeding while your partner handles the diaper change. You and your partner should invent a schedule that is well-suited to lessen the sleep “debt”.
Ask family for help
Asking your loved ones for help is essential. Finding someone who you trust to help you with baby from time to time will ease the woes of being a sleep deprived mom.
“Each family can decide how to deal with handling household chores while they get used to their new baby and get the necessary rest to regain their strength as individuals and as a family unit,” says Denise Dame, executive director of Good Beginnings — a program that assists families with their newborns. “Hiring help is a great idea or asking family members or friends to pitch in can also provide some well needed relief from day-to-day chores.”
Hire somebody to clean the house
Getting help is the best way to relieve you from the chores. The weight of your responsibilities is lessened and you get to enjoy a tidy home.
Acquiring enough energy to get through the day should not be a luxury. Sleep is a physiological need which is required for healthy emotional functioning.
There are obvious advantages to getting enough rest. For example, staying awake and alert will prevent you from becoming a potential hazard on the road. Sleep also helps alleviate anxiety and makes you a happier mom, which is essential for your baby.