How Important Is Sleep for a New Mom

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A new mom is constantly running around tending to her baby’s needs, always tired. A baby in the house means there’s plenty of work 24/7. You’re baby will need your attention and care always and so will the rest of your family. Eight hours of blissful sleep may seem like an unreachable goal at this point. True! But however impossible it may seem, you need to get some rest. Here’s why:

The Importance of Sleep

The effect of fragmented sleep goes beyond a tired body, it also affects how you think and cope. This makes a range of daily activities problematic, from balancing the cheque-book to conjuring up the patience to deal with a cranky toddler. Because without sleep you will be exhausted.

Newborn Sleep Patterns

Your infant’s sleep patterns are nothing like yours. At 3 months, your newborn spends 50 to 80 percent of sleep time, compared with your 20 percent. Second, his/her sleep cycles run approximately 50 minutes while yours is 90.

All of this means that you’re newborn will wake up easily, sleep for shorter periods no more than three to four hours at a time.

If your baby’s awake so are you, which means you’re on call throughout the night to feed and comfort him/her.

Why does the number of awakenings matter more than total hours?

Sleep fragmentation causes a significant decrease in your deep sleep. That’s because each time you get up and then go back to bed, you have to start the sleep cycle all over again, entering the light stages before you return to deep sleep. The result: exhaustion.


Helpful Sleep Tips

– Make up for lost sleep by sleeping a bit more during weekends.

New moms shouldn’t try to be more productive during baby’s nap time. A 20-30 minute nap will refresh you. Make note not to sleep any later than 2.00 or 3.00 pm. That may interfere with your bedtime.

– Trade off middle of the night feedings if possible

Taking on round the clock feedings can lead to serious sleep deprivation. It may make sense to rotate nights. One person does all the feedings while the other sleeps. That way, at least one person gets a good night’s sleep. Instead of both of you getting fragmented sleep. Breastfeeding mothers might consider pumping milk so Dad can take care of at least one nighttime feeding.

– Turn down the baby monitor.

Newborns are active sleepers. If your baby is groaning or whimpering in the night, that doesn’t mean you need to leap out of bed. Teach your baby to sleep through the night. By 6 months, most babies are capable of sleeping seven to eight hours at a stretch. To encourage your baby to fall back to sleep on his/her own in the middle of the night (instead of crying for you), put him/her to bed while she’s still awake. Weaning her from whatever strategies you’ve been using to soothe her to sleep (nursing or rocking, for instance) will teach her not to rely on these when she wakes up.