The Impact of Sleep Loss on Mothers and 9 Tips on How To Overcome It
Impact of Sleep Loss on Mothers
It’s easy to joke about middle-of-the-night feedings, and there are plenty of memes about moms who never sleep. Well-meaning people give new moms plenty of dark predictions, like “Say goodbye to sleep,” and offer contradictory advice, like “Make sure you rest, mama!” Whether you’re a seasoned parent or expecting your first child, you’ve likely heard lots about sleep and kids.
Sleep Deprivation is Serious
The truth is, the reality of sleep deprivation is serious, and helping mothers get enough rest should be a family priority. It can seem complicated, but there are ways to begin taking control over sleep and ensure that mom is getting the sleep she needs. I’ve teamed up with Sleep.com to share practical ways to increase the amount of quality of sleep you get as a mom.
Sleep-Deprived Mothers: The Health Effects
Sleep may seem like a luxury when you’re a mom, but it’s an absolute necessity. When sleep deprivation sets in, the physical effects are numerous. You may see:
- Dark bags under your eyes
- Weight gain
- Suppressed immune system
- Decrease in sexual desire
It’s not just about adding more concealer to disguise the dark circles; it’s important to recognize the severity of even short-term sleep deprivation.
Side Effects of Prolonged Sleep Deprivation
What happens when mom doesn’t get any more rest? If it persists, sleep deprivation can cause serious and long-term effects, such as:
- Depression and anxiety
- Other sleep disorders like sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, circadian rhythm disorders, parasomnias, and insomnia.
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
Sleep is the body’s opportunity to rebuild, recover, and restore. When it doesn’t get the chance, systems begin to break down. It’s not a matter of laziness; it’s a matter of absolute necessity.
Tips for Sleep-Deprived Mothers
1. Sleep when baby/toddler is sleeping
When baby goes down for a nap, do everything you can to prioritize your own sleep. Set down the dishes; let the laundry wait. Take that opportunity to allow your body to rest. You will catch up on tasks later, and if you’re rested, you’ll be able to catch up on the time you lost.
2. Wear Comfortable Clothes
Find some cute loungewear that makes you feel good, but is easy to rest in, like these joggers that are as soft and comfortable as your bed sheets. The time will come for those stylish jeans; for now, embrace soft, forgiving clothes that you can fall asleep in easily if the opportunity presents itself.
3. Have a Good Pillow and Replace It Often
If your pillow is flat, stays folded, or is yellowed, it’s time to replace it! An old, limp pillow can lead to back, neck and body pain, and can keep you from getting sleep when you’re finally able to lie down. If you’re a side-sleeper or expecting, this TEMPUR body pillow is incredibly comfortable and shapes to your body to provide the support you need.
4. Make a Schedule and Stick to It
Though it may be challenging, make every effort to stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Even if your baby will be up in a few hours, continue going to bed at the same time anyway. A regular sleep schedule, particularly going to be at the same time every day is linked to better quality sleep. Bonus: it helps set the stage for healthy sleep habit for your kids, too.
5. Negotiate Shifts With Partner
It’s tempting to try to manage everything yourself as a mom. Societal pressures and expectations are strong, and it can feel like it’s all up to you. In fact, you need to take care of yourself properly in order to continue to take care of your family. Work with your partner, if you have one, and determine a schedule that allows both of you to rest.
6. Say Yes to Help
Especially important for single mothers, accepting help is essential. If a relative or friend offers to lend a hand, ask if they will hold or play with the baby while you nap. Let others help with grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, or caring for any other children in the family.
7. Say No to Added Responsibilities
There will be time to take on new challenges, but not during the time you’re still adjusting to a newborn or working with a toddler’s sleep struggles. Have the courage to say no now, so you can stay healthy and say yes later.
8. Practice Healthy Sleep Habits
Make sure you’re in a good state of mind to encourage high quality sleep. Try meditation, breathing techniques, or journaling. Turning off your phone before bedtime is a great way to reduce the effects of the blue light on your circadian rhythm and help you fall asleep faster. Also, try yoga at night before bed to put your body in the most relaxed state possible.
9. Use a Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets can often improve sleep by making you more comfortable, and stimulating the deep pressure sensation of a tight hug or a baby’s swaddle. If you haven’t tried a weighted blanket yet, look for one like this BlanQuil Basic Weighted Blanket. It has both quality and style with a good weight, breathable material and sleek duvet cover.
Every Little Bit Helps
Putting in extra effort to improve your sleep quality can feel like a chore when you’re staring down sleep deprivation, but it’s totally worth it. Make sure you enlist your family and your support system when implementing these tips! A happy, rested mom makes a happy family.