Postpartum Sleep Deprivation - Effects, Signs & Symptoms

Postpartum Sleep Deprivation

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One of the first things that will hit you once you become a parent is the incredible love and tenderness you feel towards your newborn. Well, the next thing that will hit you even harder is the sleep deprivation that comes as part of parenthood.

If you have ever seen a new parent, you probably already know those tell-tale signs such as the panda eyes, the inability to focus and the spaced-out look. Sleep deprivation after having a baby, also known as postpartum sleep deprivation, is more prevalent than you think. The good news is, there are ways in which you can cope with it. And, if you are looking for some effective tips to sleep better after you have had your baby, read our post here.

Symptoms Of Postpartum Sleep Deprivation:

Here are some of the symptoms of sleep deprivation in new moms:

  • Feeling sad or overwhelmed about little things or without reason
  • Feeling extremely emotional about issues that did not trigger such reaction earlier
  • A feeling of being tired all the time
  • Feeling a heaviness in the body and limbs
  • Not being able to sleep even if you are exhausted and sleepy
  • Getting irritated all the time
  • Sudden and extreme mood swings – going from jubilant to morose within minutes
  • Difficulty in concentrating, in remembering things
  • Being unable to focus or take decisions
  • Not being interested in activities that were earlier of interest
  • Becoming lonely and avoiding social contact
  • Going through sudden bursts of anger
  • Finding it difficult to develop an emotional attachment to your baby
  • Blaming your baby for making you feel so tired and sleepy and getting angry at your child. WARNING: speak to your doctor, partner, or family members immediately
  • Finding fault with yourself for feeling tired and sleepy all the time
  • Finding fault with yourself in your ability to be a good parent
  • Getting sudden thoughts about harming yourself or harming your baby. WARNING: please immediately speak to your doctor, partner, or family member and ask for help
  • Suffering from headaches or body ache or falling sick regularly
  • Having no appetite or experiencing a sudden increase in appetite which is more than you would usually eat while breastfeeding your baby

[ Read: Tips To Handle Postnatal Insomnia ]

Effects Of Postpartum Sleep Deprivation:

Being sleep deprived can have negative consequences on your overall health. Here are some of the effects of postpartum sleep deprivation:

  • It can wreak havoc on your immune system and make you prone to diseases and health issues
  • It can prevent you from losing weight, even if you have already started eating healthy and exercising. In some cases, it can also cause you to gain more weight.
  • Being sleep deprived puts you at a greater risk of getting into accidents or being prone to trips and falls.

How Can You Cope With Postpartum Sleep Deprivation?

Here are a few effective ways in which you can take care of your health and manage your sleeping routine:

Here are a few useful ways in which you can take care of your health and manage your sleeping routine:

1. Lie Down Even If You Are Not Able To Sleep:

You may not be able to sleep yet and may feel that lying down will just be a waste of time. However, try and lie down as much as you can and get some shut eye. It will help your body to rest and recuperate, even if you are not able to sleep.

2. Ask Your Partner To Help Feed Your Baby At Night:

Pump the milk and let your partner or a family member feed your baby at night so that you can sleep for a few hours at a stretch.

3. Let Your Baby Sleep Next To Your Bed:

Place your baby on a cot next to your bed so that you do not have to get up and go to a different room each time you are lying down.

4. Reduce Distraction:

Sometimes when you can’t get sleep, you may want to use the time to catch up on social media or other distracting activities. Switch off everything, including your mind, and just lie down and rest.

[ Read: How To Tackle Postnatal Depression ]

5. Cut Down On Coffee:

You may want to drink more coffee to help you cope with sleep deprivation, but it will have a negative impact on your sleep. Reduce your coffee intake as much as you can, and certainly not after the afternoon.

6. Deep Breathing Exercises:

Try and practice deep breathing as you lie down, by taking in deep breaths and exhaling slowly.

Postpartum sleep deprivation in new moms is a serious health issue which can have long-lasting effects on your overall health. Make sure you speak to your doctor about it and try ways that will help you sleep better.

Moms, do share how you managed to find sleep after having your baby so that it can help other new moms too.

[ Read: Postpartum Stress ]

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