The importance of adequate sleep to recovering moms can NOT be overstated. Lack of sleep is a contributing factor to both postpartum anxiety and depressive feelings. There are many factors that affect a new mom’s ability to get the amount of sleep required to help her body heal and recharge her emotional batteries. Being aware of these three areas could help new moms to feel better about focusing on their rest.
IT’S NOT JUST PHYSICAL:
Postpartum recovery is not only about the physical trauma a mom’s body has gone through. According to healthychildren.org(1), the rapid drop in the hormone’s estrogen and progesterone, in the first 24-hours after delivery, is enough to trigger depression and mood swings similar to those during and after a period. Sleep deprivation symptoms include feeling overwhelmed, irritable, sad, tired, and having trouble concentrating(2).
TRUST YOUR PARTNER:
It is incredibly difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep when your mind is racing with worrying thoughts. Sure, it’s your night off and dad has taken on the responsibilities with the baby, but does he have everything he needs? Does he know the aspirator bulb is in the dish washer? There are literally dozens of things that can consume your mind and hypothetical situations that can prevent new moms from getting the sleep needed to be at their best.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY:
Sleep stages are critical to the emotional and physical healing our bodies need from sleep. There are 4 different stages that each of our bodies cycle through over and over each night. Rapid Eye Movement (REM), the stage where our memories and emotions are processed and stored, is pertinent to the benefits sleep brings us, but typically does not start until 90-minutes after falling asleep(3). The REM stage is when we dream and quality of sleep is often measured by how much REM sleep we got.