Just Talkin’ Tuesday 06.30.09

With last week’s debut so full of seriousness, I thought it’d be best to balance things out a bit with a lighter topic.


sleeping mamaAs parents, we all know how meaningful sleep can be – it’s precious lifeblood which lets us function – and when we don’t get it, World watch out! Unfortunately, those of us who struggle with a Postpartum Mood Disorder on top of the common parental experience of dazed consciousness are really in trouble. You see, it’s been proven over and over in research that sleep has something to do with our psyche. And guess what – lack of sleep can exacerbate symptoms of Postpartum Mood or Anxiety Disorders! Great, you say? Yeah, well, that was my reaction too when I first read the research. I mean, really, why did they even bother researching this topic? Isn’t it common knowledge? BUT… they did research it… and now we have something concrete to point to when our beloved partners are befuddled at our new-found obsession with sleep.

So here’s today’s topic:

Share with us what effect (if any) sleepless nights had on your Postpartum Experience. Did you sleep? Did you not sleep? When you woke up, were you rested or did you wish you could go back to sleep? What strategies did you use to help regulate your sleep? Did you read? Watch TV? Play on the Internet?

Here are some basic suggestions for those who are STILL struggling with sleep.

Get into a routine. At a certain point in the evening (if you can – we all know how unpredictable babies can be!), start a certain chain of events that will lead to you crawling er, collapsing into bed.

Once in bed, if you lay there awake, GET back up and go somewhere else. Watch TV or read for 30 minutes. Bathe, shower, drink some hot milk. Then get back in bed. Don’t stay in bed if you’re awake. This will cause you not to associate bed with just sleep. (which completely defeats the purpose!)

Have your partner take a night feeding and let you sleep for at least 5-6 hours at night. (Even if you’re nursing DO this – and have your partner get baby ready for nursing by changing diaper, etc, so you can get a few extra minutes!)

Remember – if you are not sleeping and/or have difficulty sleeping for more than a week, call your doctor. This is not the time to hold off on getting relief!

You can read more at this website about sleep disorders and difficulties.

0 thoughts on “Just Talkin’ Tuesday 06.30.09

  1. Stacey

    Great topic,

    I’ve always been the type that when I didn’t want to deal with something I slept. Also I’m lucky enough to have a husband that works swing shift so he got home right around that night feeding time in the middle of the night. So I got lots of sleep, however even after a solid 8 hours I felt exsausted.

    Now Colin’s sleeping through the night and I’m not. I tend to get up and read it usually does it. Or a nice warm bath.

    A trick my mom taught me was to lay in bed, tense up your whole body and then slowly focus on releasing the tension in one part of your body at a time till you do your whole body. By the time you’re done you’re asleep! It really does work still even after all these years!

    1. Lauren

      Mornin’ Stacey!

      I sleep a lot too when I don’t want to deal with something. But just like you, I am so not rested when I wake up! I also get very very grumpy when I don’t get enough sleep – which for me has to be a bare minimum of six hours a night.

      I can’t shower or bathe before sleep either – it wakes me up. I usually read a book or get online. Although getting online for me is pretty dangerous stuff – time flies so fast when I’m on here!

      I love the idea of tensing up your whole body! A trick I learned back in HS was to make each part of your body feel really heavy and by the time you reach your head, you’re asleep. Kind of the same approach, I guess.


  2. Heidi Howes

    Sleep is the most difficult thing for me. I never had trouble sleeping before PPD, but after son was born it was pretty bad. He was my first child and I didn’t have a clue! My husband is manic depressive so he absolutely cannot miss sleep or there are dire consequences, so him taking a night feeding was never an option. When my daughter was born my PPD finally became apparent to me because I stopped sleeping altogether. My daughter is now almost 3 and things are better but when PMS rolls around I still ahve some sleepless nights.
    Honestly I felt so relieved when I finally started taking meds (was afraid of this for the first 3 years I suffered PPD, long story) that ambien was like a godsend — I could function again! The worst thing was that if woken by the kids I could not get to sleep again. And for a working Mom whose brain actually had to function, it was a mess.
    For the longest time I had to follow all the sleep hygiene regimens of no coffee after 3 pm, go to bed at the same time each night, no tv before bed, all those little rituals. Oh, I feel for the sleepless mothers out there! All I gotta say is use the sleep aid! :)

    1. Lauren

      Heidi –

      Thanks for sharing your insight.

      I’m so glad you found something that worked for you. It’s important to remember to be open to all options of treatment even if it means combining some of them as you did – the medication and the routine of healthy sleep hygiene. I have a hard time falling asleep if I have caffeine too close to bed time and I have also had a hard time with insomnia here and there. My poor husband however; has struggled with insomnia most of his life – which was a godsend when the kids were little because he’d be up anyway. (His idea!) I however, have to have a decent amount of sleep or I am completely worthless so I completely get you there!

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