You already know how you'll feel the following day if you've ever tossed and turned in the night: worn out, irritable, and unorganized. However, sleeping fewer than the recommended 7 to 9 hours every night has effects that go beyond merely leaving you weary and irritable.
As a new mom, reading that you should get 7-9 hours of sleep a night might make you laugh with giddy exhaustion. The fact of the matter is, as a new mom, you might be lucky to get 3-5 hours of sleep a night. The first few nights, it might seem like you're a superhero, but after that, sleep deprivation may kick in. Continue reading to learn more about sleep deprivation, plus tips and tricks for new moms to make the most of the sleep they do get with sleep aids like a gel mattress topper queen for your bed. Forget a changing table. Mama needs a mattress topper!
Long-Term Impacts of a Lack of Sleep
A lack of sleep severely jeopardizes your physical health and depletes your mental energies. Scientific research has connected a lack of sleep to a number of health problems, including immune system decline and weight gain. There are plenty of reasons why people lose sleep, but for new moms, the reason has more to do with added responsibility than anything else. It takes a lot to keep up with your new tiny human. And, if this is your first child, it can seem very overwhelming.
Your body needs quality sleep to function at its best, just like it needs air and food. As you sleep, your body makes repairs and balances its chemical levels. Your brain helps you remember things by making new connections between concepts. If you don't get enough sleep, your body's functions and your brain won't work as they should.
Furthermore, it can greatly lower your quality of life. After a few days, this awareness strikes very swiftly. The following symptoms of sleep deprivation are warning signs:
- Drowsiness that seems extreme
- Frequently yawning and annoyance
- Fatigue during the day
The strong need for sleep that exists in your body cannot be satisfied by caffeine or other stimulants. In fact, making it harder to fall asleep at night can make sleep deprivation worse. This can lead to a loop of using caffeine throughout the day to compensate for the exhaustion brought on by not getting enough sleep at night.
Chronic sleep deprivation might disrupt your body's internal mechanisms and cause symptoms other than those listed above.
Your Central Nervous System and Sleep
Your central nervous system serves as the main information highway for your body. Sleep is necessary for your body to function properly, but long-term insomnia can affect how your body typically communicates and processes information.
When you sleep, your brain builds connections between neurons that help you remember new information. Lack of sleep wears out your brain, making it less able to perform its duties.
You can also find it more difficult to concentrate or learn new things. Additionally, if your body's signals are delayed, it will be more difficult for you to retain coordination, and it will increase your risk of accidents.
Lack of sleep has a detrimental effect on both your emotional and mental well-being. Increased irritability or mood swings are possible. It could also affect inventiveness and judgment.
If you don't get the sleep you need, you may begin to have hallucinations, which are false perceptions of sight or sound. Bipolar mood disorder sufferers may also experience mania when they are sleep deprived. A few more psychological dangers are:
- Impulsive actions
- Suicidal thoughts
You might also discover that you occasionally sleep during the day. During these episodes, you might momentarily or repeatedly nod off unconsciously. This is commonly referred to as microsleep.
Microsleep is uncontrollable and exceedingly risky if you're trying to care for your infant at the same time. Not to mention, you might already be dealing with anxiety and depression. You don't need the added stress of sleep deprivation.
A Lack of Sleep May Affect Your Immunity
While you're asleep, your immune system produces cytokines, which are defense-related molecules that fight infections, and antibodies. These substances aid in its defense against external invaders like bacteria and viruses.
A few cytokines can also help you go asleep, which strengthens your immune system's capacity to keep you healthy. Your immune system is not able to strengthen if you are sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation might slow down your body's ability to fight off invaders and heal from illnesses.
The last thing you need when you're caring for your newborn is to get sick. Working to ensure you're sleeping enough is vital.
Other Health Issues as a Result of a Lack of Sleep
The respiratory system and sleep have a reciprocal link. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a respiratory condition that occurs during the night, can cause sleep interruptions and poorer sleep quality.
This can result in sleep loss, which makes you more susceptible to respiratory infections like the common cold and flu as you wake up throughout the night. Lack of sleep can exacerbate respiratory conditions already present, such as chronic lung disease.
Lack of sleep might be linked to gaining weight, along with overeating and not exercising. Leptin and ghrelin, two hormones that regulate feelings of appetite and fullness, are affected by sleep.
Leptin signals to your brain that you have had enough food. Without enough sleep, your brain produces less leptin and more appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin. The fluctuation of these hormones may account for late-night overeating or overnight munching.
You can feel too exhausted to exercise if you don't get enough sleep. Reduced physical activity over time can result in weight gain because you don't burn enough calories and don't develop muscle mass.
Lack of sleep also affects the amount of insulin your body releases after meals. Your blood sugar (glucose) level can be decreased with the aid of insulin. Lack of sleep also reduces the body's ability to tolerate glucose and is linked to insulin resistance. Obesity and diabetes mellitus can result from these changes.
For new moms, it almost feels like a rite of passage to go without enough sleep. It shouldn't be, though. In addition to being taxing and stressful, sleep deprivation raises the risk of further health problems if left untreated.
It takes a lot of work and energy to take care of a newborn, especially for the mother who is still recuperating from childbirth. It can be difficult for both parents to get used to being parents. To feel their best and manage their new roles as caregivers for the newborn bundle of joy, the entire family requires appropriate sleep.
Tips and Tricks for New Moms (and Dads)
The truth is that you have no control over how frequently your infant awakens you at night. But that doesn't mean you're destined for restless nights. Your ability to fall asleep and the quality of your sleep can both be greatly impacted by changing some of your pre-bedtime routines.
Fill Your Day With Grounding and Soothing Activities
Even more than what you do right before bed or at bedtime, what you do during the day may have an impact on you. New mothers need to schedule time each day to do something they enjoy in order to maintain their sense of balance. Simple solutions like having a lengthy bath, calling a friend, or going for a short walk around the block could suffice. Including relaxation in the day will aid in better sleep.
Limit Screen Time Before Bedtime
Before going to bed, sleep specialists advise not to use electronics like your phone, computer, or TV because the light they create might be stimulating and interfere with your sleep.
It can be tempting for new mothers to use their phones before bed to look up parenting tips and tools, especially since alone time is so infrequent. But because of the blue and green light that devices produce, using a screen right before bed can make it difficult to fall asleep. Our bodies will create the stimulating hormone cortisol as a result of these light waves telling our brains it is daytime, making it difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep.
Establish a Calming Sleep Ritual That Includes a Bath
When you have a baby, time is a valuable resource, so introducing something new to your routine might seem daunting. But even a small time increase in your bedtime routine could have a significant impact. A bath is a terrific way to start a bedtime routine. It will aid in calming the body and mind. Additionally, taking a bath reduces body temperature, which promotes sleep because it takes two degrees of a drop in body temperature for us to fall asleep.
Speaking of temperature, consider the gel mattress topper queen for your bed. You might be familiar with this amazing mattress topper from college, but Sleepyhead makes queen and king toppers as well. The gel mattress topper keeps you cool through the night, as well as promoting spinal alignment, and increases your support. Our copper topper is also available in a queen size and it offers the qualities our gel topper offers except it’s also antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, hypoallergenic, mite and bed bug resistant, and eliminates odors. We also have a 60-return policy on both our toppers so you can try out your Sleepyhead and make sure it’s the perfect fit.
It might be a good idea to add in a few minutes of journaling to assist in processing feelings and worries that the new mom frequently feels. This helps get them out of your system before bed, so you don't suffer from a racing mind at night.
Alternate Who Wakes up With the Infant Each Night
If one parent typically takes over with the baby's nighttime feedings, consider more evenly dividing the responsibilities. If bottle-feeding, both parents should alternate getting up to tend to the infant. A new mom's emotional health will benefit if she is permitted to sleep for five hours straight in the first half of the night.
However, that might not be viable if you are breastfeeding the infant. If the mother is nursing, the dad might try picking up the child during night awakenings, changing the child's diaper, and then bringing the child to the mother so she can supplement feed in bed. Dad should keep a close check on mom to make sure she doesn't nod off, and after the feed is through, he should put the baby in the bassinet. It might not seem like valuable assistance, but it is. Sometimes just knowing someone is up with you, other than the baby, helps.
Ask for Help
Don't be hesitant to ask friends, relatives, or, if necessary, hire help if you need it; there is nothing wrong with doing so. Asking for help is something that most new parents and parents of newborns don't get enough advice on. Asking for help—and accepting it!—from family, friends, or service providers like postpartum doulas or sleep coaches is crucial.
Try to Snooze When Your Baby Does
You've probably heard that you should sleep when your baby does. This might give you a great opportunity to catch a few z's since babies sleep a lot during the day. But, because they sleep at unpredictable times and lengths, new moms might not see the benefit. Plus, there's typically a list of things they could be doing instead. That list often wins out. It's essential, though, in those early phases, to put off doing the dishes or the laundry and prioritize getting as much sleep as you can.
Adding Sleep Aids to Your Routine - Gel Mattress Topper Queen
It's essential to make sure your room is sleep ready. One way to do this is to add a gel mattress topper queen from Sleepyhead. You remember Sleepyhead, right? Our mattress toppers aren't just for college dorm rooms. We offer a variety of sizes so you can enjoy the same excellent sleep you had back then as a new mom!
The gel mattress topper queen is a 100% gel-infused memory foam mattress topper. The material allows for easy airflow at night, keeping you cool and comfortable. It comes with a washable cover for easy cleaning as well.
You might also consider a fan or white noise machine for your room to aid in sleeping. Others enjoy diffusing essential oils, such as lavender or a specific nighttime blend.
Whatever you do, make sure to focus on getting a good amount of sleep. It's not only vital for you, but it's also vital for the tiny human you're caring for as well. If you have any questions about mattress toppers from Sleepyhead, visit our website. We'd love to help you out. And, just think, in a few short years, you can send your new baby off to college with his or her own mattress topper!