• Caroline

Postnatal A-Z: S for Sleep

My Postnatal A-Z is back today with S for Sleep!

Who here gets enough good-quality sleep each night? Even before babies, I would be pretty tired the next day if I hadn’t slept enough, or had had too much alcohol. One of the biggest shocks to the system when entering motherhood is no doubt the lack of sleep, or the disruption thereof.

Many of us know the benefits of eight hours of zzz: a stronger immune system, better mood, more energy, improved concentration and retention of information. In a new mum, the initial baby blues can turn into something longer-lasting once the sleepless nights get thrown into the mix. I've mentioned this before: I'm pretty sure that my postnatal depression was prolonged and deepened (if not also triggered) by the sleep deprivation I experienced.

So what are new mums to do, seeing that some sleep disruption is inevitable? Having a nap or rest when the baby sleeps is one of the best things you can do. One of the reasons for this is that sleep deprivation is accumulative. In the early days, adrenaline will see you through but there often comes a point where it all catches up with you. Here are a few other things that may help:

🌿Do some gentle exercise or go for a walk to boost your energy levels and mood 🌿Avoid doing overly strenuous exercise as this will further break down your body when it's trying to recover from child birth and the lack of sleep (remember our tissues heal when we rest) 🌿Spend time in nature to ground yourself and get that much-needed dose of vitamin D and fresh air to boost your immune system 🌿Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself (laughter is medicine!) 🌿Reduce your to-do list to a bare minimum to give you headspace and reduce stress levels 🌿Spend as much money as you can afford on help (be that a cleaner, baby sitter or anything else that will ease the load for you - remember, this is not forever, but a worthwhile investment in your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing). One of the things several of my friends invested in was a night nurse which made a big difference to them 🌿Ask for support from family, friends or professional therapists if you're not coping

Let me know what has worked for you ❤️

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