There are few things more frustrating than barely being able to keep your eyes open during the day only to toss and turn all night long. Welcome to the world of postpartum insomnia. But before you start Googling "how to survive on no sleep," know that there is hope for a good night's rest. It might be from one of your baby gifts!
Whether you're trying to figure out if you have postpartum insomnia or are just looking for some tips on how to deal with it, we'll cover what's causing it and how to get better sleep tonight.
What Causes Postpartum Insomnia?
There are a variety of factors that can contribute to postpartum insomnia, including hormone changes, stress, and the demands of being a new parent.
We know, we know—it's dangerous to blame everything on hormones. But let's face it, they can wreak havoc on your day-to-day life, and your sleep is not exempt.
During pregnancy, your body produces higher levels of the hormone progesterone. This helps relax muscles (including those in your uterus) but can also lead to feeling sleepy and tired during the day.
But once you give birth, those hormone levels drop rapidly—which can impact not just your energy levels but also your ability to fall and stay asleep.
The stress of being a new parent is real. And while it's exciting to welcome a new baby into the world, it can also be overwhelming and exhausting. This stress can manifest itself in many ways, including trouble sleeping. You might be worried that your baby is safe during the night, or constantly thinking about everything you need to do during the day.
Also, if you've recently had a difficult or traumatic birth experience, that can also contribute to postpartum stress and insomnia.
Demands of Being a New Parent
By now, you know that having a newborn can be demanding. But even if you have a great support system and are able to get some help with caring for your baby, it's still tough.
Newborns typically need to eat every 2-4 hours (sometimes more frequently) and can wake up multiple times during the night. This can lead to interrupted sleep and can make it hard to fall back asleep after feeding or rocking them to sleep.
How to Tackle Postpartum Insomnia
1. Figure out your sleep hygiene.
The first step in improving your sleep is making sure you have good sleep habits or "sleep hygiene." This includes things like having a regular bedtime, avoiding screens before bed, keeping your bedroom cool and comfortable, and meditating.
2. Talk to your healthcare provider.
If you suspect that hormones or stress may be contributing to your insomnia, talk to your healthcare provider about potential solutions. They may suggest hormone therapy or refer you to a therapist to help cope with stress and anxiety.
3. Take advantage of naps.
If you're not getting enough sleep at night, try to squeeze in some extra shut-eye during the day. Take turns with your partner or ask for help from friends and family so that you can catch a few winks when the baby is sleeping.
We know this is a really hard one because you have so much to do during the day. But a 15-minute nap is going to help you so much more than getting those dishes done right away.
4. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
Know that it's okay to ask for help with your newborn, whether it's from your partner, family members, or hiring a postpartum doula or night nurse. This will give you some much-needed rest and allow you to focus on your own self-care.
5. Seek out postpartum support groups.
You don't have to go through this alone—connecting with other new moms who may be experiencing similar challenges can provide a sense of camaraderie and support. Your healthcare provider or hospital may offer postpartum support groups, or you can search online for local ones.
6. Use products that support baby's sleep.
Whether it's a white noise machine or sleep sack, there are many products designed to improve your baby's sleep (which in turn can lead to better sleep for you!). Talk to your pediatrician or do some research to find out what options may work best for you and your little one.
Remember—postpartum insomnia is temporary and treatable. Don't hesitate to reach out for help and take steps toward getting some much-needed rest. Your body will thank you.
Better Sleep With a Baby Merlin Sleep Sack
There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to dealing with postpartum insomnia, but we do believe that helping your baby get better sleep will help you too! That's why we created the Baby Merlin products—Sleepsuits and Dream Sacks—to support your baby's natural sleep patterns and promote longer, more peaceful nights.Our customers say they've seen an improvement in their baby's sleep within the first night of using Baby Merlin. Plus, it's made with soft and cozy fabric and has adjustable grow-with-me sizing to last your little one through those early months and beyond. Check out the Baby Merlin Sleep System and give yourself and your baby the gift of better sleep.