Do you also suffer from postpartum insomnia? Do you feel that your body needs more sleep but you cannot sleep? Changes in the sleep cycle during and after pregnancy are not uncommon. However, it is important to know what is causing these changes and to seek immediate solutions to resolve the issue.
Childbirth is one of the most challenging changes that a woman faces during her life. Preparing for the arrival of a small, vulnerable creature can be very difficult, especially if it is the first child. Insomnia is one of the most common problems for pregnant women, especially in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Some studies show that about three-quarters of women experience symptoms of insomnia after pregnancy. These symptoms include difficulty falling asleep and waking up at night. In this article, Zhinmag will examine the issue of postpartum insomnia and tell you how to deal with it. In the following, you will read about Insomnia after childbirth, its causes and treatment methods.
What is postpartum insomnia?
At a time when you desperately need sleep, but even if the baby is sleeping properly, you still cannot get rid of postpartum insomnia. According to studies, 60% of women experience insomnia from the 32nd week of pregnancy and up to eight weeks after delivery.
These studies also showed that the duration of sleep in women in the first 32 weeks is 7 hours and 16 minutes, in eight weeks after delivery, 6 hours and 31 minutes, in two years after delivery is 6 hours and 52 minutes.
Mothers who suffer from this condition usually report that they are restless and alert. They tend to stay awake all the time to see if their baby is asleep and are worried about their baby crying. They have a light sleep and wake up to the slightest sounds.
Is postpartum insomnia normal?
Insomnia after childbirth is quite common. But if it persists for a long time after giving birth, you should consult a doctor. Managing and treating sleep problems as soon as possible reduces the risk of further complications such as depression and high blood pressure.
Common Symptoms of Postpartum Insomnia
Severe Insomnia after childbirth is usually accompanied by symptoms of postpartum depression. Common symptoms include:
- Mood fluctuations
- Severe irritability
- Severe anxiety
If you experience any of these, you should see your doctor immediately. Postpartum insomnia can be a minor problem for some, but can be a major health problem for others.
What causes postpartum insomnia?
Insomnia is one of the sleep disorders that affects about 10 to 30 percent of adults. Postpartum sleep problems can sometimes be caused by changes in the mother’s sleep schedule and pattern.
These problems are especially severe in the first six weeks after delivery and can cause the mother to fall asleep very hard, to be constantly awake or to have poor quality sleep. Insomnia after childbirth can lead to excessive drowsiness during the day and other disorders.
Sleep disorders are most common during the first few weeks after delivery. In fact, you should try to fall asleep after feeding the baby at unusual times, and sometimes you may not be able to sleep again. Depending on the cause, postpartum insomnia can last for several months after delivery.
If these symptoms occur at least 3 times a week and continue for at least 3 months, the person may have chronic insomnia and if it is less than 3 months, it is called short-term insomnia.
The causes of insomnia after childbirth are explained below.
Causes of insomnia after childbirth
1- The baby needs constant care and feeding
Sleep disorders, insufficient sleep, and symptoms of insomnia are all common during pregnancy. Most mothers also experience sleep problems after giving birth. Babies wake up frequently and need constant care and feeding throughout the day and night. These demands will disrupt the mother’s sleep time and disturb her nighttime sleep.
2- Hormonal fluctuations and changes after childbirth
Women experience a lot of hormonal changes during the postpartum cycle. Major changes in hormones after pregnancy cause discomfort and difficulty sleeping.
These changes include a decrease in the production of progesterone (the female sex hormone that is hypnotic) and changes in the level of melatonin that the body produces in the evenings to cause drowsiness. Low levels of estrogen can lead to sleep disorders that are associated with depression. then, Take postpartum insomnia seriously.
These settings can affect a mother’s circadian rhythm and disrupt not only her sleep, but also her mood, appetite and other bodily functions.
3- Night sweats
After giving birth, certain hormones in your body try to clear the fluids that supported your body during pregnancy. This causes excessive sweating at night and causes discomfort and insomnia.
4- Postpartum depression
You will have a variety of emotions after having a baby. This can be due to postpartum anxiety, depression, postpartum stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. All of this leads to altered sleep patterns and sometimes insomnia.
Postpartum depression or perinatal depression can be another obstacle to a mother’s sleep. This disorder can cause emotions such as severe sadness, anxiety and fatigue. About one in eight pregnant women experiences postpartum depression.
Difficulty falling asleep and getting too much sleep are two common symptoms of this condition. Insomnia can be a catalyst or a sign of postpartum depression. A study shows that new mothers who suffer from sleep problems are three times more likely to suffer from depression than mothers who sleep well.
Postpartum sleep disorders can be a serious problem. These disorders affect negatively not only the mother but also the baby and the father. In addition, studies have shown that women who suffer from chronic insomnia after childbirth are at higher risk for postpartum pain.
Treating postpartum insomnia with cognitive behavioral therapy
Treatment for insomnia depends on the individual’s health and medical history, but symptoms may be reduced by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). One study found that cognitive-behavioral therapy can improve sleep patterns and insomnia in women and postpartum depression. Their morals also improve.
This type of treatment, which is usually provided by a specialist, involves identifying problematic or misconceptions about sleep and replacing it with healthier attitudes. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) may include:
1- Sleep training
mothers with postpartum insomnia and other sleep disorders can solve their problems more consciously by learning more about how sleep works and what they can do to get a better night’s sleep.
2- Sleep hygiene
The term sleep hygiene refers to actions that improve sleep, such as:
- Follow a proper daily routine
- Having a comfortable and healthy sleeping environment
- Suitable temperature and light for the bedroom
- Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption
- Pay attention to food and exercise time
3- Stimulus control
Some people become anxious after experiencing insomnia and other sleep disorders and need emotional reconstruction to sleep better. Stimulus control emphasizes the importance of using the bed for sleep and sex, waking up on nights when you can hardly fall asleep, and setting an alarm for waking up each day of the week.
Get rid of stress! Stress can make you tired, and it can also make it difficult for you to sleep. Try not to worry or get stressed about different things. You can also try anti-depressant techniques such as meditation, walking or listening to soothing music.
Practicing simple rhythmic breathing can help you feel drowsy and relax. Muscle relaxation exercises also help you relax and ultimately fall asleep. Controlled breathing, meditation and other relaxation techniques can help the mother calm down and fall asleep again if she wakes up during the night.
Treat Postpartum Insomnia with A Few Other Tricks
There is no immediate cure for postpartum insomnia. But here are some factors that can help you get back to normal.
If you have postpartum sleep problems, in addition to cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, you can use the following tricks:
1- Re-adjust your sleep schedule
Many babies have an irregular sleep schedule and pattern. When your baby is asleep, you should be asleep too. During this time, instead of doing household chores, try to rest whenever your baby falls asleep.
Initially, babies wake up several times during the night. But as they grow older, they spend more time sleeping at night. Analyzing your baby’s sleep cycle helps you plan your daily routine and get enough sleep.
A mother sleeping while her baby is sleeping can help the mother get used to her baby nap program and get enough sleep every day and night. Keep in mind that babies may sleep up to 17 hours a day, so mothers will stay awake most of the time when their baby is asleep. Understand your baby’s sleep pattern
2- Go to bed early
Go to bed as soon as possible. If you cannot sleep, try relaxation techniques such as hot baths, reading a book or drinking herbal tea that will calm your mind and bring you a good night’s sleep.
3- Divide tasks
When you get help from someone else to take care of the baby, you create more time for sleep.
Get help from your partner to change your baby’s diapers and clothes in the morning. If you use a bottle to feed your baby, your spouse can also feed the baby while you are busy with other activities.
4- Take a morning walk
After a night of postpartum insomnia, you can recharge in the morning by taking a short walk. Exposure to natural sunlight can re-establish the circadian rhythm. Gentle exercise can also help you sleep better the next night.
Scientists proved that a healthy diet rich in nutrition provides several benefits, including lowering the risk of chronic illnesses and keeping your body in good shape.
5- Control your caffeine intake
You may like to drink a cup of coffee every morning, but this is often one of the reasons you sleep so hard. If you cannot completely avoid caffeine, try to limit your consumption to a cup of coffee and do not do this in the afternoon.
6- Do not drink alcohol
There are two important reasons why mothers should abstain from alcohol. First, avoiding alcohol is the safest option for breastfeeding mothers. Second, drinking alcohol can reduce the quality of sleep. Although alcohol has sedative properties and can help you fall asleep faster, late at night can cause you to wake up frequently.
7- Turn off electronic devices one hour before bedtime
Computers, cell phones, and televisions stimulate brain activity, which can lead to insomnia. The light emitted by these devices lowers melatonin levels, which disrupts your sleep patterns.
If these simple activities are not effective, you can try herbal remedies.
Treatment of postpartum insomnia with herbal medicines
Some herbal remedies can relieve depression and help you get more sleep. But consult your doctor before testing them.
1- Chamomile tea
Research on women after childbirth has shown that drinking chamomile tea for two weeks improves sleep quality and reduces depressive symptoms. But the effects of this tea last only for four weeks. Therefore, this can only be a short-term treatment for postpartum insomnia.
2- Lavender tea
The scent of lavender is effective in stimulating positive emotions in a mother towards her child. In one study, women were instructed to consume a cup of lavender tea daily and to be exposed to its scent for two weeks after delivery. After this time, women established a strong bond with their babies, and had fewer symptoms of depression and fatigue. Like chamomile, the positive effects of lavender were limited to four weeks.
3- Acupressure and Back massage
In one research study, women underwent acupressure treatment for 14 days, four times a day after delivery. The results showed an improvement in sleep quality.
In a Taiwanese study, a group of women received a 20-minute back massage for 5 consecutive days after delivery, which improved sleep quality.
4- Mineral supplements
Magnesium and iron play an important role in preventing neurological disorders. They help improve sleep and reduce depression.
5- Sleep aids
There are several weak and non-addictive prescription drugs such as Nytol, Sominex or Simply Sleep that can help you eliminate postpartum insomnia. However, the main ingredient in these drugs is diphenhydramine, which can cause dry milk in some mothers.
Have you recently given birth and are struggling with problems such as postpartum insomnia? What strategies do you use to treat this insomnia? Please share your valuable experiences in this field with us and our dear users who have just become mothers.