Postpartum Insomnia: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment & Tips

You probably couldn’t wait to get home and sleep in your bed, away from the prying eyes of nurses and the glare of harsh hospital lights, unless you gave birth at home.

You and your baby could finally take naps whenever you pleased.

Why is it just as difficult to sleep when you get home?

Often, women experience a sleep disorder known as postpartum or postnatal insomnia after giving birth. There’s more to it than that, though. It’s possible that the mom still won’t get enough sleep even if the baby does.

To get insight into postpartum insomnia and its treatment, please keep reading.

Postpartum Insomnia

Postpartum Insomnia

Postpartum insomnia differs significantly from a sleep-deprived case due to a new baby. To have insomnia after giving birth is to be unable to sleep, even while your newborn infant is soundly asleep.

You may be worried about providing for them and wonder if you will hear them scream if they need you. It’s obvious that you’d be concerned about their well-being. Understandably, you have trouble sleeping if your thoughts keep going to terrifying conclusions.

Possible causes are discussed. Only one may be the primary explanation for the occurrence. Postpartum insomnia, however, is often the result of a perfect storm of variables. Therefore, avoid delaying this treatment since it may become chronic and otherwise harmful to your health.

Causes of Postpartum Insomnia

Many new moms have issues sleeping after giving birth. Because their circadian rhythms have not fully formed at birth, newborns are prone to numerous awakenings throughout the night. In addition to their children’s challenges sleeping through the night, mothers face their bodily changes.

1. Hormonal Fluctuations

Hormonal Fluctuations

As impressive as giving birth is, it also messes with your hormones and throws your body out of whack. Your follicle-stimulating hormone levels have decreased, which is natural but may require some readjustment time before you can conceive again.

And because hormones affect the operation of our internal clock. Informing us when it’s time to be up and sleeping, even a tiny change, may confuse things and make it hard to sleep.

2. Iron Deficiency

Iron Deficiency

Anemia, or a blood iron level that is too low, is a risk factor for sleeplessness. There is a higher risk of anemia in pregnant women, particularly in the last weeks before delivery. In addition, many new mothers have postpartum anemia because of excessive bleeding during delivery.

In turn, being deficient in iron after giving birth increases the likelihood of developing postpartum insomnia.

3. Physical Postpartum Changes

Physical Postpartum Changes

The days following childbirth are among the most physically trying for new moms.

A sore perineum (the area between the anus and genitalia), sutures from an episiotomy or a laceration (a repair for a cut or tear in the perineum), swollen breasts, an incision from a C-section, and other physical alterations can all contribute to pregnancy discomfort.

Consult your physician if you are so restless that you can’t get to sleep.

4. Postpartum Mood Disorders

Postpartum Mood Disorders

If you’re having trouble sleeping, it might be because of the stress of dealing with mental difficulties, such as postpartum depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Seek help from a qualified specialist or talk to your doctor about how to manage significant cases of depression. Sometimes the feeling is more than moderate anxiety or brief OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).

5. Changes in Circadian Rhythm And Sleep Schedule

Changes in Circadian Rhythm And Sleep Schedule

If you don’t get enough shut-eye, your body will change its internal clock to compensate for it. Even if you’re physically exhausted, this could make it difficult to fall asleep.

It’s impossible to sleep in till you feel like it and wake up whenever you choose if you have a newborn at home. Inconsistent bedtime rituals cause physiological disruptions that make it hard to get to sleep and remain asleep.

6. Timely Feeding

Timely Feeding

When you have to get up often during the night to feed your baby, it might be challenging to get to sleep regularly. Make sure you don’t wake anyone up by turning on bright lights or checking your phone once you get up to feed your baby in the middle of the night.

The inability to get back to sleep after waking for feeding may be exacerbated by the stimulation caused by the room’s and gadget’s artificial lighting, which tricks the brain into thinking it’s daytime.

7. Mental Processing

Mental Processing

Those who have just become parents may find it difficult to fall asleep at night due to the sheer volume of information flooding their minds.

When the mind finally finds some peace and quiet after a long day of caring for a newborn, it may need to process the events of the last few weeks or months, including labor, pregnancy, bringing the baby home, and adjusting to a new way of life.

Many things change quickly for parents, and you’ll have to adjust. If you can unwind, you’ll have an easier time drifting off to sleep. If you need to discuss things with a trained professional, know that you are not alone.

Symptoms of Postpartum Insomnia

Postpartum insomnia is characterized by trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. When you have insomnia, you may be tossing and turning in bed, sleeping for fragmented intervals, or waking up too early. In addition, several additional symptoms and consequences might arise from interrupted sleep.

1. Anxiety

Anxiety

The risk of postpartum anxiety and sadness is higher for women who have trouble sleeping after giving birth. Insomnia may become a vicious cycle since stress can cause sleep disruptions.

2. Fatigue

Fatigue

Insomniacs who don’t get enough shut-eye report feeling drained even when they do. Difficulty focusing or thinking clearly is another typical symptom.

Aggravated irritability is a common side effect of sleep deprivation. In addition, daytime headaches are a common symptom of insomnia. They may amplify the irritation that comes from not getting enough sleep.

3. Mood Changes

Mood Changes

It’s normal for a new mother to feel like her mood is constantly changing. Probably a mix of hormone fluctuations and sleep deprivation.

4. Sadness

Sadness

Melancholy might permeate your entire day if you have trouble sleeping. It’s normal for women to feel down and emotional after giving birth. Talk to your doctor immediately if you think you are going through postpartum depression.

Tips For Treating And Preventing Postpartum Insomnia

Though sleep problems are common for some women during their first pregnancy, research suggests they may become much more severe throughout future pregnancies. Unfortunately, there is no cure for postpartum insomnia; however, treatment options, including medication, therapy, and lifestyle adjustments, may help.

1. Get Some Counseling When You Have a Baby

Get Some Counseling When You Have a Baby

Women who obtain therapy immediately after giving birth are less likely to have postpartum depression and sleeplessness, according to studies. Insomnia after childbirth is treatable by talk therapy, namely cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). Effective coping with depression symptoms can be learned through CBT’s guidance in recognizing the negative thinking patterns and actions that lead to them.

2. Have Some B Vitamins

Have Some B Vitamins

Vitamin B is necessary for numerous bodily functions and aids in proper brain operation. These are choline, biotin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, and niacin. In addition, these vitamins are water-soluble and have been shown to be effective in treating postpartum problems, including depression, which may lead to better sleep after giving birth.

3. Supplement With Melatonin

Supplement With Melatonin

The body makes melatonin on its own. The opposite of what happens in the dark, its creation is suppressed in the light. Melatonin levels can drop in response to stress or medicines that depress the central nervous system.

If you have trouble sleeping because you don’t get enough sunlight, taking a supplement containing this hormone may help.

4. Maintain a Healthy Diet

Maintain a Healthy Diet

The recovery process following childbirth can be aided by eating a healthy diet high in protein, vitamins, and minerals. Take many plant-based foods, whole grains, lean proteins, oily fish, nuts, and seeds. In addition, keep yourself from dehydrating by avoiding sugary junk food and fizzy beverages.

Try to consume more magnesium and calcium-rich meals (such as bananas and milk, respectively). Muscles can be calmed with magnesium, while melatonin production can be aided with calcium.

5. Create a Soothing Space

Create a Soothing Space

Before turning in for the night:

  • Try breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga to help you relax and calm your mind.
  • Please get rid of everything that could keep you awake at night, whether work-related items, clutter, or anything else.
  • Put away your devices and avoid checking your phone 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Make it a habit to obtain 8 hours of sleep nightly, even if you don’t think you need it.

6. Get Some Zzzs While Your Baby Does

Get Some Zzzs While Your Baby Does

Many mothers feel pressured to get things done around the house when their newborn sleeps. However, catnapping whenever your newborn does is a great way to ensure you receive adequate sleep each night, which is only necessary in the beginning.

7. Turn in Early

Turn in Early

The baby might wake up any time, demanding to be fed, but you still need to get as much sleep as possible before they require you. Your sleep schedule will be unpredictable throughout the first several months after your baby’s existence. I don’t think that staying up all night will help the matter.

8. Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

Even basic sleep hygiene practices can have a significant impact when applied regularly. Try to stick to a somewhat consistent schedule when you go to bed. Attempt to maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule. The demands of your infant will dictate a new routine every day.

9. Share Tasks With Your Partner

Share Tasks With Your Partner

It’s a lovely and demanding job to care for a newborn. When working on a project, it’s best to involve a spouse or family member who can assist as much as they can.

Get other people to assist you with things like overnight feeding times, making meals, housecleaning, and so on so that you can get some sleep.

10. Keep The Room Dark

Keep The Room Dark

Our biological clock is set on a 24-hour cycle of sleep and wakefulness. As a result, we feel sleepy and ready for bed when it’s dark outside, yet wide awake and aware when the sun is up.

You’ll have more difficulty falling back to sleep after feeding if you disrupt your body’s natural sleep cycle by turning on bright lights around 2 a.m.

Keep the lights off at night when you can, and use nightlights.

11. Stay Away From The Screen

Stay Away From The Screen

While their children are being fed, some parents fidget with their phones. Any time you spend in front of a screen, whether for social media, news, or email, you risk disrupting your body’s natural rhythms because of the light.

Remember that your body interprets nighttime light as a signal that it is now morning, and turn off the lights and the phone if you wake up at night.

12. Avoid Excessive Caffeine And Alcohol

Avoid Excessive Caffeine And Alcohol

Postpartum insomnia is exacerbated by the use of chemicals that prevent peaceful sleep, including coffee, alcohol, and nicotine. Don’t consume any of these things unless your doctor allows you.

13. Deep Breathing

Deep Breathing

If you’re having trouble nodding off at night, attempting these deep breathing exercises or relaxation techniques can help. It has been said that counting deep breaths to 10 is a quick and practical approach to calming down and relaxing. If you’re having trouble nodding off, try focusing on your belly breaths.

Wrapping Up

Postpartum insomnia may make it seem like you’ll never sleep again. Though numerous external obstacles may prevent you from getting a good night’s rest, you can still strive to improve your situation in small ways.

Get some shut-eye yourself when your infant is asleep as often as possible. Be gentle to yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask for assistance. Everyone feels overwhelmed during this time in their lives.

Lack of sleep after giving birth can make it challenging to care for your newborn because of weariness, low energy, and difficulty focusing (and yourself). If you’re having problems sleeping, you need to figure out why. Once the causes are understood, solutions to improve sleep quality can be sought.

Go to the doctor if you suspect you have postpartum insomnia; they’ll help you figure out what’s causing it and how to treat it. Medications, counseling, and behavioral modifications are all viable approaches for treating postpartum insomnia.

References

Sarah Wagner

I'm Sarah Wagner, and I founded Sweet Island Dreams in 2022. It's a blog dedicated to helping people mental vacation virtually anytime they want. By providing information about the best sleep of your life, I help people drift away to paradise without ever having to leave their bed!