We all know that moms miss out on plenty of sleep as they raise their young children, especially when they first bring home their newborns. However, some new moms miss out on more sleep than others, and one new study has helped to find the most common culprits behind this lack of rest.
The study, which was led by researchers at the University of WisconsinMilwaukee, College of Nursing, followed over 180 Midwestern mothers in the months following their child’s birth. Of these mothers, they found several factors behind sleeplessness.
The most common factor was bed-sharing. Nearly one in five of the mothers reported sharing a bed with their infant, and the mothers also reported that their sleep was most often disrupted by their child. While bed-sharing is experiencing a resurgence due to theories on attachment parenting (in which co-sleeping between parents and children is encouraged), this study helps to highlight that sleeping together can sometimes lead to disrupted sleep. And, a tired mommy is probably going to be less physically and emotionally healthy than a mom who has enjoyed a fair share of rest, so it’s an interesting point to consider.
The study also found that almost half of moms slept with the television on (either during part of the night or throughout the whole night) and four in five of the moms drank caffeine regularly.
All of these factors can lead to sleep disruption, especially when you add in a new baby and a physically exhausted mother. Sleeping with the T.V. on might be a good way to lull yourself back to sleep as the baby awakens the third time for that night, but it can actually be harmful to your rest than you realize. Recent research has shown that the bright lights emitted from televisions and computers can be disruptive to sleep if people stare at the screens before drifting off to sleep, so even if you fall asleep, your rest might be as deep or as prolonged as it would be if you did not watch T.V.
Caffeine can also be a double-edged sword. While a cup of coffee in the morning can be a good way to get you going, it can have the opposite effect if you overdo it. Using caffeine throughout the day is not good for your health or your sleep, so try to swap out soda and caffeinated drinks with water throughout the day, and limit coffee usage in the afternoon and evening. Boost your energy in other ways such as by exercising or by eating whole, nutritious foods. As a new mom, you’re going to need all the extra energy you can get!
Finally, be sure and ask for help when you need it. Your partner and your family are your support system, and it’s good to ask for a hand whenever you find yourself getting overwhelmed. Even just one full night of sleep can make you feel like a new woman. Remember, the better you take care of yourself, the better mom you will be, so don’t feel selfish about getting rest when you need it.