How Sleep Deprivation Can Induce Postpartum Mental Challenges and How To Cope
So your little bundle of joy has arrived after a long wait of nine months. As a new mother, you are faced with certain health challenges. While you should be ready to cater to the needs of your little one all the time, sleepless nights await you. No doubt, sleep deprivation in postpartum can pose new mental health challenges due to the repeated nighttime awakenings of the infant.
Pregnancy and childbirth are responsible for stimulating hormonal reactions in the body. The hormones that were at an all-time high suddenly drop immediately after childbirth. This hormonal disturbance could trigger mood swings and affect the quality of sleep.
The lack of sleep could further make a new mother vulnerable to mood disorders, including postpartum depression and psychosis. One study analyzed that women with poor sleep quality have a higher chance of postpartum depression compared with those who enjoyed quality sleep. This first group of women suffers from anxiety, irritability, forgetfulness, and depressive mood. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation could trigger postpartum depression, which could further affect the quality of life of sleep-deprived mothers and their infants.
Insomnia and Postpartum Depression Symptoms
It is like a vicious circle that continues to affect a sleep-deprived new mom. So the lack of sleep could be a cause and effect of postpartum depression.
Prolonged depression might cause a decline in concentration, thus affecting the mother’s judgment and ability to care for herself and the infant. As a result, the mother and child relationship might suffer.
In postpartum depression, a new mother might suffer from:
- A state of sleeplessness even when the baby is asleep
- Lack of concentration
- Loss of appetite
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Excessive worrying about the baby’s health
- Deep sadness
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Feeling guilty
- Loss of interest in sex
- A lack of energy despite sleep
Some postpartum women might experience an improvement in mood over a period of time following a constant reduction in sleep disturbances at night. Contrarily, those women with a disturbed sleep pattern may continue to suffer from postpartum depression.
How To Cope With Sleep Deprivation In Postpartum
Studies reveal that postpartum women with PPD symptoms take longer to fall asleep and fail to enjoy quality sleep. The research concludes that the worse the quality of sleep, the worse the depression.
There is no denying the fact that a good diet can help induce positive changes in your body. Avoid alcohol and caffeine that might trigger depressive symptoms and disturb sleep further.
Give yourself some space
Perhaps as a new mother, you are worried about your infant. But it is equally important to go easy on yourself. When you are doing what’s best for the baby, you should give yourself some time and space for recovery instead of panicking at every little hiccup.
You cannot recover from postpartum depression unless you work on getting good quality sleep. If you are finding it difficult to get uninterrupted nighttime sleep even when the baby is asleep, you should consult with a professional.
Sleep deprivation in postpartum is common. But prolonged sleep disturbance can take a huge toll on your health. The sooner your focus on your insomnia symptoms, the quicker you can recover from postpartum challenges.