After a good night's sleep, the world feels like a better place. Don't you
Sleep is a fundamental function that allows our body and mind to recharge,
and it's even more critical when you are pregnant or just gave birth to a
Let's learn more about the importance of sleep!
Most pregnant women need a full eight hours of sleep. Generally, it is 2
more hours than your usual pre- pregnancy amount. Remember that most
adults should get 7- 9 hours of sleep.
You can definitely take naps to help you with this!
A whopping 78 percent of women experience sleep issues sooner or later (or
at many times!) during pregnancy.
This can be due to finding a comfortable sleeping position and pregnancy
side effects like the increased need to pee, acid reflux, leg cramps, nasal
blockage, and overall discomfort.
Sound familiar? It's no big surprise that an entire night's sleep can be so
Studies show that sleep problems may be linked with outcomes such as
symptoms of depression, increased pain during labor, prolonged labor,
increased cesarean sections, preterm delivery, and low birth weight.
How to get a good night's sleep during pregnancy?
Having a newborn, you will expect many restless nights, so it's essential to
get enough sleep while you can.
It all starts with good sleep hygiene and establishing a regular sleep-
wake cycle. Go to sleep around the same time and wake up at the same time
Tips to help:
Avoid caffeine drinks close to sleep time
No screen time at least 30 minutes before bed.
Don't eat heavy foods before bedtime ( also helps with acid reflux)
Minimize drinking before bedtime to avoid nighttime bathroom trips
Keep bed for sleep and not for phone scrolling/ TV watching
Pillow support for discomfort or certain pregnancy pillows
Cognitive behavioral therapy, exercise and meditation
Now let's move to the postpartum period, where lack of sleep is an expected
On average, new moms get six hours of sleep in the first 6 weeks of after
delivery. The first 2 weeks postpartum is especially challenging.
This makes sense because you are getting used to the newborn schedule and
feeding. You will have to adjust your sleep schedule because it will be
nearly impossible to get uninterrupted nighttime sleep.
Also, hormonal changes after delivery can affect sleep pattern due to
decrease in progesterone (hormone which can have sleep inducing properties)
and changes in melatonin (produced at night to promote sleepiness). This
can disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm.
Why is getting enough sleep so important for new moms?
Mentally, lack of sleep lessens the capacity to respond actively and think
Research shows that being awake for 18 hours straight decreases your
performance as much as your blood alcohol level was .05% (the legal limit
is .08%). So, enough sleep is crucial to mental functioning!
Lack of sleep may also put you at higher risk for postpartum mood disorders
and postpartum chronic pain.
Studies have shown an association between insufficient sleep and mom’s
behavioral health and psychosocial development of their child. So not only
can the absence of sleep affect your own health, but also of your infant
and also, your partner.
Having good sleep hygiene which includes all of the above tips can help you
after delivery and beyond.
For persistent postpartum sleep insomnia, cognitive behavioral therapy for
insomnia (CBT-I), is an effective way to reduce this problem. identify
thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are contributing to the symptoms of
Here are some specific tips for postpartum:
Sleep when baby sleeps: That means no cleaning, no organizing, no
creating photo albums, no entertaining. . Don't try to finish the
house or office errands when your baby is asleep. You can do all
that when the baby is up. Trust us; this will help you from burning
out . Additionally, if your house is a disaster right now,
fabulous! Don't worry— it will be jumbled for at least the next 18
years! So, don't worry about the cleaning and other chores.
Get someone to help out: Either your partner, family member or a
night nurse can be a great support to get some extra wink eye. They
can help with nighttime diaper changes and burping so that you can
get a little more sleep.
Relaxing activities: There are many activities that can help you
unwind such as reading, music, meditation, stretching, and a warm
shower. Choose what helps you unwind and try that.
Go for a morning walk: Getting outdoors and some sunlight can help
reset your circadian clock so that you get improved sleep.
Sleep Journal to track your sleep: Keeping track of when you go to
sleep, when you wake up, did you feel rested, did you snore will
all help you be proactive and aware of your sleep patterns and
monitor your progress.
Some moms may develop certain sleep disorders during pregnancy which
persist after delivery such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.
Postpartum mood disorders (which occur in 1 out of 5 women postpartum) may
also add to sleep issues. These may need more attention with a health care
Sleep is fundamental for brain functioning. Alongside nutrition and
physical activity, good sleep is one of the mainstays of both physical and
mental wellness before, during and after pregnancy. A rested mom can take
better care of her baby and herself!
This may not come immediately and will take some work to achieve but it IS
Are you getting the sleep you need?
Yes- GREAT! Keep it up!
*If you need support for insomnia, please reach out to your health care
provider or to a MaternalWell specialist. Guidance on baby sleep patterns
is also available from our infant sleep specialist