Portrait of an exhausted mother taking a nap while holding her newborn baby at home

Understanding sleep deprivation as a new mom

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As a new mother, your body needs sleep, just as much as it needs air and food. Sufficient sleep is vital part of postpartum healing and maintaining your milk supply. Proper rest will allow you the energy you need to nurture your baby to the fullest, maintain a healthy relationship with your partner, and transform the overall experience in the first few months as a family.

Unfortunately, though, most new parents experience sleep deprivation — and some much worse than others.

Lack of sleep will lead to an increased development of a toxic protein in the brain that is called beta amyloid, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. When your body goes into deep sleep it helps get rid of beta amyloid, getting you out of that confused, fog-like state. It feels similar to being drunk, and going to work and driving when you are sleep deprived can be dangerous.

What are some other effects of sleep deprivation on the body? A few are listed in a helpful body chart here.

Additionally:

  1. Sleep deprivation affects your immune system and puts you at a higher risk for developing cancer.
  2. It impacts your cardiovascular system. While you are sleeping your heart rate drops, your blood pressure goes down — and as a result, sleep deprivation doesn’t allow your body to resets your system. If you get less than six hours of sleep a night, then  you have a 200% increased risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.
  3. According to the National Department of Transportation, drowsy driving causes 1,500 deaths and 40,000 nonfatal injuries each year.
  4. Lack of sleep exacts a toll on perception and judgment. In the workplace, its effects can be seen in reduced efficiency and productivity, errors, and accidents.
  5. Sleep specialists say that sleep-deprived men and women report lower libidos and less interest in sex. Depleted energy, sleepiness, and increased tension may be largely to blame.

None of these things are good. Quite the contrary: they’re very bad.

But it’s nearly impossible to get quality sleep as a new parent, right?

Well, admittedly it’s very hard, yes.

But it’s not impossible.

A lot of parents think the answer is “We need a super-good, non-fussy baby.”

That helps, sure — but even that is not perfect.

What you need is a plan around how to get sleep, which usually involves a third-party (grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc.) or could involve our services too.

We offer overnight care, which many parents use for this exact reason: combatting sleep deprivation and being more focused on work/childcare the next day.

We like to say that we’re in the “peace of mind” business when we offer this service.

Sleep deprivation is a really big issue for new parents, and we’d love to help make it more manageable for you. Let us know if we can help in Boston, it’s suburbs, Central and Western MA.

Kristin Smith

Kristin is a wife, mom, doula and a kick ass swaddler. She spends her time helping families get top notch support throughout their parenting journey. When she isn't swaddling babies, she can be found sipping latte's and watching her daughter play softball. Read more...

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