What is Postpartum Insomnia?

Your baby is cozy in his crib and sleeping soundly. The dishes are done. You've had a great day, and it's now time to go to sleep. You close your eyes and...nothing. Sleep doesn't come no matter how hard you try. 

Postpartum insomnia, also known as postnatal insomnia is something that affects a lot of new moms. Even when your baby is sleeping and you're absolutely exhausted, it feels impossible to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep.

There are a lot of unique symptoms of postpartum insomnia, yet you might not even realize you have it. Let's take a closer look at this postpartum sleep disorder and what you can do about it. 

Postpartum insomnia

What Is Postpartum Insomnia?

First, let's talk about what this type of insomnia even is. It's important to note this is NOT the same thing as not being able to sleep because or typical infant demands. Infants are notoriously bad sleepers. Sleep deprivation is common if you have a newborn. 

However, postpartum insomnia is different than waking up throughout the night to care for your baby. It's the neverending racing thoughts. It's the worry and worst-case scenarios playing out in your head. Of course, this type of anxiety would keep you awake!

Postpartum insomnia might be temporary. It could last for the first few weeks after giving birth, or it could continue longer. It's important to take action quickly to avoid any negative effects on your health. 

What Causes Postpartum Insomnia?

What exactly leads to these late-night feelings of anxiety? Why do they come even when you know your baby is sleeping soundly and safely?

There are a few possible causes:

  • Hormonal fluctuations - The most common reason for these spikes in anxiety are hormonal fluctuations. Giving birth takes a toll on your body. Things like postpartum hair loss and other bodily changes are all a result of hormone fluctuations. As your reproductive hormones fall, your body might struggle to fall asleep easily. 
  • Postpartum mood disorders - Another potential reason is a postpartum mood disorder such as PTSD, postpartum depression, or temporary OCD. Temporary anxiety is not uncommon after giving birth. Again, this could be temporary or chronic. When in doubt, consult with your doctor. 
  • Internal clock - Your internal clock is affected by having a baby as well. Baby's are on a different sleep schedule, and their needs might make it hard to get to sleep. Learning healthy sleep habits will help with this. 

Tips for Overcoming Postpartum Insomnia

Luckily, most moms who experience postpartum insomnia develop coping solutions to get the sleep they need. However, it's important to practice healthy sleep habits and to create a routine that fits your new lifestyle. Try these tips below to get better sleep. 

Go to bed earlier. 

It's important to rest when you can. Yes, your baby will likely need you throughout the night. Staying up late won't help this. Instead, go to bed earlier to catch much-needed zzz's before that late-night feeding. 

What is postpartum insomnia

Create a relaxing night routine. 

One of the biggest challenges of postpartum insomnia is anxiety and worry. Creating a relaxing night routine helps you get in a calm mindset before bed. 

Take some time to yourself at the end of the day. You might want to try a relaxing milk bath. If you don't have time for a bath, treat yourself to the Full 8 Hours sleepytime scrub with aromatherapeutic essential oils. 

Turn off your phone.

It's tempting to scroll through social media when feeding baby at 2 am but resist this urge. Every time you look at a bright screen when you should be sleeping, you're telling your body it's time to wake up. Instead, keep lights dim during feedings. It'll soothe both you and your baby!

Use this time to carve out self-care moments for yourself. Apply an all-natural face mask or listen to a podcast. This is time that's all about you, mama!

Say Hello to Better Sleep

Better sleep with a new baby is possible, but it takes some work. Don't be afraid to revamp your nighttime routine if it's not working for you. 

Many parents struggle with postpartum insomnia and don't even realize it. If these tricks above don't help, it might be time to talk to your doctor. Luckily, treatment for this type of sleep disorder is possible. You'll get better sleep in no time!