I am not a medical professional. I am just a person who has been taking medication for anxiety since high school, who experienced chronic insomnia as an adult, and had horrible, terrible, no good, very bad insomnia after giving birth. I can’t remember how soon afterward it started, because you know: baby brain.
If you are looking for medical advice or have a medical condition: PLEASE SEE A DOCTOR. Reminder that the year you give birth you likely have reached your out-of-pocket maximum meaning it’s time to go do all the things you usually can’t or don’t want to pay for. I.e. visit a dermatologist, get that weird vein in your leg checked, etc. I will also save my rant about how healthcare is SO expensive in this country and we cannot always afford to get the care we need.
Anyway, if anyone else has experienced trouble sleeping since giving birth, has frequent sleepless nights, or just wants to be set up for a lifetime of better sleep habits, here is what I know: visiting (or e-visits) with a psychologist who specializes in CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) has been SO helpful to me. It has literally changed my life. There’s nothing worse than being sleep deprived and exhausted, yet for some reason you’re the only one in the household who can’t sleep.
If you want a glimpse into what that means before committing to take the plunge, here’s a peek into I have learned over the past few months:
The best thing you can do to improve the long-term quality of your sleep is have as much consistency as possible in your sleep routine and schedule.
Let’s back up for a second: Start by establishing a sleep routine you can stick to every night starting at least 30 min before bed! This routine should be free from screens of all kinds. Mine starts with doing my bedtime hygiene in a dimly-lit bathroom. Then I go to a comfy chair in a designated spot in the house, again in low light. I write in my Line A Day Journal, take my medication, and read until that 30 minute time is up. Then I crawl into bed, always turning to the same side, always wearing the same thing, always with the same fan on the same setting. Every. Single. Night.
Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day–yes even on weekends–within a 30 min window.
Reserve bed for sex and sleep only. Don’t even read in bed.
No naps at all for the first few months until your body’s rhythm can be reset.
There’s a lot more to it, and once again, I urge you to speak with a healthcare professional if you have similar issues. I just want you to know this really works and it’s a huge weight lifted off my chest to begin to get sleep regularly again. It’s hard to stick with in the beginning but so, so worth it.
Follow the rest of my journey to motherhood self-care at WhatAboutMamas.com.
Senior Advertising CopywriterWhat About Mamas
I’m a 34 year old first-time mom and Senior Advertising Copywriter from Minnesota. I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in May, 2020. I’m not an influencer. I’m not a brand. I’m not selling anything. I’m just a regular person–here to document my story unedited, in case it helps another woman out there in her journey to discovering self-care as as a mom.
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