Your Baby Finally Sleeps Through the Night, But Now You Can't

baby insomniaIf you have a new baby, you're most likely sleep-deprived. And if you aren't sleep-deprived, how the heck are you doing it? A baby nurse that cleans, and acts as a wet nurse as well? There really isn't any getting around the massive interruption of sleep in those first months of new parenthood. While this time period of no sleep is a given, what might be even more annoying is the insomnia that comes later.

Apparently a lot of parents develop long-term insomnia as a result of those early days of sleep deprivation. You know, those nights that you wake up and just wait for the baby cries that never come? Those early hours when all you want to do is sleep, and your baby seems content, but you cannot stop your mind from racing and your body from tensing so you're depriving yourself of sleep, when your infant isn't? Yes, that sucks, and yes, it's common.

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Apparently the state of sleep-deprivation can change your brain chemistry and elevate levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Just reading that stresses me out, as it probably does most new moms. But it makes sense. You've spent months jumping up at every cry, you can't just relax the first night your baby sleeps through the night.

I distinctly remember lying awake and crying because all I wanted to do was sleep when my son was a baby, and appeared to be getting a long night of sleep. Even though I'm someone who can fall asleep at the drop of a hat, during this time of massive upheaval, I just couldn't relax. Caring for a new baby and being responsible for his life will do that to you.

Even while the NPR story offered up great suggestions about getting yourself back into a sleep groove (go to bed earlier, write down your to-do list in a notebook, stay away from the computer), I wonder how you're supposed to just stop worrying about your baby in the middle of the night. I'm past that newborn phase now, but those feelings of anxiety can come back in a flash. And let's just assume the same thing will be happening in the teen years, when middle of the night worries are of a whole other nature. Yikes.

So basically, parents, you'll never sleep again.

Did you have insomnia after your baby slept through the night?

 

Image via andrewmalone/Flickr

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