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For most new mothers, stepping into parenthood means saying goodbye to restful, uninterrupted sleep. As much as you would like to sleep more and sleep well, it is just not possible when you have a newborn waking up once every few hours at night.
While you might be thinking to just let getting minimum sleep each night be your new norm, being sleep deprived can negatively affect your health and overall well being in more ways you know. Here are how sleep deprivation affects these aspects of your life:
Physical Appearance & Health
When you are not getting enough sleep, your face shows it. As we all know, dark eye circles tend to appear when we are sleep deprived. Other than this, lack of sleep also affects other facial features such as your skin, your eyes, and your mouth.
Studies show that sleep deprivation causes redder eyes, duller skin, as well as long run consequences such as wrinkly and saggy skin. These are all due to the decrease in collagen production and the breakdown of skin elastins from sleep deprivation or irregular sleep pattern.
Furthermore, lack of sleep affects your physical health. Mothers who lack sleep are more likely to experience weight gain, as it affects your body’s response to hunger and leads you to make unhealthy food choices. The lack of shut-eye may also lead to blurred vision, dizziness, and more serious health consequences such as higher blood pressure, diabetes, heart diseases, and stroke.
It goes without saying that having better sleep quality improves the situation. Meanwhile, postpartum exercise is great for boosting your physical and mental health too. If you are still in the postpartum recovery period, make sure to get the green light from medical professionals before you workout.
Sleep deprivation also affects the less visible side of your health, like your mental wellness. When you are not getting enough sleep, you are more likely to experience negative emotions like stress and frustration.
If you continue to not have enough sleep over a long period of time, these negative emotions can accumulate to more serious mental illness, such as postpartum depression and anxiety.
As a new mother, being in a healthy state mentally is especially important for you to adapt to your new role in life smoothly. Try setting a sleep schedule and stick to it, and avoid staying up late.
Based on studies, sleep deprivation is related to a decline in cognitive performance. When you are getting too little sleep, you are more prone to making mistakes in your daily tasks. Lack of sleep affects your performance during the day, such as increased forgetfulness, decline in reasoning, problem solving, verbal abilities, and comprehension skills.
For new mothers, the cognitive effects of sleep deprivation could pose threats to your baby’s safety. For example, you might forget to fasten the straps of your baby stroller, or slip when you carry your baby. Also, driving drowsy with your baby in the car can cause irreversible consequences.
For your safety and wellbeing, try your best to sleep more by squeezing in naps in your day. For instance, try to snooze in public transit during your commute to work. If you work from home, try to sleep when your baby sleeps—even if it means choosing sleep over errands and chores.
Sleep deprivation gets in the way of your social interactions, including your relationship at home and at work. The most direct way this could happen is by the way you look. How tired you appear may affect how others interact with you or perceive you. This is applicable to your relationship with your family, friends, and colleagues.
Moreover, you are more likely to get irritated or frustrated when you are sleep deprived, which may indirectly cause you to argue more with your partner or lose your temper when your baby is being fussy.
In terms of relationship with your spouse, sleep deprivation affects your sex life. On top of lower sex drive, many new parents finds themselves having to choose between extra minutes of sleep and giving attention to their spouse.
Another tip to improve your sleep is by taking shifts with your spouse. Consider having one person to be in charge when the baby wakes up during the first half of the night, and another to be in charge during the second half of the night. This way, both of you get longer periods of uninterrupted sleep.
Getting Help As A New Mother
To help you transition smoothly to your new role as a mother, having the right support during the first few months helps. This includes getting a professional Chinese confinement nanny from PEM Confinement Nanny Agency for your postpartum recovery period.
Not only is the nanny able to help with postpartum sleep deprivation and guide on night feeding, she will share useful tips during confinement period, and guide you on preparing the essentials of postnatal confinement too! Book your confinement nanny with PEM today!