Mom-Somnia (When Moms Can’t Sleep)- Here’s What Will Help

What is most essential is to remember- that you are not alone in this, mommies. Talk to someone, your friend, family, spouse- just anyone. And more importantly, learn to relax and prioritise yourself.
mom somnia
Sleepless woman suffering from insomnia, sleep apnea or stress. Tired and exhausted lady. Headache or migraine. Awake in the middle of the night. Frustrated person with problem. Alarm clock with time.

Unless you are Kate Middleton or Meghan Markle, there are very slim chances you will look that rested and fresh in the first few photoshoots of your life as a new mom.

“Sleep when the baby sleeps,” they say. Meh- that’s one of the weirdest and cliched statements I heard during my stint as a new mom. Boy, it sounded so much more difficult in real than on paper. From the baby pooping at 12 midnight to waking up at the slightest noise to facing engorged breasts to sore nipples, being a new mom is never a cakewalk. But the problem lies when you think that the journey is only going to get easier down the lane. Does it, really?! 

Momsomnia is real:

“Momsomnia” is now an accepted lingo that describes the lack of sleep and the exhaustion that comes from it in the life of a mother, having been accustomed to disturbed nights with her newborn. Your child is now an infant (even a toddler) in some cases, the child sleeps in a separate cot (or even a separate room) and you have the night to claim as yours- but after all the mundane chores and getting the little one to sleep, the mommy brain finds it very very difficult to get into a proper sleep regimen. 

What you experience during Momsomnia:

  • Even when the child is asleep you think you heard them cry. (there’s even a term for it- phantom baby crying!) 
  • You check on the sleeping baby multiple times- if they are sleeping right. 
  • Anxiety creeps in along with concern. You wonder if the child is able to breathe right, is comfortable in that sleeping position etc. 
  • Out of exhaustion, you end up taking naps at odd times that makes it impossible to get a good sleep at night. 
  • The stress of not getting good sleep and the fatigue makes it more impossible to calm down and drift off to sleep.

Amrita Saraf, a Child Sleep Advisor and a contributor at KSP shares her thoughts on Mom-somnia and what moms can do when they experience the same: 

“Do we enjoy worrying? Keeping a perfect home has been so ingrained in our minds for centuries, that we find it hard to let things slip. I always tell Moms, if it’s not possible to sleep when the baby sleeps, REST when the baby sleeps. The dishes aren’t going anywhere, the laundry isn’t going to become clean itself. The tasks are going to be there. But we need the rest as much as babies do. We need to recuperate so we are ready for another day of parenting and running on our toes.”

What you can do to get over this phase: 

The verdict from doctors, sleep experts and fellow moms in the fraternity is clear and unanimous. Moms need to start learning to prioritise themselves. Here are some tips and tricks to help moms sail through the momsomnia phase:

1. Stick to a routine.

We know with a toddler or infant in hand it is not easy. But often moms are guilty of using the sleep time for other leisure activities- that’s great if you want some “me-time”. But know when it borders on your sleep routine. 

2. Eliminate distractions from the room:

The smartphone on your hand is the primary culprit. Even before you realise a quick glance at it will result in 25 minutes of using the phone for everything from the latest updates on Instagram to that work e-mail that stresses you out- to the amazing offers on your favourite shopping platform. Keep the phone away at least for a while before you hit the bed so the bedroom is desginated to be a resting room and not an entertainment pod. 

3. Learn to delegate:

This is something we as members of the mommyhood fraternity often have to remind ourselves. In our popular article earlier this year on Parental Burnout- this is one of the key points we had raised and something that experts suggest too. Read the article on Parental Burnout here. 

Amirta Saraf explains why it is essential for us to reduce the workload so we get a good night’s sleep. Even if that means sharing with the baby!

“It is always advisable to include your baby in age-appropriate chores, it builds life skills and you don’t have to burn a hole in your pockets to buy toys. It also keeps the babies engaged while you are completing work. So rest when they sleep and work when they are awake and work with them. It’s a win-win!”

4. Try Yoga/Meditation: 

No one said parenting would be easier. Add to it the stress of work and life during a pandemic. Amidst everyday challenges, it is essential we take time to connect to ourselves.

Yoga, meditation and other forms of exercise help us achieve this mind-to-body connection. If you have been doing it before, resume it. Mommyhood doesn’t mean you pause on things you matter. And if you haven;t made it a part of your lifestyle yet- there is never a better time to start it. Read here to know how meditation and yoga  help Mansi Zaveri, Founder of Kidsstoppress, plan her day better to achieve her goals. 

5. Seek help- don’t shy away from it:

If your insomnia goes to worrying levels, where you develop anxiety every time you lie down, worrying if your baby will be fine, it is time you sought help. There is a thin line believing “this too shall pass” and the phase where you need help to reclaim your life. Don’t go by the naysayers. Approach sleep experts or your paediatrician or mental health practitioners who will be able to guide you better. 

Here is a throwback to our conversation with popular Sleep Expert- Kerry Bajaj on how to train your babies so they sleep from 7 pm to 7 am and how you can claim some of your precious sleep in the process. Watch the video here. 

But what is most essential is to remember- that you are not alone in this, mommies. Talk to someone, your friend, family, spouse- just anyone. And more importantly, learn to relax and prioritise yourself.

Remember- happy moms raise happy kids! 

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