< 40 Winks

tired mother with her head down surrounded by baby itemsJust a few weeks ago, you may have thought to yourself, “If this baby would just sleep all night, just once in a while, I could get some sleep!” But, now that your baby is finally sleeping through the night, you may find that it’s you who can’t sleep!


This type of insomnia is a real condition, called “postnatal insomnia” or “postpartum insomnia.” Sometimes it’s tied into postpartum depression, but often it just shows up like a thief in the night. Literally.

But why?

As a new mother, you’ve become a light sleeper in order to care for your baby when he needs you. You have also adjusted to sleeping in shorter chunks, and it can take time to return to a regular sleeping pattern. You may also have some anxiety about sleeping too deeply, in case your little one needs you. Or, the slightest sound may wake you up, heart racing, which makes it all the more difficult to go back to sleep.


Moms who can’t get enough sleep at night tend to have a harder time during the day, with pretty much everything. Symptoms can include:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Mood swings

How to cope

There’s really no magic cure for momsomnia; but, just like any type of insomnia, there are things you can try that may help:

  • Skip the afternoon caffeine. Yes, it keeps you going until bedtime, but it probably keeps you up well past bedtime.
  • Stay away from electronics like your cell phone, laptop, tablet, etc., for at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Find ways to de-stress before bed, such as a relaxing bath, a massage from your partner, reading or listening to soothing music.
  • If you do have to get up during the night to use the restroom or tend to your baby, keep the light to a minimum. Darkness will help keep your body in nighttime sleep mode.
  • Turn off the baby monitor. These gadgets are so incredibly sensitive that you may even hear your baby breathing. The problem is, if you think you don’t hear them breathing, or if you hear any tiny baby sound, it can instantly put you on alert. If your baby really needs you, you’ll hear him cry without a monitor.

If you feel like nothing is working, and insomnia is greatly affecting your ability to function, ask your doctor about taking an over-the-counter or prescription sleep aid. Sometimes this is a good short-term solution until you can reset your natural clock.