A growing number of Moms are medicating themselves to sleep. That’s the gist of a new study by the National Sleep Foundation. It says that at least 3-in-10 North American women admit to taking sleeping pills – or even low-dose anti-depressants – a few nights a week, because they can’t fall asleep.
As you might expect, a whopping 84 percent of women in this study said they first experienced insomnia after having a baby. Which makes sense, when you think of all the times new Moms have to get up in the middle of the night to feed crying babies, or change diapers. Unfortunately, experts say that once a new mother falls into a pattern of sleeplessness today, she’s more likely to stay an insomniac. Why?
Dr. Nancy Collop directs the Emory Sleep Center in Atlanta. She says one reason is that today’s women are more likely to be the family breadwinners so, they may toss and turn in bed worrying about their jobs. Dr. Collop also blames the growing number of gadgets today’s Moms bring to bed like laptops, cell phones, and e-readers. She says you may think it’s harmless to check email, for example, right before going to sleep.
But research shows that just the light from an electronic device can disrupt brain waves in a way that keeps you awake for hours.
So what’s the fix? For starters, Dr. Collop says mothers need to learn to prioritize. For example: It’s okay to worry about what to cook for dinner tomorrow, just don’t lose sleep over things that aren’t important!
Also, she says if your insomnia causes you to wake up in the middle of the night, try embracing it instead of fighting it with pills. She says a lot of women relish the quiet time at 4am to cross things off their “to do” list. And once you have fewer things to worry about, you may find it’ll be easier to fall asleep the next night.