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As a new mom, it's pretty much a given that you won't be getting as much as sleep as you did before you had a baby to take care of. But if you feel like you're suffering from insomnia — or "momsomnia" — you might be wondering whether you're the only one who just can't manage to sleep soundly through the night anymore.
Well, don't worry, because you're definitely not alone!
"Momsomnia — it's very real," Dr. Roshini Raj assures us.
"When you have a child — especially a baby — your body gets so used to having to wake up in the middle of the night at the drop of a hat, for a feed, for their crying, whatever it is."
"You throw your body schedule off," she continues. "You're almost in this hyper-vigilant state and you're not getting to that deep sleep."
Because your body gets used to reacting right away, the doctor explains, it's hard to get back into the habit of sleeping deeply again.
Well, Dr. Raj has a few suggestions for how to combat momsomnia and start sleeping through the night.
First, while she knows it's tempting, she says it's important not to get into bed and go to sleep too early in the evening — even if you're exhausted.
"Your body has a circadian rhythm, and this has to do with the light and the daylight hours," the doc explains. No matter how tired you feel, if you go to bed too early, you probably won't sleep through the night, according to Dr. Raj.
What you want to do, she says, is establish a regular bedtime and wake-up time. Even on the weekends, Dr. Raj advises against sleeping in.
"It's going to throw you out of whack," she says.
So, we know it's key to have a consistent bedtime — but how do you know what that bedtime should be? Well, Dr. Raj has a sleep equation that will help you figure out the right bedtime for you.
You want to figure out when you normally wake up, and then you subtract — go back 7 ½ hours and that should be approximately what your bedtime is, she says. That's when you're in bed with the lights off.
"I see the problems that people have when they don't sleep," Dr. Raj says. "That's when we restore, we rejuvenate. So you don't want to shortchange yourself."