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It takes time for your body to recover from the sleep
deprivation of new parenthood. When you have a baby, you lose control over your
sleep and go from getting 7 to 8 hours straight to sometimes no more than 1 or 2
hours at a time. Even though it's natural, it's still a shock to the
system. We hear a lot of parents tell us
that they don't feel good, even after their baby starts sleeping better. There
can be many reasons for this:
You have a lot of "sleep debt" to pay back from
missed hours of sleep.
Your internal clock, or your 24-hour cycles, are
slightly askew because you've been intermittently awake at night and maybe even
asleep during the day.
Even though your baby is sleeping more, you
still wake up at night in anticipation, or your sleep is lighter during the
It's really important to take care of yourself. Eat well,
try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time in
the morning, get outside in the morning sunlight and exercise—even if it
means joining a baby-friendly exercise group. Go on long walks with the
stroller or take advantage of the drop-off center at your gym. If you still
don't feel like yourself after taking these types of measures, tell your OB or
your general doctor.
Babies are noisy at night, so if yours is waking you up to
feed or just with normal baby sounds, you might switch off being "on duty" with your partner
if you can. Maybe one of you sleeps in a guest room or pops in some
earplugs. Even a solid 4 hours of sleep can do wonders for a parent who has
been waking up around the clock.
In our book, "The Happy Sleeper," we describe healing from sleep deprivation like
peeling back layers of tiredness. For some people, it just takes longer to get
to the core. But you will get there. You don't have to settle for less than feeling
good and rested—that's important for you and your baby too.