It’s quite an achievement when your new baby starts sleeping soundly in the crib and even more so if it’s in another room. But a lot of new moms are faced with a surprising problem when they’re sleep-deprived and exhausted: baby is sleeping soundly but they can’t catch a wink.
There’s actually a name for it - “momsomnia,” according to Michael Breus, psychologist and sleep doctor to celebs like Oprah. It’s basically the idea that since your body is used to waking up in the middle of the night all the time now, you’re anxiously waiting there ready for baby to wake up, even when they don’t, which makes you even more sleep deprived. But Dr. Breus says these tried-and-true methods can help stop this new parent pitfall.
Re-think how you’re using your baby monitor - If your baby is healthy and thriving and actually sleeping in the other room, good for you. Now it’s okay to switch the screen off on the video monitor and just leave the sound on, so the blue light - a known sleep disruptor - doesn’t bother you all night. And if baby wakes up in the middle of the night, you can quickly switch it back on for a visual.
Don’t go to bed too early - When you’re exhausted, you just want to sleep any chance you get, but according to Dr. Breus and the National Sleep Foundation, a healthy sustainable sleep routine is about getting enough sleep as well as sleeping at the right times. And if you go to bed before your body clock is ready, even if you’re tired, it can lead you to wake up really early and not be able to get back to sleep. But the fix for dealing with momsomnia is to focus on getting back to a regular sleep routine with a set bedtime, instead of trying to sleep when the baby sleeps.
As simple as it sounds, make sleep a priority - It can be hard for moms to head off to bed when they see all the things that need to be done, like folding laundry and making tomorrow’s lunches, but consistent sleep needs to be a priority. The more you can stick to the routine, the more success you’ll have stopping the momsomnia for good.
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