Postpartum Insomnia

Hi,

My ten month old  started sleeping through most nights a couple of months ago but in a cruel twist of fate, I have developed  insomnia. It's similar to what I experienced during my third trimester (wide awake from ~1am-5am) and nothing I have tried or read has helped. Common recommendations are cool, dark room, no electronics, white noise, deep breathing exercises at bedtime etc.  I do think it is hormonal and gets worse depending on where I am in my cycle. Does anyone have experience with this? Did it go away? I don't want to take any medication but I am starting to feel desperate, crazed, and like I'm not the mother/wife that I want to be right now. Any advice, hope, or recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

RE: Postpartum Insomnia ()

Oh I experienced something similar specially when my baby started to sleep longer, I tried drinking calming tea and go to bed right away when I feel tired, sometimes it helped, sometimes it didn't but eventually I started to sleep better, still not where I would like to be.

RE: Postpartum Insomnia ()

I had trouble sleeping once my baby finally started sleeping through the night. I would still wake up when he used to have his night feedings, and couldn't fall back asleep as easily once he wasn't nursing anymore. I had taken 1/2 Unisom sleep tabs for nausea during my 1st trimester (it's actually an antinausea antihistamine marketed as a sleep aid), and had some left, so would take just 1/4 pill and somehow it would take the edge off enough for me to go back to sleep. I'll still take it sometimes, like if my baby or I are sick and waking often and I don't fall back to sleep within 30 minutes or so (and it's before 2 am, otherwise it will still be active in the morning). It also does seem to happen around my period, as you note, or when I'm more stressed and my mind doesn't settle easily. It's not ideal, but it seems pretty benign, and things were definitely worse several months ago than they are now.   

RE: Postpartum Insomnia ()

((Hugs))  Insomnia can be miserable.  I have suffered from it on and off for years.  One of the things that helped me was giving up sleeping in on weekends.  I have to keep my schedule as much the same from day to day as possible.  Now if I cannot sleep, I get up after 20 minutes and read with a dim LED booklight.  At night, I only read things that are uplifting -- often kids' chapter books or home decorating magazines.  A few months ago I subscribed to the Calm app and just love it.  Doing their 10-minute meditation every day really helps and during insomnia I use their "Breath Circle" or the Sleep Stories.  Best wishes for better sleep!

RE: Postpartum Insomnia ()

Hi-

What you're going through sounds terrible!  I'm in my third trimester right now, so I haven't experienced exactly what you're going through, but I've had a lot of luck with a magnesium supplement called Calm.  It's available at Whole Foods and Amazon, probably other places too.  You just put a spoonful in some warm water and drink it before you go to sleep.  It's helped improve the quality and duration of my sleep.  Best of luck!!!

RE: Postpartum Insomnia ()

I had that pretty badly and it took me a long time to recover from the insomnia (4-5 years, don't want to scare you!). For me it was caused by adrenal fatigue and I had to rest, de-stress with meditation, eat a nutrient dense diet and basically nurture my body. Improving my gut health also helped. Good luck!

RE: Postpartum Insomnia ()

Have you thought of visiting your OB to get their thoughts?  I finally realized I had post partum anxiety which led to my insomia. I was scared to take medication but it was the only thing that helped me get sleep. I was frightened of the meds at first until I realized this was science - it’s a hormone change you can’t control. I’ll be weaning off the meds really soon as my sleep and well being has improved tremendously.

I felt anxious and desperate as well during that stage - don’t be scared to get help.

oh - and there are also post partum therapists. Feel free to message me if you’d like a referral, I saw one that was great.

P.S.  my medication and doctors visits were covered by insurance

RE: Postpartum Insomnia ()

You don't say anything about caffeine. Make sure you give up coffee, tea, caffeinated sodas, chocolate, etc. Then, some people become sensitive to chemicals in their environment. Make sure you quit using perfume and scented laundry detergent. In fact, it is best if you find alternatives to all scented products. Even the fluoride in toothpaste can be a problem. Try brushing with water for a week and see if that helps. Also, new carpet and new paint can off-gas. Leaving your window open for fresh air at night can be helpful. You may want to try Benadryl or some form of cannabis. Both of those are pretty mild drugs. 

RE: Postpartum Insomnia ()

Thank you to everyone for your responses! They are much appreciated. 

It's helpful to know I'm not alone/abnormal with this. I'm looking into the Calm app and starting to incorporate some meditation before bed. What I'm hearing is that self-care (nutrition, meditation, calming activities) to hedge stress/anxiety have been key for others. I've also been recommended the book The Sleep Solution by Chris Winter, which has been remarkably interesting in terms of mindset around sleep. Thanks again!!

RE: Postpartum Insomnia ()

This is entirely anecdotal, but my post-partum insomnia was much alleviated by getting my iron stores tested, and then taking ferritin (doctor-prescribed). 

RE: Postpartum Insomnia ()

I also found it incredibly difficult to sleep through the night even after my child finally got the hang of it. Too many years of disrupted sleep! I rely on a podcast called “sleep with me” - rambling stories that are interesting but kind of hard to follow told in a soothing voice that puts me to sleep within about 10-15 minutes. That’s what works for me!