To Sleep or Not to Sleep

There are babies who sleep, and then there’s Audrey. Audrey hasn’t slept through the night in seven months, which means I have slept for four hours at the most. As you could imagine, it’s hard to function on so little sleep. Luckily, she slept a whole eight hours last night! It was such an awesome feeling to finally catch up on seven months worth of lost sleep. It’s been impossible to put her on a schedule, but I finally found a way for her to stay satisfied for longer periods of time throughout the night. For months, I’ve been worried about our health, and have actually researched what effects sleep deprivation has on your body and mind.

Effects of Sleep Deprivation:

  • Impaired Cognition- Sleep deprivation affects your memory and the ability to process information.
  • Anxiety- Lack of sleep causes an increase in anxiety levels.
  • Depression- Sleep deprivation disrupts mood regulation, increasing symptoms of depression.
  • Increased Risk of Breast Cancer- A decrease in melatonin results in a decrease of estrogen, causing an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Risk of Stroke- The risk of stroke quadruples if you sleep less than 6 hours each night.
  • Increased Risk of Heart Disease- If you don’t sleep, blood pressure doesn’t have a chance to decrease, as blood pressure decreases when you sleep.
  • Weight Gain- A lack of sleep causes a hormonal imbalance, making you feel hungry more often.
  • Increased Risk of an Accident- Driving while sleep deprived is equivalent to driving while drunk.
    • For more information on sleep deprivation, click here. To read more about driving while sleep deprived, click here.

As you can see, it’s important to get at least eight hours of sleep each night. For some of us moms, however, it’s not that simple. After speaking with Audrey’s pediatrician, I believed that it wasn’t always possible to put your baby on a schedule. Although this is true, it is possible to keep your child more satisfied throughout the night. I kept trying different things hoping they would help, and after seven months of trial and error, I finally found a helpful routine. Audrey wasn’t going to sleep before three 3 a.m., and was waking up frequently throughout the night. By getting her used to a nightly routine, she began sleeping for longer periods of time. If your baby is struggling to get to sleep or is having a hard time sleeping through the night, don’t give up hope!

Audrey’s Nightly Routine

  • Playtime (dim lights)
  • Bath (dim lights, using Johnson’s Bedtime soap)
  • Lotion or massage oil
  • Story time
  • Nurse
  • (If still awake, I let her quietly play in her crib or in my bed).
    • Co-sleeping seems to help Audrey stay sleeping longer. She used to have to nurse to go back to sleep, but she soothes herself when she realizes she’s with me. (Yes, she has separation anxiety).

If you try this routine for your baby, let me know how it goes! Thanks for reading! 🙂

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