sleep deprivation for new mothers and tips for rest from sleep specialists

Sleep deprivation with a newborn: 7 types of rest for a new mother

The first few months with a new baby brings both joys and challenges, with the number one being how to manage sleep deprivation with a newborn. When you spend your days giving yourself to another human, it may seem impossible to find the time to rest, recover and restore yourself.
Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith identified 7 types of rest & our beautiful community shared ways they incorporated them into daily life as a mum, which are far more realistic than the advice to 'Sleep when the baby sleeps'. 
Physical Rest
Restorative activities that improve physical health and wellbeing.
This might look like:
- A solo walk
- A yoga or Pilates class
- Gentle stretching first thing in the morning
- Non-sleep Deep Rest (NSDR) 
Mental Rest
Breaks that allow us to detach from the cognitive or invisible mental load.
This might look like:
- Deep conscious breathing or taking audible sighs throughout the day
- Dedicated time to focus on tasks without access to screens 
- Reading a book before bed as a way of winding down without a screen before sleep 
Sensory Rest
Allowing your mind and body a break from noise and overstimulation.
This might look like:
- A warm shower or bath in silence
- An hour to decompress before bed once the baby is asleep or first thing in the morning before baby wakes up with limited screens or music
- Listening to guided meditation as a way of focusing the mind without distraction 
Creative Rest
Making space for creativity, play, and novelty outside our daily rhythms and routines.
This might look like:
- Writing thoughts down in a journal before bed
- Reading a good book
- A walk in nature
Emotional Rest
Exercising Boundaries and allowing space to process our emotions.
This might look like:
- Creating space and distance between visitors for new babies until you feel ready
- Surrounding yourself with an inner circle you can be vulnerable with who will listen without judgement
- Outsourcing jobs when you feel overwhelmed or calling on a trusted list of professionals such a sleep consultant for advice on managing sleep deprivation with a newborn. 
Social Rest
Taking time to recharge away from others or curating quality social interactions that will feel rejuvenating, not draining.
This might look like:
- Being selective with who you spend your time with, especially during challenging times and limiting contact and interactions with people or external sources that don't bring joy, support or positivity to your life 
- Saying no to social commitments that feel like an obligation rather than something you enjoy.
- Having friends drop off food if you don’t feel up to hosting visitors.
Spiritual Rest
Engaging in an activity that provides us with a sense of community, purpose or belonging. 
This might look like: 
- Joining a local Mother’s Group as a weekly activity and purpose to get out of the house
- Joining a postnatal exercise class with familiar faces each week
- Finding a local class to attend with your baby, with others in a similar life stage to you 
The impacts of sleep deprivation with a newborn go beyond the physical and can have lasting impacts on the mental and emotional health of new parents. Reframe the way you think about making time for yourself and treat it as a priority moving into postpartum and beyond. Before your baby arrives, plan ways to carve out time for yourself so that it becomes part of the daily routine. Things won't always go to plan, but making your inner circle aware of your need to rest and recover is the first step towards managing sleep deprivation with a newborn. 

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