Hey, New Mom: Here’s the Real Reason Why You’re So Tired in the Morning
Any woman who is a mother knows exactly how much your kids rely on you.
They see you as “supermom” in a sense. Feeling tired, or just needing a break is almost impossible.
We try to cook, clean, take care of their needs, and play every day. That’s why we had kids and we love it… when we feel good!
However, sometimes I wish I could clone myself! Sometimes I just feel like… sleeping (shh… don’t tell anyone).
Mothers of young children – particularly stay-at-home moms – tend to get a bad rap.
Why doesn’t she do her hair more often?
She seems to have a disproportional amount of yoga pants.
I’m not sure why she refers to herself in third person.
Sure, mothers may sleep a little less and be busy at home during this season, I have another theory on why we can be so tired even when it seems (to the outside world particularly) like we never do much of anything. Why are moms so tired? I have a theory on that.
It is this. Hyper-vigilance. Hyper-vigilance is defined as an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviors whose purpose is to detect threats. Hyper-vigilance denotes a constant scanning of the environment for threats, exhaustion, and abnormally increased awareness.
Why do one thing if I can do 6 and plan another in my head at the same time?
When I walk from one room to the other I put away 3 things in the process. I will make a phone call, change a diaper and hold a baby at the same time.
This is helpful in that it allows us to accomplish many things at once. It is unhelpful when it means we are so busy that we do not relax and rest.
You need to find it hard to slow down, smell the coffee or roses, and not worry about the state of the house, the children’s faces or the laundry room.
So when a new study published in Sleep Medicine found that interrupted sleep can have the same physical toll on you as no sleep at all, I was hardly surprised. Researchers at Tel Aviv University’s School of Psychological Sciences found a connection between broken sleep and “compromised cognitive abilities, shortened attention spans, and negative moods,” according to Science Daily — and that was after volunteers endured just one night of interrupted sleep. If that weren’t bleak enough, the scientists also discovered that a night of fitful rest is basically the same as getting four (four!) consecutive hours of sleep. “These night wakings could be relatively short, only five to 10 minutes,” points out lead researcher Professor Avi Sadeh, “but they disrupt the natural sleep rhythm.”
“Our study shows the impact of only one disrupted night,” he continued, “but we know that these effects accumulate and therefore the functional price new parents — who awaken three to 10 times a night for months on end — pay for common infant sleep disturbance is enormous. Besides the physical effects of interrupted sleep, parents often develop feelings of anger toward their infants and then feel guilty about these negative feelings.”
And those bad feelings, to be honest, were much harder on me than the crush of nausea and exhaustion that greeted me every morning. Here was this innocent, beautiful child who I loved more than anything, yet his constant wakings were causing my husband and me more angst and stress than anything ever had. Dr. Sadeh, who regularly counsels new parents at TAU’s sleep clinic, hopes studies like this one bring attention to the issues exhausted moms and dads face. As a mom who survived a wicked, relentless stretch of sleep deprivation, I hope so, too.
Tips for the tired mom:
1- More WATER!
2- More Protein.
4- A shower.
5- Grab a rolling pin. (Lie on your back and put a rolling pin under your legs. Roll back & forth on it & it gives you a little at-home massage.)
6- Dad deals with older kids.
7- Stop cleaning.
Oh! And don’t forget extra SLEEP when you can sneak it in! Easier said than done, right?!