Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia: 15 Ways to Get Better Sleep

The postpartum period is often synonymous with sleep deprivation…

But it’s usually caused by a hungry newborn. 

If that baby isn’t causing all kinds of sleep disturbances and mom still isn’t sleeping, then it could be a case of postpartum anxiety insomnia.  Many mothers find themselves unable to sleep due to racing thoughts, unreasonable worries, and the inability to calm their body and mind at night.

Postpartum anxiety is a common condition that can affect a mother’s life in several different ways.  She may experience social anxiety and avoid leaving the house or interacting with others.  Anxiety can also manifest as anger and cause postpartum rage.  Often, mothers experience a combination of postpartum depression and anxiety.  But sleep deprivation can exacerbate all of these symptoms and cause even worse ones.  There are several ways to treat postpartum anxiety insomnia naturally and stop things from getting out of control.

Here are 15 ways to get a better night’s sleep for moms who are suffering from postpartum anxiety insomnia.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia: 15 Ways to Get Better Sleep *This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.  Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


1. Create a Routine

Just like sleep training children, a bedtime routine is important for encouraging proper sleep.  Going to bed at the same time each night and performing a few routine tasks will help train your brain and body to know when it’s time to go to sleep.  Rewiring the brain altogether is one of the best ways to help fight off postpartum anxiety insomnia.

Keep in mind that it may take a while for your body to adjust to the routine.  Depending on how bad your postpartum anxiety is, it could take months before you can regularly get a good night’s sleep.  And since postpartum anxiety can be a life-long battle, you should be prepared to make your bedtime routine permanent.

How to Create a Self-Care Routine as a Stay-At-Home Mom
.

2. Unplug

Social media is a huge contributor to postpartum anxiety insomnia.  Scrolling through Facebook or watching Netflix before bed will only fuel your racing brain with more needless worries and thoughts.  Make a plan to unplug from technology at least 1 hour before bed.  Turn off the TV and switch your phone to Do Not Disturb mode so that notifications aren’t disturbing you in the middle of the night.


3. Do Some Light Exercise

Don’t freak out – you don’t really have to exercise… I know it sounds exhausting.  The last thing I want to do after taking care of kids all day is exercise.  However, exercise has been known to have a ton of sleep-inducing properties.  So, if you feel like going for a run on the treadmill or doing some yoga, go for it, because it will definitely help fight off postpartum anxiety insomnia.

But if the thought of “working out” is causing you even more anxiety, then save it for the morning instead.  You can still get a serotonin boost by doing a few simple stretches.  Stretch your neck and shoulders, bend over and touch your toes or sit against a wall for a few seconds.  Postpartum anxiety causes a lot of tension in the muscles and stretching those out before bed will help you feel more relaxed.

5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched
.

4. Take a Hot Shower

A hot shower is a great way to calm down before bed.  The steam and heat combined with the gentle massage of the water beating down will relax the muscles and help open up the lungs.  A massaging shower head is a bonus but not necessary.  This can be especially welcome if you’re feeling over touched at the end of the day.

Don’t feel obligated to do anything else except just stand under the water and enjoy it.  A hot bath can work in the same way, if you have the time.  Throw in some Epsom salts for an added boost of magnesium to help relax sore muscles, fight off depression and induce sleep.


5. Sip Some Tea

There are several herbal teas that can help fight postpartum anxiety insomnia.  Chamomile and Valerian Root are the most popular bedtime teas and for good reason.  Green tea, ginger tea and other blends are all great too!  Experiment with different flavors and combinations to find out what works.  Even some plain hot water with a slice of lemon will help you detox before bed.  As long as it’s hot and caffeine-free, it will help to calm and soothe your body from the inside.

7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary
.

6. Meditate

Meditation is not for everyone.  But if you’re dealing with a case of postpartum anxiety insomnia, it might help to try to cleanse your brain of the millions of thoughts floating around in there.

There are actually a few different ways to meditate. You can try using a guided meditation app to help you get started.  It’s also easy to practice self-guided meditation by setting a timer for a few minutes and sitting quietly as you work on eliminating all the thoughts from your brain.  Meditating before bed is a way to manage your anxiety before your head hits the pillow, so that once it does – you will actually be able to sleep.


7. Invest in a Good Mattress

Sometimes it’s not the postpartum anxiety alone that is causing insomnia.  A good night’s sleep begins with comfort and your mattress has a lot to do with it.  But mattress shopping can be really tricky (I know this because I used to sell them for a living!)  Lying down on a mattress in a showroom for a few minutes is very different than sleeping on it all night long.  You can try several different ones but eventually they all start to feel the same.  And then, once you get that mattress home with you – what happens if you don’t like it after a few nights – or worse, after a few months?

The key to making an important purchase such as a mattress is to look for one that will guarantee you a good night’s sleep.  Unlike big box stores, mattress companies that sell their products directly will offer a better satisfaction guarantee and stand behind their product.   The Nectar mattress, for example, offers a lifetime warranty, free shipping and is the only one I have seen that offers a free trial for an entire year!

If you’re not sure of whether or not your mattress is contributing to your postpartum anxiety insomnia, it’s worth trying out a new mattress to see if anything changes.  Try a Nectar mattress for an entire year plus get $125 off using my affiliate link.

How to Avoid the Stress of Sleep Training
.

8. Use a Weighted Blanket

Weighted blankets are all the rage right now.  They have proven benefits to reduce symptoms of anxiety and help improve sleep.  The best part is, they’re a simple tool that doesn’t require anything other than just cuddling up and getting comfortable.

The simple science behind a weighted blanket is that it creates a sensation of safety, similar to being hugged or held.  The heavier the blanket, the more it stimulates your skin and sends messages to your brain that you are safe and protected.  This allows the brain to stop worrying and rest for a while.

Consider purchasing one through Weighted Comforts.  Not only do they offer a wide variety at competitive prices, but they’re also sewn by refugees living in the U.S.


9. Grow a potted plant

There are several plants that encourage a proper sleep environment.  Having a potted plant on your nightstand or anywhere in your bedroom can purify the air and rid it of any toxins or negative energy.  Some plants with scented flowers, such as lavender and jasmine, can actually induce sleep.  This is a beautiful and easy way to encourage your mind to feel at ease enough to sleep.

Don’t feel intimidated if you don’t have much of a green thumb.  Start with one plant and research it to find out how to take care of it.  Many houseplants are low maintenance, so as long as you don’t completely neglect them, they will thrive.  Be warned though, growing houseplants can become a very addicting hobby…

15 Soothing Bedroom Plants to Help You Sleep


10. Start sniffing

Using scents is an easy way to transition the brain into a relaxed state.  The National Sleep Foundation even suggests using scents to help you get a better night’s sleep.  In order to battle a case of postpartum anxiety insomnia, you should consider everything that you are inhaling in your bedroom – from dust and allergens that could be trapped in your carpet or mattress, to the fabric softener you use on your sheets.

There are several different ways to incorporate scents to help your mind and body relax so that you can not only fall asleep… but stay asleep!  Scents that are good for relaxation and inducing sleep include Lavender, Vetiver, Cedarwood, Valerian and Frankincense, but the list goes on.  You can try these in an essential oil (either a roll-on or in a diffuser), a linen spray, candles or scented satchets.  You can even purchase Lavender-scented fabric softener to use on your sheets!


11. Try some background noise

One of the biggest problems with postpartum anxiety insomnia is the brain being unable to stop spiraling at nighttime.  Something worth trying is distracting the brain through the use of background noise, such as gentle instrumental music or white noise like rain sounds.  You could purchase a sound machine, but there are also several white noise playlists on Spotify.  There are even apps that you can download that have a large selection of different sounds as well as other sleep aid features.


12. Don’t be afraid of the dark

Our brains are hardwired to associate sleep with darkness.  With postpartum anxiety insomnia, it’s easy to look around the room and find a hundred other things to worry or think about.  Reduce the amount of outside stimulation by making your bedroom completely dark.  You can install blackout blinds or wear a sleep mask.  Eliminate anything that your eyes can focus on, so cover up the blinking light on the TV and turn your digital clock around.  If you start to feel anxious in the darkness, remind yourself that you can turn on a light whenever you want to, and that you are in complete control.

Online Therapy
.

13. Keep a bedside journal

It’s true that we often think of the most important (or completely unimportant) things while we’re lying in bed.  The thought of possibly forgetting about it in the morning can cause a certain level of anxiety and disrupt our sleep.

Writing in a journal or worry workbook before bed can help to eliminate some of the extra thoughts in our heads, but often we have a brainstorm as we’re lying in bed trying to fall asleep.  So keep a journal or notepad and pen beside your bed so that when these seemingly important thoughts come to mind in the middle of the night, we can write them down, go back to sleep and know they will be there in the morning.

14. Increase melatonin levels

Melatonin is a sleep-regulating hormone that is naturally produced by our bodies.  For a woman with postpartum anxiety, those hormone levels could be out of balance causing the insomnia.  While melatonin supplements are readily available, they run the risk of causing side effects, just as with any other drug.  They could also cause problems if a mother is on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds or breastfeeding.  If you plan to start a melatonin supplement for postpartum anxiety insomnia, always check with your doctor first.  However, there are ways of increasing your melatonin production naturally.

A lot of it has to do with diet.  Foods that are rich in magnesium can help your body produce more melatonin.  Pineapples, oranges, bananas and tart cherries are also rich in natural melatonin and make great bedtime snacks.

Months of waking up several times in a night to feed the baby or go to the bathroom during pregnancy, etc., can cause your natural melatonin production to slow down.  A change in seasons and increased hours of darkness can also have an effect. You can help correct this by exposing yourself to bright, direct sunlight during the day, and sleeping in complete darkness at night.

.

15. Track sleep patterns

The best way to know if you are truly suffering from postpartum anxiety insomnia is to keep track of your sleeping patterns.  Tracking your sleep habits for a week, or a month or longer is a great way to help you identify what is keeping you from getting the best night’s sleep possible.  You can write them down in a sleep tracker log or  download an app that will track your sleeping patterns for you.

.

Sleep deprivation is very dangerous to a mother’s mental health.

If you can’t remember the last time you had a good night’s sleep then you’re at risk for suffering from postpartum rage, intrusive thoughts and a variety of physical symptoms as well.   Consider trying cognitive behavior therapy if something specific is keeping you awake at night.  But if you’ve tried everything you can and still find yourself suffering from insomnia, make sure to speak to your doctor.

For more information about the effects of sleep deprivation, check out this guide from Yoo Health.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia: 15 Ways to Get Better Sleep

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia: 15 Ways to Get Better Sleep

Benefits of Yoga for Postpartum Depression

Yoga is known for it’s amazing mood boosting and stress reducing benefits.

Using yoga for postpartum depression can help to improve your overall mood and well-being.  Adding yoga into a regular self-care routine is a simple change that can make a big difference.  Since it is a low-impact way to exercise, it can be safe for mothers who are pregnant or recovering from childbirth.  It’s also a great exercise to do with children or babies around because they love to watch and sometimes even follow along.

In this guest post from Meera Watts of SiddhiYoga.com, you can learn about all the amazing benefits of yoga for postpartum depression.

yoga for postpartum depression *This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author.  Please note that this post may contain affiliate links*


There are a variety of benefits yoga has displayed. It has been used for centuries for good reason. Instead of using prescription medications, there was the development of yoga to manage physical and mental problems. So it is that yoga can help us in the modern world with depression, stress, and mindfulness.

You are more prone to nurturing yourself when you create body awareness and of course mind awareness. You won’t beat yourself up anymore and let your ego dictate how you’ll feel. Yoga is a deeply grounding practice that brings out your truths. As your heart opens more and you learn about who you really are, you’ll have a profound sense of self. This can only create a place of self-love.

Here are the benefits of yoga for postpartum depression that you might not know about.

Harvard released the suggestion after a recent controlled trial study that yoga can help with the following:

• Reduction of the impact of stress in your daily life.
• Assists with anxiety and depression.
• Teaches you to self-soothe yourself with techniques like meditation, relaxation, and through the exercise aspect of the practice.
• Energy is improved.

Yoga and Depression

The physical things in yoga will have your body moving in all sorts of directions. You get a gentle workout, a core workout, and learn to breathe properly. Then, you’ll do meditation. Yoga teaches you a lot and taps into your mind, body and soul. It can be helpful with depression and the symptoms. For example, yoga helps you to concentrate and helps you with your energy levels. These are common problems of depression that are solved through yoga.

Yoga helps you to manage any mental and emotional problems you’re dealing with. Conditions and disorders that can lead to depression such as chronic pain can be relieved.

.

Improve Your Mood

The reason we experience things like depression and anxiety is due to unbalanced levels of certain chemicals in the brain. Serotonin is something that makes us happy and gives us energy. When we don’t have enough, we can feel down. Yoga naturally helps to increase serotonin levels. Yoga is gentle so even if a person does feel low, they can go to a class and get the nurturing benefits. The fluid nature of the moves you do can evoke a nice feeling. As your body moves, you become more conscious of that instead of how you feel emotionally.

Warrior poses can make you feel powerful. That is not a feeling that someone with depression usually feels. You will also concentrate on your breathing which can bring you more energy.

.

Reducing Stress and Anxiety

Yoga works to increase your heart rate. Through breathing and encouraging blood to flow better with poses, it can change time between heartbeats. The relaxation response will dominate over the stress response in the body. The body gets better at monitoring itself and fighting against stress. It also reduces levels of cortisol that are released in the body. When you do get anxious, you cause the body to overproduce this chemical. When you have too much in the body, it can cause damage to the mind and body.

Yoga lowers your blood pressure and makes it easier to breathe. When you learn how to do deep breathing in yoga, you can immediately relax yourself. You also increase your pain tolerance by reducing stress. Stress has been shown to lower your pain tolerance.

.

Yoga and Mindfulness

A big part of yoga is learning to be mindful. This is the key to solve any negative feelings you have. As you learn to just observe the ego mind instead of going down to its level, you can manage any storm. It is the ego that says you’re not good enough, that you can’t do something, or that there’s something to worry about. Almost nothing it tells you has any true purpose and it can lead you to feel extremely angry, sad, anxious, or afraid.The funny thing is, the ego is basing it’s reality on your past situations. Say you’re triggered by a smell, this is the ego searching for an experience that occurred with a relate-able scent. If the memory is a good one, you feel happy. If it’s a bad memory, it can make you feel instantly terrible.

.

Mindfulness is being aware of the emotional pain or the physical pain that manifests in you when these things happen. You may not be able to remember what happened when you were five that created sadness from a smell. You can scan your body and be aware of what the brain is saying. Even just witnessing your thoughts can calm the rest of your body down.

Your ego doesn’t have a chance to berate you. When you’re kinder to yourself, you are less likely to do things like emotionally eat or get angry at people who don’t deserve it. Medical studies and scientific research say that meditation and mindfulness has neurological benefits. Yoga works on the body and through the breath to create a centered mind within you. Stress is decreased and so is depression. You will experience a higher quality of life with that open heart you’ve created. Then you’re not prone to fear and self-doubt.

5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched
.

Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of SiddhiYoga.com, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh and Dharamshala) and Indonesia (Bali).

For more information, view her website at www.siddhiyoga.com and follow her on social media.

Youtube | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook


Yoga
Online-Therapy.com

Online-Therapy.com:  Access yoga videos as part of the online therapy toolbox as well as several other ways to get help for postpartum depression.

Yoga for postpartum depression