One of the hardest things of being a new Mom – is the sleep disruption.
The call of a hungry belly, must be answered. But, while providing for the need allows for bonding, it can be a little boring. So what do Moms do, for a little entertainment, while feeding in the middle of the night ?
What do you do ?
This was the question, a group of researchers from the Psychology Dept of West Virginia University asked, 201 Moms nursing infants aged between 0 and 6 months in an on-line survey.
Awakenings in the middle of the night
All the Moms found themselves awake in the middle of the night, the younger their little one, the more disruptive the night time awakenings.
The average number of awakenings was 2.9 times, the average duration of the awakening, was 33.9 mins.
If you do the maths, that’s a wopping 98.31 minutes or 1½ hours of sleep missing.
Now, this is average – so there were Moms sleeping a whole lot more, and Moms sleeping a whole lot less. As a rule, Moms who are breastfeeding tend to get more sleep, than those who formula feed – this is part physiology and part behaviour.
What nursing Moms get up to
Most Moms made use of these awakening minutes – engaging in a little multi-tasking.
- 59 % of them checked their cellphone
- 25 % turned on their tablet computer
- 16 % cranked up the laptop/desk computer
- 20 % whiled the time away in front of the TV
Now, on the surface, this looks like a smart move – a new Mom is SUPERBUSY, she doesn’t have as much time for connecting. Using this “unexpected” down time, to catch up with friends on facebook or veg out in front of the TV, should leave her feeling “better”.
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm… should, but…..
It’s a light issue
Not really, these activities pro-long the nocturnal awakenings.
And pro-longed sleep deprivation NEVER makes you feel good, look good or think good. And when it happens, night in and night out, it takes a toll on your physiology……….. putting you at risk of depression, weight gain, even heart disease.
The reason for the trouble……………….. these devices spew out blue light.
And blue light…………….
The night valet in a panic
Upsets melatonin, this hormone is your night valet – you need him to be around to fall asleep. He is responsible for drawing the curtains, folding down the covers and popping a mint on your pillow.
Unfortunately, he is an old fashioned gentlemen, he comes from an era, when blue light was a day thing, not a night thing. Any time he is exposed to blue light, he runs and hides in a cupboard. When he is in the cupboard……………………… sleep eludes you.
When you’re awakened by a hungry belly and you switch on
the light, cellphone, tablet, computer or TV
he’s out of there…..
Of course, when you switch the device off and return to bed, he is still OUT OF THERE.
It takes him sometime to venture back out from inside the cupboard.
Delaying your sleep.
Leave you MORE sleep deprived and more grouchy the next day.
To avoid upsetting your sleep valet – you need to feed junior in “THE DARK”.
Okay, maybe DARK is not something you can do. Although, it is pretty amazing how well you can see in the dark when your eyes are acclimatized to the situation, you still run the risk of accidental ENCOUNTERS. Let’s face it, falling over the furniture or walking into a wall, is potentially more damaging, than losing a few minutes of sleep.
The “darkness” you’re aiming for, is the absence of blue light.
Historically, the kind of light humans experienced at night, was fire light. It is still light, but it is red light.
Melatonin is OKAY with red light.
Feeding baby by candle light sounds “romantic” – and do-able. Resist the temptation to CHECK-IN with the world, spend those awakening moments fostering the sacred bond, between you and your infant.
Why don’t you give it a try.
You’ll sleep better. And feel better, both in the short-term and long-term.
NOTE : If you’re really a millennial and the idea of pottering around by candle light scares you, you can still use electricity, just ensure, the light you switch on – IS A RED LIGHT.
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Mother Nature packages night time feeds so they are the perfect blend of nutrients, but she sleeps in a little sleeping potion too, helping everyone to sleep
That night light may not be protecting your child from the boogeyman – if the light is not red, it is aligned with the boogeyman.
Interested in learning more about the chemistry behind better sleep ?
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