It would be delusional for new parents to expect an unbroken nights sleep, but post natal insomnia comes into play when you are unable to fall back asleep after those midnight bottle feeds and two in the morning nappy changes. Recent research has shown that new mothers spend around 20% more time awake during the first six weeks after childbirth than is the average. In addition to this, portpartum women have less dream sleep and wake more frequently than non-postpartum. Jenny Smith is a senior NHS midwife and author of Your Body, Your Baby, Your Birth, and she explains how if the lack of sleep becomes constant it can lead to postnatal depression.
Most women are able to return to their usual sleep patterns once their baby begins to adjust and can sleep through the whole night, though for others the mixture of psychological and physical changes and the shell shock of becoming a mother, can lead to this problem becoming a habit.
The best way our of this cycle is to ask for help. Sleeping pills might be a solution for some, as they help your body out of the rut it is in and break the habit of non-sleeping. Ultimately the recovery process is all about taking it easy, relaxing control and getting support. Even if it is just someone to change a few nappies, change the sheets and make some soup. Once you have caught up on sleep it becomes easier to break the cycle.