For many new mums, myself included, lack of sleep and exhaustion are a challenging problem in the early months of caring for a new baby.
Having reached a point in the latter stages of pregnancy where I was waking up to four times a night to pee, I thought I was pretty good with broken sleep and tiredness… Oh, how wrong could I be? Now several months into my journey into motherhood and I have a permanent dazed look about me and long for the day where I don’t feel like a crazed zombie craving copious amounts of coffee and cake!
Now lack of sleep, a crying baby and nighttime feeding of course vary from mother to mother. Some babies sleep through the night from fairly early on (lucky mamas!) but many don’t. Personally, I have chosen to breastfeed (after a very tricky and painful start) and have gone from wishing my baby would sleep through the night to choosing to continue with breastfeeding, even if that means getting up several times a night to nurse. Madness, I know, but I love it! We all make the choices that are right for our baby and us (breastfed or bottle fed - baby gets fed, which is the main priority!) but sometimes we have no choice when it comes to lack of sleep.
So where does this leave my sleep?
It basically results in a very common problem for new mums and that is interrupted sleep. We end up waking when baby wants to wake and early mornings where an extra hours sleep is what my body really wants. I have lost count of the number of times I have heard people say ‘sleep when baby sleeps’, but baby often sleeps on me or if baby does go into the cot I simply need a wee or fancy eating some lunch or taking a shower. The reality of actually getting some shut-eye in the day when baby is asleep is virtually impossible. And now as baby gets bigger she sleeps less in the day anyway, and usually only when I am out walking her in the buggy.
The conundrum – how to get sleep without sleeping?
Now although I have mentioned above that getting sleep is virtually impossible, I am able to get short bursts of high quality relaxation and rest. I feel like I am getting sleep, without actually sleeping. At least once per day during one of my baby’s naps, when a family member takes over the reins, or when she has gone to bed for the night I carve out time for a 10-20 minute guided relaxation. Baby can be asleep on me, in her cot or I can find a quiet space all to myself. Sometimes even when she is awake but settled I can squeeze it in too whilst lying on the sofa or bed. It literally recharges my batteries and makes me feel like I have had a full nights sleep when in fact I have just rested for a short period. In the picture above, I literally crashed out on the lounge floor after coming in from shopping and someone took a photo of me.
How does it work?
I am in a very fortunate position that I was a yoga teacher before becoming a mum and have taken special training in Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep or guided relaxation). I feel like I have insider knowledge and a special trick up my sleeve compared to most new mummies. Yoga Nidra meditation has been my saviour for the past few months and really helped me to regain perspective, reduce anxiety and tension and relieve any exhaustion as it creeps up on me. I simply get comfortable, press play on my phone or laptop and listen to the words of the recording. The body remains still and relaxed but the mind just simply follows the words on the recording. After the recording ends I wake up and feel more relaxed and refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of my day. It’s as easy as that! Ok sometimes baby wakes me up mid-flow or I am in an awkward position because she is sleeping on top of me but most of the time it works enough to give me that all needed energy boost that is almost better than a full nights sleep!
Yoga Nidra is a wonderful tool to assist most people who suffer from lack of sleep, anxiety or stress. It is more easily accessible than some meditation practices and requires no previous yoga experience and no equipment except for some way of playing a recording and maybe a few cushions and a blanket. It's basically a chance to get really relaxed and comfortable - you literally can't do Yoga Nidra wrong.
To find out more about Yoga Nidra and its benefits click here…
Guided Relaxations (Yoga Nidra) for New Mamas
I said above that I had insider knowledge and a trick up my sleeve with these guided relaxations… Well, I have spent the past few months bringing together a collection of relaxations tailored especially for the postnatal period so that you can enjoy exactly what I have been using myself over my first few months of motherhood. (Trust me, it’s been a lifesaver!)
Rest Mama Rest: Guided Relaxations for Whilst Baby Sleeps is an easy to use six-week online course, that shares a new Yoga Nidra each week. Each one has a specific theme and they can be used time and time again even after you complete the course. I am welcoming new mummies onto the course now and after enrolling online you gain instant access to six weeks of beautifully crafted guided relaxations and support. Please visit this page of my website: https://www.susansworldofyoga.co.uk/onlinecourses for more information or to join today.
FREE 10 minute Relaxation…
If you would like to try out a guided relaxation (Yoga Nidra meditiaion) and get a quick boost before joining the course, then simply jump to the special page of my website https://www.susansworldofyoga.co.uk/free-relaxation where you can download a FREE 10 minute ‘Relax and Rest‘ – my gift to you as a new mummy.
Welcome to the world of sleep without sleeping.