Why a full night's sleep won't always restore you.
We generally think of new moms as sleep-deprived zombies, but they actually get a little more shut-eye than the average American, logging 7.2 hours a night, according to a new study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Here's the catch: They aren't getting the quality of sleep they need.
Michael J. Breus, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and both a diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He was one of the youngest people to have passed the board at age 31 and, with a specialty in sleep disorders, is one of only 163 psychologists in the world with his credentials and distinction. His first book, Good Night: The Sleep Doctor’s 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health, an Amazon Top 100 Best Seller, has been met with rave reviews and continues to change the lives of readers. It is available in paperback as Beauty Sleep: Look Younger, Lose Weight, and Feel Great Through Better Sleep.
Editor: Saad Shaheed
"New mothers aren't really sleep-deprived," says study author Hawley Montgomery-Downs, a psychologist and the coordinator of the Behavioral Neuroscience Program at West Virginia University. "They're sleep-fragmented." Her research tracked the sleepingpatterns of moms in the first four months after delivery.
Normal patterns of sleep follow definitive cycles, each lasting 90 minutes to two hours. Women who must get up for feedings (as well as those who suffer from disorders like sleep apnea, or the oft-awoken victims of partners with restless leg syndrome) may not log enough cycles to feel refreshed. When it comes to sleep, quality beats quantity. —Michael J. Breus, Ph.D.
Experiencing a string of rough nights? Follow these tips to recover and reclaim some R & R.
Take naps: If you're severely sleep-quality deprived, you'll benefit most from a 90-minute nap (one long enough to rack up another cycle). But usually, a 20-minute power nap temporarily restores brain power. Set aside 30 minutes, since it should take 10 minutes to fall asleep.
Cut back on Don't drink coffee after 2 P.M. If you're truly dependent on an afternoon pick-me-up, reach for green tea after lunch.caffeine:
Avoid nightcaps: Yes, alcohol makes you sleepy. It also keeps you out of the deep stages of sleep, causes dehydration, and wakes you in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Stop after a glass of wine with dinner.