My whole life I have had spurts of insomnia. Many many nights where I wake up and stare at the ceiling. Times when no amount of tossing and turning results in sleep. Well, at least not until its almost time to get up. The foggy head that follows is one of the worst feelings I have ever had. Funny enough, my sleep has actually improved since the birth of my baby.
When I arrived home from the hospital I was not able to sleep right away. The first few nights my mind was running constantly, I kept reliving the labour, the birth, and imagining the baby. I couldn't shut my mind off and was unable to go to sleep on demand. With the baby feeding every three hours and each feed taking at least an hour, I usually had 3 or 4 90 minute intervals during the night when I could steal sleep, but I struggled to maximize these opportunities. When the baby monitor would come to life I would instantly start bargaining with baby, begging for another hour or for it not to be the real thing. I was not able to get 90 minutes, sometimes barely 30.
Thankfully my little one napped frequently during the day and once my mind calmed down after the new had worn off the whole experience, I was able to take solid naps during the day. The naps were heavy, I would wake feeling sore on the side I had slept on. My ears and legs hurt because the deep sleep pressed so hard into the bed. I was starting to come around and now I could sleep more efficiently, and was getting more out of the nighttime intervals. I drifted into dreams much sooner and felt more rested on less sleep.
Once my son was six weeks old he only got up once at night, around 3 am. He was feeding better so it wasn't quite an hour that he needed and I was able to go right back to sleep. At the nine week mark he shocked us all and slept through the night pretty regularly, with only occasional nights where he woke in the middle needing a feed or a diaper change. As he was working out a schedule, a lot of times I would grab another hour of sleep after his first morning feed, particularily if he woke around 6 or earlier. My husband would get up with him as he had to be up for work soon, so I would greedily go back down for another hour. This had negative results though. I felt more rushed when I did get up, trying to shower and grab breakfast before my husband left; and I also felt more groggy.
My coping strategy was to stop giving into this tired heaviness at 6am and GET UP! I felt more awake, and got so much more done. On lucky days when my son naps I can sneak a few winks and if I can't get to, when I hit the pillow in the night I am beat. The bonus here is that I am sleeping so well. I still wake in the middle of the night but I go back to sleep much more easily than I ever have in my life.
Who would have ever thought that having a baby would improve your sleep!