I’m a parent. How can I get back a good sleep pattern?
Sleep deprivation can be the hardest part of parenthood. Parents say that they average 4.4 hours night time sleep during a baby’s first year. That can stop us enjoying a wonderful time, is risky for our mental health, and may start a pattern of poor sleep that won’t go away. What can we do when lavender oil and whale music isn’t enough?
I run Zeez Sleep, a start-up that makes very gentle, highly effective sleep devices. All sorts of people use them – sportsmen at the top of their game, teenagers with ADHD, people wanting optimal health. But the biggest single group of Zeez users is women who lost the habit of deep sleep when they became mothers. Typically, they find us after decades of poor sleep when the menopause hits them and their dreadful sleep becomes intolerable. So much suffering. I’d like to change that, to help parents to sleep deeply, even with a baby, to break poor sleep patterns early, and I am grateful to Keira for suggesting that I write a post.
Babies sleep. Parents don’t.
It’s not that babies don’t sleep. They do—lots, but in short chunks and often at the ‘wrong’ time of day. Parents want to sleep at night-time, preferably for eight unbroken hours.
As parents, we spend hours trying to feed and settle our baby, eventually get them to sleep, and then do the washing up rather than taking time to nap. Yet our biggest challenge is not lack of time for sleep, or prioritising washing up over rest, but rather that when we try to sleep, whether at night after waking to feed the baby or with a daytime nap, we can’t. I remember lying awake, mind racing, waiting for my baby to cry. I woke him up the first time he slept for 4 hours, needing reassurance that he was still alive! When new parents do sleep, sleep tends to be light and unrestful, rather than the deep sleep we need to repair our body and mind and wake up with energy.
How can we help you if you find that your mind won’t rest when you try to sleep, despite your best attempts at sleep hygiene? When we are in this state, our brain activity, and our heart rate and breathing are too fast for good sleep, our nervous system is slow to calm, or in stress mode, and when we eventually fall asleep, we have little deep sleep. Whilst sleeping pills tend to sedate the brain, and suppress brain activity so that we don’t wake, our approach has been to encourage good brain activity, so that we sleep deeply.
Helping parents to sleep well
Our sleep devices, the Zeez Sleep Pebble and Zeez Sleep Pad, are unique in generating extremely low power pulses designed to precisely match the natural activity of the brain as we relax, fall asleep and sleep deeply. You just pop the Pebble or Pad under your pillow, breathe, and let sleep come. Whilst other devices create a field that crosses the skull to directly affect the brain, our pulses are too gentle for that and depend on our own brain picking them up. After a few days or sometimes weeks, most of us are following a good pattern, and sleep more deeply, even if our sleep is split into baby-sized chunks. So far, success amongst young parents has been almost universal. We are rather less successful with their mums, who have had 20 or 30 years of poor sleep. It is remarkable that we can help around 80% of chronic long term poor sleepers – and we’d prefer to help sort out the problem earlier. Imagine, happier, more resilient parents, less irritability, fewer accidents.. I am thinking of my own experiences, and being so tired that I’d sometimes talk gibberish when I was reading a bedtime story.
We sell our sleep devices on sale / return, and rent them too, so it is easy to see if they work for you.
Sometimes, parents ask me about their baby’s sleep. My first question is always about the parents’ sleep. If we relax and sleep deeply, it tends to have a positive effect on our baby. Zeez sleep frequencies are designed for adults, but babies love the relaxation programme in our Sleep Pad – it gives them calm relaxation frequencies of the kind they might pick up from a mother or grandparent. Usually, that’s enough.
If you want to know more, please look at our website, www.zeez.org.uk and contact me if you have questions, You can rent a Zeez for £40 /month or buy on sale / return (we keep £25). Use the code “Mama” for a £40 discount.
Wishing you good sleep. Before, during, and after your baby’s birth.