Episode 17: The value of sleep from new borns to parents

Hosts: Judee Sunderland and Gillian Norrie

In this podcast we talk with Anitra Graves director of the Sleep Disorder Center @ Northside Hospital. Anitra is a expert on the value and necessity of sleep. What is one of the down side’s to having babies all at once? Almost all bleary-eyed parents would agree that it is the lack of sleep. Any newborn is likely to keep odd hours, but balancing the demands of multiple newborns means that sleep is a scarce commodity.

We ask questions to Anitra Graves regarding newborns and sleep, different philosophies on sleep patterns, getting enough sleep for Moms and new parents, sleep apnea – which is a common condition with severe preemies. Plus other very important topics on sleep and disorders, sleep walking, parasomnia, non-rapid eye movement sleep and Lagophthalmos[sleeping with eyes open].

Of course! Getting your children to sleep through the night is a parents ultimate goal. Adequate sleep is especially important for new moms, since sleep deprivation can lead to postpartum depression. An extreme result of overtired, frustrated parents dealing with multiple crying babies.

Other effects of sleep deprivation are ::

•    having trouble waking
•    feeling groggy all day
•    inability to concentrate
•    nodding off at work or home
•    mood problems, i.e. irritability, depression, anxiety

When you apply these symptoms to everyday life, you can see the serious effects of sleep deprivation. The stress felt by parents can affect their relationship with each other and with their children.

Anitra Graves gives great advice and knowledge to all parents, especially Moms in the podcast on how to get sleep when you can and get into a routine, plus stresses how important sleep is for everyone!

Here are a few Tips from Judee and Gillian on sleep and how to cope the first few months - When you get home. It’s not easy, that’s for sure - But above all, despite the difficulties, try to cherish this time. You’ll be amazed how quickly it passes!

  • Catch up on sleep whenever you can. Naps are a great way to catch up. Sleep on weekends and work out a system of shifts so both parents can take turns napping.
  • Try and keep supplies on each floor, diapers, blankets, clothes, wipes - so after feedings you don’t have to walk up and down and you can relax a little bit between and after the feeding routines. If possible, ask a friend or family member to come and watch your babies while you nap.
  • Change your diet. Starchy, heavy foods induce a drowsy feeling. Focus on lighter foods - fruit, vegetables and lighter carbs to feel more alert.Try not to exercise within three hours of bedtime.
  • For parents of multiples, take turns with the nighttime feedings. If possible, keep room temperature water and bottles pre-filled with formula powder at your bedside to reduce the number of trips to the kitchen.
  • Skip the chores. As hard as it is, try not to do household chores when Baby sleeps. When Baby naps, you should too.

This podcast episode is sponsored by Northside Hospital. Northside offers comprehensive services for mothers, fathers and their babies including pregnancy planning, lactation consults and baby care and everything in between. Northside Hospital for a lifetime of care - For more information visit www.northside.com

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