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The Importance of Sleep

Mom and Dad lay on the bed holding their newborn baby in the middle of their embrace in this colorful image captured by ArtShaped Photography and Birth Services.
 
It is estimated that in average, we spend a third of our life sleeping. It does seem an awful lot, considering how much we do every day and how much we may wish to accomplish when we think about the future.
Whenever I meet a newly pregnant mom and she asks me if I have any doula advice about things she should or shouldn’t do in preparation of the arrival of her bundle of joy, the first thing that comes to my mind is SLEEP!
Sleep! Seriously. Do not even joke about it. In fact, if I recollect correctly, to sleep as much as possible was the same advice I was given when I was expecting my first baby. Problem is, most of the time, it is hard to let go of the endless list we have on our fridge and think that taking a nap is more important. But when it comes to sleep, it is not merely a luxury; resting and sleeping is beneficial for our body, brain, mood and it will improve our interactions too.
Moreover, I am starting to understand that once you become a parent and feel you have your heart always walking outside of your body, full nights sleep are more rare than snow in Los Angeles. So stock up on it. At least to make a nice memory of how it felt…
During the post partum period, there are so many factors that need to be taken in consideration in order to support mom and her new baby, but also the whole expanded family. First of all, there is an ordeal of hormones going on, second everyone is sleep deprived. So whenever it is possible and baby is asleep, please put aside whatever you are doing and take a nap. Yes, even if it means that the sink overflows with dirty dishes, believe me, you’ll wash them later in a much better mood and possibly faster. You’ll never know, maybe you’ll even feel grateful that you’d be doing the dishes!
This might not be possible if you work a 9-5 job, but then you perhaps need to be more diligent with you bedtime and catch an early night. For some of us, 7 hours of sleep at night is enough, for others 8 is the minimum; so investigate what is the best option for you and stick to it like it’s a golden rule. Embrace it like part of the rhythm of your household and enjoy the benefits you’ll soon start seeing coming from it.
If it is true that normally during sleep our body rebuilds tissues and repairs neuro connections in our brain, can you imagine how important it is for moms to be? You are allowing this important health rejuvenation to happen for more than just mom!
Parenthood aside, the truth of the matter is that when we are happy, we are so much more connected to what we are doing and who we are around to that just being becomes an act of joy. Sleep is such a influential factor in determining the fluctuation of our mood and we need to pay more attention to it. So let’s do a little experiment and try to stop next time you find yourself crabby, whether you are pregnant or not or you take care of a young baby or not. Stop and ask yourself if perhaps taking a 20 minutes power nap could possibly give you a boost.

Lay down, cover your eyes, turn off the phone and rest. Oh and I want to reiterate that this is valid for dads to!