Is Parenthood Causing This Surprising Change In Your Health?
One of the challenges faced by parents, particularly immediately following childbirth, is the fatigue brought on by major lifestyle changes including interrupted sleep and decreased sleep. Inevitably, parents must adapt to this new normal in order to care for their baby. However, the impact of sleep loss is substantial. Effects include decreased energy, loss of concentration, decreased focus, and irritability. And those are just the obvious psychological symptoms. Sleeplessness can also cascade into a weakened immune system (including susceptibility to viruses and infections), increased inflammation, and becoming more accident prone. And while we tend to think this applies only to parents, it also applies to babies and kids. That’s right: research shows that children with more sleep disturbances have significantly more injury-prone behavior.
With the myriad potential hurdles to a good night’s sleep with a child, how can parents ensure a better night’s sleep for themselves and their kids? One way is chiropractic care. In a study of over 1,000 mothers, chiropractic care for both mother and infant showed statistically significant improvements in a number of areas of behavior including sleep issues, feeding problems, crying, face-up sleeping position, pain, reduced neck range of motion, and time performing tummy-down positioning. The study also looked at maternal depression, anxiety, and satisfaction with motherhood, and it found improvement in all areas when the mother was under chiropractic care.
Sleep deprivation amongst mothers is a concern because of the correlation between quality of sleep and severity of postpartum depression. Poor sleep is associated with depressed postpartum women when compared to non-depressed postpartum women. Any sleep is helpful, including napping, as reduced daytime napping is also associated with higher risk of depression at three months postpartum.
The medium and long term health risks associated with poor sleep during this time are serious: metabolic disease, obesity, inflammation (the root of most chronic diseases), cardiovascular disease, mental health, mood, cognitive abilities, and brain performance.
Additionally, mothers’ sleep is affected by their infants’ sleep patterns. When baby doesn’t sleep well, it causes stress on the rest of the family and increases the risk of maternal depression. There are other environmental factors involved such as disorganization at home (ie. reduced regularity and routine and noise and clutter) that are also correlated with depression.
For better sleep results for yourself and your baby, visit your local chiropractor to learn more.