Transcript: The Importance of Sleep For New Mums

This is a text transcript from The First Time Mum’s Chat podcast. The episode is called The Importance of Sleep For New Mums and you can click on the link to view the full episode page, listen to the episode and view the show notes.

As a mum or new parent, you’re no stranger to being overwhelmed and exhausted from a lack of sleep and sleep deprivation, right? During the history of the podcast, I’ve chatted with many wonderful ladies who have shared their expertise and experiences, and I’ve also spoken on the topic as well. This is often the goal of many of the parents that come to me to learn baby massage, to improve their little one’s sleep patterns.

Well, in this week’s episode, I’m focusing on you instead of your little one. Why? Well, sleep refreshes your mind and repairs your body, so it’s extremely important. I’m going to share tips and ideas to support yourself to ensure you do not succumb to sleep exhaustion and/or sleep deprivation.

Obviously, this is important to get right. Firstly, I’m sure you are acutely aware of the role that good sleep plays towards your overall health and well being. A lack of it can lead to problems including fatigue, poor concentration, and short temper. Your judgment and reaction time may also be compromised, which in a worst case scenario could have serious consequences.

The bottom line is that it’s very hard to be fully present for your little one when your sleep pattern is out and it’s extremely important that you are. Your body’s internal clock regulates when and how you sleep and when the sun sets your brain releases hormones to make you sleepy. In the morning, exposure to daylight suppresses these hormones and releases the brain’s chemicals to help keep you awake.

It’s important for you to realize the importance of getting sufficient sleep. Today, in our modern hustle and bustle lifestyle, with financial pressures and our always on culture, sleep deprivation has become common and widespread. I was surprised to find out during my research that in developed nations, an average adult sleeps just 6 – 7 hours each night.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults should aim for 7 – 9 hours sleep per night. I’ve included a link to the article on the website in the show notes, and I will let you know where you can find these at the conclusion of this episode. Yes, I realise that if you’re a new parent, you’re probably listening to this completely and utterly sleep deprived, thinking, what planet is Helen on, if only I could get the opportunity to sleep anywhere near this long, when your reality is more like 2 – 3 hours of disturbed sleep each night, between your little one’s waking up crying etc. when you and your partner argue about whose turn it is.

A lot of the mums that I speak with, who are struggling with their sleep, have got into the habit of doing tasks around the home, such as housework and washing, when their little one is taking a nap. I know this is a good opportunity for you to regroup from the chaos, but I highly suggest that you take the opportunity when they are napping to also get some quiet downtime for you as well. Put the washing and housework to one side and give yourself half an hour whilst your baby is sleeping to regenerate your body and refresh your mind. I’ve done a few podcasts in relation to doulas and how they can help, so take a look at those as well.

Just remember that to be fully present and ensure your judgment isn’t impaired, you need that rest time. You’ll be helping your health and wellbeing if you can find those opportunities to close your eyes and relax for short periods. Also, try and minimize those interruptions such as the internet and social media which often allow others to demand your time on a 24 x 7 basis. I know i’m guilty of this and it’s so easy to do. Just one more Instagram reel or Facebook live all taxing more and more of your free time.

I was interested to find out whilst researching sleep for the First Time Mum’s Chat podcast, there are 2 broad categories of sleep. Rapid eye movement, also known as REM sleep, and non-rapid eye movement, also known as non-REM sleep. Rapid eye movement sleep occurs regularly during sleep, about every 90 to 120 minutes, and makes up about a quarter of your night’s sleep.

The brain, whilst in REM sleep, shows significant activity, and the sleeper’s eyes tend to dart about under closed eyelids, hence the name. An insufficient amount of REM sleep can affect your moods, memory and ability to learn. This is what your brain is doing when you take a nap, for example, of 90 to 120 minutes. Your brain is more active and you’re more likely to dream during REM sleep.

Non rapid eye movement sleep, also known as non REM sleep, is what you experience for the remaining three quarters of your sleep time. During this time, your eyes don’t move, whilst your brainwaves are much slower. So, which type of sleep is better, you may ask? Well, they are both equally important to your health and well being, and neither is better than the other. I’ve included some links to some excellent articles, which I highly recommend, which go into detail on the different sleep types and stages, with numerous tips on how to improve your sleep patterns.

Just remember that in order to give your little one 100% of your attention, you’re going to need to improve your sleep opportunities and quality. So please take the time to check out these resources.

Early in this episode, I mentioned that I would include links to previous First Time Mum’s Chat episodes, which related to sleep and I’ve also included links to a number of articles that provide further detail on sleep for you. You’ll find all these in the episode show notes, which can be found at

I share each episode on the First Time Mum’s Chat Instagram page and you’ll hear me chatting live with folks I’ve interviewed from time to time. Please support me by following me and I look forward to meeting you during one of my lives.

Next week I’m talking with Gina Mundy who is an attorney that specializes in childbirth cases. Drawing on her knowledge, she has written a book. Be sure to listen to this episode when it comes out next week and please subscribe to First Time Mum’s Chat via your favourite platform so you can get quick and easy access to all our episodes when they are live. Once again, thank you for listening.