We have been vicariously enjoying so much of Ashley Graham’s journey as a first-time mom. The model has shared everything from baby Isaac’s birth story to her postpartum underwear preference to the joys of having to change a diaper in the middle of Staples. Now that we have arrived at sleep-training chapter of her story, it seems Graham is experiencing something many new parents suffer without even realizing it: postpartum insomnia.
“We just survived sleep-training week,” Graham tweeted on Monday. “Now I’d like someone to retrain me how to sleep deeply through the night again!”
She received a few replies that were not exactly encouraging on this front.
“You will never sleep deeply again,” Melissa Val wrote. “Lol. It does get better though.”
“When they have left home,” Julie Millar said of when her sleeping would get back to pre-baby levels.
Graham herself returned to her feed to report failure on this front so far.
“Well damn, guess I’m never getting good rest,” she wrote. “Even these custom ear plugs, mouth guard, and night mask aren’t helping!”
It’s early days yet, but if Graham continues to have trouble sleeping even after sleep-training her son, she may have textbook insomnia. If you can’t fall asleep within 30 minutes of going to bed, wake up multiple times during the night (not because a baby is crying), wake up earlier than you would like, and spend your days feeling tired even if you’ve spent seven or more hours in bed, then you too have insomnia.
“Major changes can trigger the insomnia,” Dr. Shalini Paruthi, co-director of the Sleep Medicine and Research Center at St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis, told SheKnows recently. “Having a baby is a major life change in terms of environment and in terms of hormones.”
Having a baby also means a complete disruption in your normal bedtime routine (not to mention everything else), and now that baby Isaac has his own sleep routine down, it might be time for Graham to develop a new one of her own.
Paruthi’s first bit of advice for any new parent experiencing insomnia is to take naps when the baby naps. Her next tip is to try to develop good sleep hygiene habits. That means doing things like turning off screens an hour before bed, and maybe even starting a meditation practice.
“The important part is you’re still going through those activities in the exact same order, so your brain has that opportunity to transition from ‘Go, go, go, go, go!’ to ‘I need to relax’ and be ready to transition to sleep,” Paruthi said.
As Graham enjoys that fresh Nebraska air on her aunt’s farm, she’ll probably be able to figure out some way to return to “normal” — whatever that means when you’ve got a baby to raise!
Maybe Ashley Graham can read Isaac and herself to sleep with these children’s books by Black authors.
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