New parents all over the world, no matter where or who they are, suffer from sleep deprivation. Infants can’t regulate their sleep like older children and adults, so they don’t know it’s night and they are supposed to be asleep. They cry when they are hungry or wet or if they are having other problems. They seem to cry during the most inconvenient times, like in the wee hours of the morning.
In general, mothers usually get the heavier burden regarding raising a newborn, especially if she is breastfeeding her baby. In the long run, aside from dazed expressions, bloodshot eyes, and a general tiredness in their person, most new parents just shrug off their problems regarding losing sleep. However, parents – especially mothers — should not be so quick to disregard losing sleep because it can cause more serious problems.
Problems Caused by Sleep Deprivation
After pregnancy, the levels of progesterone in the body is still high. The elevated levels of progesterone increases the flow of blood in the body. When blood flow is increased to the gums, this causes the gums to become sensitive and tender.
When a mother is sleep-deprived, the situation becomes doubly worse. Coupled with the high levels of progesterone and increased blood flow, lack of sleep can weaken the body’s immune system as well as cause high blood pressure. This makes the mother more susceptible to periodontal diseases and other health conditions.
The lack of sleep can disrupt a person’s daily schedule. In the morning, the mother can be too tired or irritable to have a proper breakfast or to perform their daily oral hygiene rituals. This may sound like small things, but over time, these things can add up! If you don’t brush or floss daily, plaque can build up pretty quickly in your mouth. When you are sleep-deprived, accidents are common, so you might bump into something and chip your teeth!
Solutions to Sleep Deprivation
Of course, the easiest way to solve sleep-deprivation is by getting more sleep. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but with some help from your partner and some patience, you can actually get the sleep that you need.
When babies wake during the night, it’s usually because of one of two things: they are hungry or they need to be changed. Before going to bed, make sure to have breast milk or baby formula ready, so that your partner can handle the feeding. If you are breastfeeding, pumping your breasts before going to bed is a good idea.
If your baby needs to be changed, it can be a job for your partner! Basically, you need to establish a quid pro quo with your partner for meeting your baby’s needs so that you can catch a little more sleep. However, if your partner has to go work or you have other children, then you are more likely going to shoulder the newborn baby burden. But, you can get more sleep if you take naps in the day time whenever possible.
Proper Sleep and Oral Health
Here at Benjamin M. Kacos DMD, we cannot stress how important proper sleep is to good oral health. When you have proper sleep, you eat well, you have the time to take care of your oral hygiene, and your immune system is strong.