On average a new parent will get around four to five hours of sleep in an regular night during the first year of their baby’s life. For those who want to fit fitness into their day in the postpartum phase of motherhood it’s challenging to maintain a consistent program.
With sleep deprivation being one of the most common postpartum side effects as well as one of the most disruptive to a parent’s health, postpartum parents experience physical and mental issues because of lack of sleep. To illustrate the impact of lack of sleep, Roehrs, et al. (2003) forced 8-hour sleepers to only get 6 hours of sleep. They found that 6 hours of sleep slowed reaction time, decreased memory recall, and decreased self-rated quality of performance, same as drinking 2 – 3 beers, a level that equates to about .05% breath alcohol. Getting 4 hours of sleep impaired performance same as drinking 5 – 6 beers – a level that equates to about 0.10% breath alcohol *
Throughout this new journey of parenthood, I keep getting told the same thing, sleep when the baby sleeps but for me that feels impossible. I have never been an afternoon napper, I like mornings and usually have a huge amount of energy when I wake up. Anytime during my baby napping, which isn’t that consistent, I try and get things done to help with my mental health. To my detriment this has hugely impacted my fitness and my desire to get some sort of consistency is high on the agenda. Of course, it’s unrealistic to expect that I’ll be able to train as much as I use to now, so I’ve had to adjust my mindset.
Some things that have helped me so far:
- You can’t out train a bad diet, I blogged about this before therefore nutrition is key to me. I still food prep on a Sunday for the week which sets me up and saves me time in the day
- I’m trying to go to bed early twice a week to recoup for me that can be 8 or 9pm as I’m still night feeding my daughter
- I have one evening a week without mindless TV, I burn Neal’s Yard oils, read a good book and soak in a bath
- I fit in exercise in the day when I can by setting everything up ready, that includes kit such as dumbbells, TRX, a mat, skipping rope, resistance bands. I’ve written out 4 circuits which I repeat minimum of 3 times
- I walk every single day, even if it’s for 10-20min I get out for some fresh air and a walk doesn’t even have to be fast it just makes me feel better
- I use the FIIT App which I recently discovered, they have classes as short as 25min
- I look to other parents for inspiration and ideas
- I squat whilst holding my daughter, do a few press up’s next to her whilst she’s on her play mat and stretch when I’m prepping her feeds
If you have read this and can relate or have any ideas to add then please send me your comments and suggestions I’d love to hear them.