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Sleep Deprivation

Night time is toughest. The rate of swallowing decreases which may contribute to symptoms in addition to horizontal positioning. This may lead to chronic crying and ultimately severe sleep deprivation. If you are sleep deprived, then so is your little one. This is a quality of life issue you must take seriously. The impact of infant reflux, and more specifically, the resulting sleep deprivation is devastating.

Sleep is life sustaining. One parent called baby reflux, the “LSD years” since it is like taking a mind altering drug. A person could make very poor decisions in this state and even jeopardize the safety of their infant. One prominent symptom of sleep deprivation is the inability to regulate emotions. Weeping and uncontrollable outbursts are examples of this.

As a result, it may be difficult to differentiate your symptoms from postpartum depression. Most parents of infant reflux are sleep deprived, feel hopeless, and ineffectual. They have weight changes due to lack of self-care and are isolated due to the severity of their child’s needs.

The first step is to speak with your gynecologist regarding your symptoms. Next, is to explain to family or friends the gravity of the situation. Most new parents are sleep deprived but nowhere near what is happening to you. You need to express that it is not a “first time parent” syndrome. Also, turn to anyone who has had a baby with reflux. PAGER offers volunteers for support.

Here are some thoughts on how to get respite.

• Trade houses with a friend or relative who is willing to give respite. They will then understand.
• Nap anywhere else: in your car, on a blanket outside, the office, a neighbor’s, while someone gives you a break.
• If you have a spouse, take shifts. Some suggestions are 2 nights on and 2 nights off. If you live in tight quarters, sleeping on the couch (or on a specific side of the bed) will signal that you are “off duty,” which may lead to better sleep or at least relaxation.

Be aware that untreated anxiety (which may become acute as night time approaches) could also lead to paranoia. For example, the belief your spouse is cheating. Sleep deprivation, malnutrition, dehydration, depression, and anxiety may all contribute to altered perception. Withhold from making any major decisions during this time period and take precautions while operating motor vehicles.

Finally, an example of severe sleep deprivation is demonstrated in Phil Laak. He went for the longest continuous poker session in the guiness book of world records. What occurred was documentation on the effects of sleep deprivation. See his video below:
Phil Laaks, Preparation for a marathon poker session

Websites:

The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Brain and Behavior
Sleep deprivation and hallucinations
Sleep requirements