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つばきの花
つばきの花

育児は大変!産後の寝不足の期間と対処法

椿の花

産後しばらくの間は、家族、特にお母さんが寝不足とならないように配慮することが大切です。産後は少なくとも3ヶ月程度は赤ちゃんの生体リズムは不規則なものとなります。そのため、育児をする産後のお母さんが寝不足となってしまわないよう配慮することが育児を続けていくためには重要です。

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産後は寝不足になる

赤ちゃん

産後、新しい家族が増えた喜びとともにスタートするのが育児です。生まれたばかりの赤ちゃんはお母さん・お父さんの育児がなければ生きていくことはできません。産後に育児をしっかりとしてあげることは、お母さん・お父さんのとても大きな責任です。

産後、育児の負担は特にお母さんに重くのしかかります。生まれたばかりの赤ちゃんは、しばらくは、昼夜関係なく2、3時間おきに授乳し、オムツを換えてあげなくてはなりません。また、赤ちゃんの育児ばかりではなく、食事の用意や掃除、選択などの家事もこなさなければなりません。さらに、産後、しばらくした後はお仕事がある方もおられることでしょう。

このような中で、新生児のご両親のうち、特に産後のお母さんは寝不足となってしまいがちです。寝不足は、体調を崩すだけではなく精神的なイライラなども生じますので、育児のためにもあまり良いとは言えません。

産後の課題として親御さん、特に、お母さんの寝不足防止は大きな課題となります。

産後の寝不足が続く一般的な期間

産後の寝不足の大きな原因は、赤ちゃんの生活リズムが不規則であることにあります。授乳は昼夜を問わず行わなければなりませんし、赤ちゃんは夜中に起きていること、夜泣きをすることも多々あります。

このように赤ちゃんの生活リズムが、一般的な基準からすればあまり規則正しいものではないものとなる理由は体内リズムがまだ整っていないことにあります。つまり、赤ちゃんには24時間の体内リズム(サーカディアリズム)が出来上がっておらず、独自の体内リズムで生活をしていきます。そのため、朝おきて夜眠るという生活リズムが生まれたばかりの時点ではまだできていないために、赤ちゃんの生活リズムは独自のものとなるのです。

産後、赤ちゃんの生活リズムが正常なものとなるのは、一般的には生後3ヶ月から4ヶ月までの間です。産後、3ヶ月ないし4ヶ月が経つと赤ちゃんの体内リズムも24時間のものとなりだします。そのため、早く一般的な体内リズムを身につけてくれて、夜眠るようになれば、お母さんの寝不足の悩みは自然にある程度早く解消することとなります。

産後の寝不足解消のためのさまざまな方法

このように、産後、3ヶ月から4ヶ月程度を経ると赤ちゃんの体内リズムが整ってくるため、お母さんの寝不足の悩みも自然に解消することもあります。しかし、産後、3ヶ月から4ヶ月程度で赤ちゃんの睡眠リズムが正常とならないケースも多く、お母さんの寝不足が自然に解消することがあまり期待できない場合もあります。

この場合には、独自に寝不足を解消するための方法を考える必要があります。

親族などの助けを借りる

産後のお母さんが寝不足に陥らないために、もっとも手っ取り早い方法が育児や家事を手伝ってもらうという方法です。例えば、産後の大変さを味わったことがある義母などに育児や家事を手伝ってもらい、睡眠時間を確保することなどが寝不足解消のためには効果的です。また、義母との良好なコミュニケーションを図ることも期待できます。産後、しばらくの間は夫に家事をしてもらうということも寝不足解消のためには効果的です。

産後の育児・家事はお母さん一人背負うものではなく、家族全員で取り組むことが様々な意味で重要となります。

短時間の仮眠時間をとる

寝不足解消のために効果的な方法として、短時間の仮眠を取る習慣を身に付けることはおすすめできる方法です。これは、寝不足のサラリーマンの方などにも効果的な方法なのですが、お昼の少しの時間(10分から15分程度)仮眠をとることで眠気を解消することができます。昼間のわずかな睡眠時間は寝不足解消に良い影響を与えます。

産後、しばらくの間は夜は授乳などで寝不足となることを前提とした上で、わずかの仮眠時間を取る習慣を身に付けることで寝不足によって健康を害することを防止することが期待できます。

はじめての妊娠・出産 毎日ケアBOOK 産後3ヶ月までの幸せな過ごし方
AERA with Baby編集部
朝日新聞出版 (2013-11-20)
売り上げランキング: 91,061

まとめ:産後の寝不足解消についてのまとめ

以上、本文で述べました産後の寝不足解消についてのポイントをまとめますと以下のようになります。

  • 産後、早くとも3ヶ月程度までは授乳やおむつを変える必要などから寝不足となってしまいます。赤ちゃんが自然に24時間の体内時計のリズムを身に付けることで産後の寝不足から解放されることとなります
  • 産後、3ヶ月程度が過ぎても必ずしも赤ちゃんが24時間の体内リズムを身につけるとは限りません。この場合には、特にお母さんが寝不足とならないように家族の協力を得て育児をすることが重要です。例えば、産後の育児の経験がある義母などに協力してもらうことは、コミュニケーションを図ることができるなどの副次的なメリットも期待できますのでおすすめできます
  • その他、短時間の仮眠をとることなども寝不足によって産後、体調を崩す事を防止することに役立ちます

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