A New Approach to Better Sleep and Avoiding Postpartum Depression
There's a problem when new mothers get up at night to care for their baby. Exposing their eyes to ordinary light shuts down the flow of melatonin, the sleep hormone. When she goes back to bed she may have trouble sleeping. If this happens more than once in a single night, it may stop the flow completely. The next night the flow may not happen at the usual time and the mother may have trouble sleeping. If this happens for a number of days or weeks her internal clock may be totally disrupted and she may go into depression. Fortunately, it is now known that blocking blue light allows melatonin to flow even when exposed to light. By putting on blue-blocking glasses when she gets up, her melatonin flow will continue and she will be able to take care of her baby without disrupting her internal clock. This avoids the risk of postpartum depression. Alternatively, the use of blue-blocking light bulbs in the nursery and bathroom may avoid the need for the glasses. It’s recommended that everyone wear the glasses for a few hours before bedtime to maximize melatonin production to 9 or 10 hours to improve sleep, reduce the risk of cancer and other benefits. For a new mother, especially if she is nursing her baby, it may also help the baby sleep better by providing natural melatonin in her breast milk.
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