Did insomnia feature as a warning sig... - Action on Postpar...

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Did insomnia feature as a warning sign of your PP episode & how many days were you unable to sleep before you were treated?

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sarah_at_app profile image

Insomnia did feature as a warning sign of my PP. I was very deprived of sleep during my pregnancy and started having sleep problems as a teenager which makes me wonder about the links with hormones and PP. Following the birth of my son I found it very hard to switch off and sleep. I was over the moon and so elated and couldn`t switch off at all. During the first six days after my son was born I only had a couple of hours sleep in total. My immediate thought when i started hallucinating at the onset of PP was that my mind was packing up due to the lack of sleep.

SJSharks profile image
SJSharks in reply to sarah_at_app

My husband is convinced that sleep depreciation is what caused my psychosis versus my bipolar diagnosis. I think the lack of sleep plays a huge role in our episodes.

HopeafterPP profile image

Yes, insomnia was a huge but MISSED warning sign of my PP. I too have suffered insomnia in the past due to chronic pain but only a max of 24 hours and nothing like what I suffered after the birth of my first son. Since the PP I treat insomnia very seriously and I will only endure it for one night before I take a very short course (1 or 2 nights) of sleeping tablets to nip it in the bud.

I'm sure that one of the triggers of the PP was the sleep deprivation I experienced the night before labour and then the 19hour labour itself, which I found very emotionally traumatic, a fact that seemed to go overlooked afterwards. I probably only had about 2 hours sleep the night before my waters broke and that was the last time I could lose consciousness until I was admitted to the psychiatric ward without my baby when he was only 5 days old. They had to drug me heavily to make me sleep. So I probably went a minimum of 160 hours without sleep from when labour started.

It was as Sarah described above I could not switch off. I longed for sleep and was given plenty of opportunity yet it was as though my body had lost the ability to shut down. I could not even doze. My mind would race with all kinds of scary and frightening thoughts - it is no wonder sleep deprivation is a form of torture, it's horrendous. When the switch flipped in my head (which is exactly how it felt) and I became severely delusional, at first I believed it was because my brain had not slept for so long and all I needed was sleeping tablets. I wish it had been that simple. But as a consequence of the severe sleep deprivation, in my care plan for preventing PP after my second pregnancy safe-guarding sleep and using sleeping tablets if necessary were a key aspect.

I still find it hard to believe that none of the health professionals involved in the initial stages; the GPs*, midwives, Community Psychiatric Team and the Crisis Team or even A&E, realised that my total lack of sleep was a key sign that I was severely ill with an illness that is a psychiatric emergency.

(*one of my GPs was excellent and when I initially phoned her with concerns over my mental state she acted immediately. I only wish she had been the GP to come out to my home and recognise how ill I really was.)

tenrob profile image

I was hospitalized 5 days before giving birth because of pre-eclampcia. And stayed in for 5 days afterwards. My daughter was in neonatal unit. I more or less didn't sleep for the whole 10 days as I was worried about the birth being too early (2months early). And then I used to spend my hole nights and days with my daughter in neonatal unit.

The midwives and nurses didn't picked up on my PPP even though I had panic attacks on the postnatal ward. And I was discharged. It's only on going back to hospital to visit my daughter that it was diagnosed.

They tried to get me to sleep as I had barely slept in 11days and at first couldn't. Only after druguing me up could they do it.

Ellie_at_APP profile image

Reading your responses is interesting as I had exactly the same experience. I only had a 5 hour labour but it was through the night so didn't sleep that night, then up all day, stayed overnight in hospital too elated etc to sleep - exactly the same I couldn't switch off. Just too excited / elated to sleep. And it was 3/4 days of not sleeping. When the psychosis happened in a very extreme sudden way I thought too it was just due to lack of sleep and my mind had just packed in, I think my partner thought that too.

ImScot profile image

Yep, massive factor in my PP onset - didn't sleep for about a week. Total lack of sleep in hospital following emergency c-section - impossible, babies crying all time, other mums snoring their heads off, me totally confused and v upset due to whole experience. Really believe if I'd had my own room & could've slept, may well have prevented it. Now, as others mention, I am v careful and wary of not getting enough sleep.

andrea_at_app profile image

Thanks for the comments everyone, keep them coming. A lot of our experiences are very similar where sleep is such a huge issue.

After the long drawn out chilbirth of my first child and not having any sleep, but totally exhausted but excited and overwelmed by it all, not being able to just relax and get asleep could have caused the onsett of my pp.

hettie75 profile image

Id had severe hyperemesis during pregnancy and was sleep deprived as I had to wake every 4 hours for medication to help with the constant vomiting and keep me alive basically. The night before my elective section I got 3 hours sleep only worried that I would die and leave my older son without his mum. Then I could not sleep at all - why do they put 4 mums and babies together. You can't catch up tin the day with constant visitors etc (well partners all day but other visitors get generous times. And if somone has just given birth a whole family come down for a bit before being sent away. So I was relieved to get home and thought I would just sleep. In reality I was very ill from exceedingly low iron and a heavy blood loss that was borderline for transfusion, from 8 months of malnutrition due to severe vomiting and from no sleep. I got about 3 hours in a whole week. 6 days postpartum I walked to the nearby motorway bridge in desperation. It was horrendous. But I couldn't leave my older son and so I screamed because I was so trapped. I then believed I had to adopt my baby to ever sleep again. The next day I got antipsychotics and slept. I had been to the gp twice in this time and he had tried sleeping tablets and diazepam to no avail. A year on I am still on antipyschotics and diazepam and I sleep better than I have in years. I've always been prone to not sleeping in periods of distress and on two other occasions have been close to pyschosis but a solution was foudn to the worries and I avoided it as I slept, but on both of those occasions lack of sleep made me suicidal. poor sleep is devastating to me x

hettie75 profile image
hettie75 in reply to hettie75

Ps I meant to say that yes like others have said I lost the ability to fall asleep and heard buzzing noises, had racing thoughts and just couldnt sleep. The psychologist said it is hyperarousal syndrome.

PJ96 profile image

Definitely linked to my PP. My PP was 19 years ago after the birth of my son. Long, difficult labour. I couldn't sleep afterwards, mind racing. Was given drugs and taken to hospital. Took about two months to recover. Since then, I still get episodes and mood swings if I don't sleep soundly for three nights or more.

JaneHW profile image

In counting 5+ nights, I'm including lack of sleep on a maternity ward due to noise and disturbances etc, but a lot of the sleep deprivation subsequent to that was wilful, part of manic state in which I didn't feel that sleep was necessary (except perhaps for lesser mortals).

Insomnia has been a problem ever since P.P and the continuous experience of my chemical imbalance.

violetx profile image

Lack of sleep was a major trigger that lead to pp. As it is to many other peoplea experiences. I remember not being able to sleep for hours and hust could not switch off. I had my son on the 8th december 2013 and was not officially omitted by professionals until the 26/27th december. By then many of my family and friends notice my out of character behaviour and mood swings. I remember laying there wanting to sleep but just watched the hours go by. I was exteremly exhausted but somehow managed to have this energy to bomb around everywhere and cleaning etc. I also had a manic episode and was far too ill to stay in the acute ward. I was transferred to a pcu which was quiet traumatic as i remember alot. Its been two years since and not a day goes by i dont think about it. However in expecting my second child so trying to be positive!

Take care

Bindy7 profile image

Yes! Stopped sleeping at the end of pregnancy, racing mind with Crazy anxiety. Began to fear everything. Some nights I would stay awake all night.

Twobabies profile image

unable to sleep at all for 2/3nights before full onset but prior to that only getting an hour every 2/3 hours in the night and less than 5 hours a night in total for 4 weeks in the lead up. lack of sleep had a major impact. I have no doubt if I was to have such little sleep for a long time I would have symptoms again...