Dealing with Insomnia

By: Rick Hanson, Ph.D. and Jan Hanson, L.Ac.

Rachel, our 11-month-old, is now sleeping (mostly) through the night (yes!). But I'm not. I fall asleep OK, but wake around 3 or 4 am (when Rachel used to), toss and turn for a few hours, and then maybe get another hour of sleep before the alarm clock goes off.

It's common for a mom to be lying awake in bed while her baby or toddler is snoozing blissfully. Unfortunately, low quantity and poor quality (= depth) of sleep erode a mother's health and well-being, and give her a strong shove down the slippery slope toward depression. Getting plenty of good sleep is a crucial aspect of replenishing oneself and preventing depletion. Happily, there are plenty of good methods:

Rick Hanson is a clinical psychologist, Jan Hanson is an acupuncturist/nutritionist, and they are raising a daughter and son, ages 11 and 14. With Ricki Pollycove, M.D., they are the authors of Mother Nurture: A Mother’s Guide to Health in Body, Mind, and Intimate Relationships, published by Penguin. You can see their website at or email them with questions or comments at; unfortunately, a personal reply may not always be possible.

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