Is “Mommy Brain” Real, or Just a Myth?

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In its “Snooze or Lose” sleep series this week, The Today Show tackled the sleep deprivation that comes from being a new mom, something co-anchor Savannah Gutherie knows well (her first baby was born in August). At the heart of Gutherie’s report: Does the lack of sleep that comes with having a newborn lead to “Mommy Brain,” and is that even a real condition?

According to sleep expert Anne Mooney, MD, of NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, “Mommy Brain” isn’t a myth — it’s a real condition. It’s that sleep-deprived state that leaves you feeling shell-shocked and makes it hard to concentrate.

“It could be focus, attention, mood, depression, depressed mood, irritability, just the ability to find that word on the tip of your tongue,” Dr. Mooney told TODAY. “There are many different ways that sleep deprivation manifests.”

Dr. Mooney adds that the sleep debt can be repaid if you make sleep a priority. Nap when your baby naps, and enlist some family help to take care of the baby while you catch up on your sleep.

Photo: Getty