It might seem unfair that when you need rest and sleep the most, you can’t seem to get it. This is what most expectant mothers experience when it comes to staying asleep, as they experience a pregnancy symptom, which is insomnia. Insomnia is a condition characterized by the inability to fall or perhaps stay asleep. This affects most pregnant women in their third trimester of pregnancy.
With a lot of physical as well as emotional changes that are happening during pregnancy, it cannot be denied that there are definitely many pregnant women who will experience insomnia and other sleep problems during pregnancy.
Insomnia is characterized by the difficulty of falling asleep and staying asleep. In addition, this is also characterized by awakening during the night as well as awakening too early in the morning. If you find yourself waking up during the night because you are experiencing leg cramps or that you need to urinate, you will not feel rested in the morning. Moreover, you will experience daytime sleepiness or daytime fatigue.
Prolonged sleep loss experienced for several days can actually result to other symptoms of pregnancy like depression, irritability, or anxiety. You will also experience difficulty paying attention or focusing on tasks at hand, gastrointestinal symptoms, and tension headaches.
What Causes Insomnia during Pregnancy?
If you are experiencing insomnia early in your pregnancy, the possible causes include hormonal changes frequent urination, and nausea. As your pregnancy progresses and your uterus expands in size, abdominal discomfort and back pain may be experienced especially during the night. However, if your insomnia occurs late in pregnancy, the likely culprits include fetal movements, vivid dreams and anxiety.
Basically, insomnia during pregnancy is related to anxiety about the delivery of the baby as well as the impending stress associated with balancing work and motherhood. In other cases, insomnia may be caused by another health condition or sleep disorder like depression, nocturnal heartburn, restless leg syndrome, and sleep apnea.
How to Cope with Insomnia during Your Pregnancy?
If you are having trouble getting a good night sleep during pregnancy, the first step that you need to do is to practice good sleeping habits. Here are a few things that you can and cannot do for better sleep.
- Have a Bedtime Routine. To help you get better sleep at night, you should have a bedtime routine. This means that you need to go to sleep at the same time every night. Moreover, this may also entail doing something relaxing before going to bed like stretching, reading or watching television.
- Don’t Drink Fluids before Bedtime. You should avoid drinking fluids before going to sleep. Instead, you should consider drinking fluids three to four hours before going to sleep.
- Eat Your Dinner Early and Slowly. You should eat your dinner early. In addition, you should eat your meals slowly. This way, you can avoid nocturnal heartburn.
- Be Comfortable. You should do everything to make yourself comfortable. If you are experiencing legs cramps and back pains at night while pregnant, you should do something to make it better. You can stack up pillows to support your head and shoulders at night. Moreover, you can sleep on your side to prevent back pains. It is also best to keep the temperature of your room moderate.
- Stay Calm. You should avoid worrying while you are pregnant. While you may be anxious about the changes that pregnancy offers, you should worry less as this will not do good to you and your child. You should try deep breathing exercises while emptying your mind from distractions. This way, you can effectively relax.
- Be Active during the Day. Another way to ensure that you will get a restful sleep at night is to be active during the day. You can do pregnancy-appropriate exercises during the day and rest during the night.
- Minimize Bright Lights at Bedtime. You should consider minimizing bright lights two hours at bedtime. The blue light effect that is commonly associated with the lights coming from computer screens can actually disrupt the natural circadian rhythm of the body. At bedtime, you should dim the room lights.
- Avoid Drinking Coffee in the Evening. To ensure that you will not have any difficulty falling asleep at night, you should avoid drinking coffee or any other caffeinated drinks at night or in the afternoon. Taking caffeine can make you stay awake and you definitely would not want this at night.
- Avoid Going to Bed Hungry. You should avoid going to bed hungry. If you do, you will likely stay up late to suffice your needs. Experts recommend that you take a light healthy snack before bedtime like a warm glass of milk and cookies.
- Soothe Yourself at Bedtime. You can try lulling yourself to a sleepy state to help minimize insomnia incidences. You can do this by taking a warm bath right before bedtime and drinking a glass of warm milk. A relaxing prenatal massage helps, too.
- Don’t Rely on Sleep Aids. When you can’t sleep at night, you should not rely on over the counter sleeping aids, as they may be harmful to your baby. Avoid them at all cost and consider alternative and safe remedies like a relaxing prenatal massage.
- Don’t Count the Hours. Instead of counting the number of hours that you sleep at night, you should determine if you are feeling rested after sleeping at night. While most people do best when they get eight hours of sleep, some people do fine with less hours and some need more hours of sleep.
When to Seek Consultation
While insomnia can be frustrating, you should take note that this is perfectly normal while you are pregnant. In fact, a lot of pregnant women experience this. However, if you think that you have a serious sleep disorder, you should consult your health care provider right away.