Welcome to all of you late-night Googlers. You’re in good company if you’re also experiencing pregnancy insomnia: According to study, it affects up to 80% of women at some point throughout their pregnancy.
Pregnancy Insomnia, or a persistent pattern of difficulty getting asleep, staying asleep, or waking up early, is common during the first trimester, as your body adjusts to the rapid surge of pregnant hormones, as well as, in some circumstances, morning (or all-day) sickness you might be experiencing. As you grow closer to birth and experience the anxiety and physical discomfort that comes with it, it’s much more possible that you’ll have trouble sleeping throughout the third trimester.
Here are some of the most common causes of pregnant insomnia, as well as the most effective treatments, whether you still have six months to go or are due to give birth any day.
What causes sleeplessness during pregnancy?
Pregnancy can bring tension and anxiety about your health, your baby’s health, delivery, and being a parent in general (particularly during a pandemic). And, according to Mary Jane Minkin, MD, an ob-gyn and clinical professor of obstetrics, gynaecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine, this doesn’t help with sleeping habits. However, being uncomfortable, especially as you progress, may keep you from discovering the best sleeping positions and is most certainly a major reason you’re having difficulties sleeping.
Of course, there are a slew of other pregnant aches and pains that might add to insomnia and restlessness, such as nausea or constipation. Heartburn during pregnancy is another issue you may encounter. Dr. Minkin adds, “The acid in the stomach refluxes into the oesophagus because the valve between the stomach and the oesophagus relaxes with pregnancy hormones.” And if you’ve ever attempted to sleep with heartburn, you know how difficult it is.
The symptoms that induce sleeplessness can change from trimester to trimester. Feeling unwell during the first trimester, as well as the hormonal changes your body is going through in early pregnancy, may keep you awake. “In the first trimester, nausea and vomiting are common, as are raised progesterone levels, which can cause greater daytime sleepiness and nighttime sleeplessness,” explains Jane van Dis, M.D., an ob-gyn and Modern Fertility medical advisor. Pregnancy sleeplessness is most common in the third trimester, according to her. Back pain and discomfort, indigestion, leg cramps or restless legs, the need to get up to pee frequently due to bladder pressure, and anxiety leading up to birth are all common causes. Everything there is to know about pregnancy!
According to Dr. van Dis, it’s advisable to keep track of your insomnia symptoms and record if they become too severe, such as blurred vision, severe headaches, or acute discomfort in the upper right side of your abdomen. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, or if your sleeplessness is causing a severe disturbance in your daily routine, see your ob-gyn.
So, how do you deal with insomnia during pregnancy?
While treating pregnancy insomnia is comparable to treating insomnia outside of pregnancy, using supplements like CBD or melatonin while pregnant is not recommended. Fortunately, there are a few alternative options for controlling your sleep schedule and comfort.
Get comfy pillows.
When you’re trying to sleep, the first thing you can control is how comfortable your bed is. Experts recommend investing in a full-body pillow that can provide support, particularly for your abdomen and back.
Sleep on your side.
Another fantastic posture to try during pregnancy is lying on your side with a pillow between your legs. “This can help with backaches, heartburn, circulation, and foot swelling,” Dr. van Dis adds. If that doesn’t work for you and you prefer to sleep on your back, some couches may provide adequate support.
Prop yourself up.
If you’re suffering from pregnancy heartburn, shifting your position to a more upright position may help alleviate some of the discomfort. “Putting the head of the bed on blocks or propping yourself up with pillows will assist,” explains Dr. Minkin.
Try to eat foods that won’t irritate you.
This isn’t to imply that you should constantly ignore your taco desires, but if you have heartburn, some foods will only make it worse. Dr. van Dis advises avoiding heartburn-causing foods (such as fatty, greasy, and spicy dishes) as much as possible, as it will benefit your stomach and sleep in the long run.
Pay attention to what you eat and drink.
It’s possible that the way you eat has an impact on your capacity to sleep. Dr. van Dis recommends eating smaller meals throughout the day and not too close to bedtime for better digestion. (This may also assist in preventing heartburn.) Limiting your coffee intake is also a must so you don’t stay up all night. Also, stay hydrated, especially during the day, but reduce your water intake in the evening so you don’t have to make as many sleep-disrupting trips to the restroom.
Make sure you’re getting enough (healthy) exercise while you’re pregnant.
Regular exercise may aid in the fight against pregnancy insomnia. According to Dr. van Dis, “it’s helpful for reducing back pains, swelling, and bloating, easing constipation, and relieving some stress.” Prenatal yoga could be a great mind-body exercise for you, as could certain modifications to your regular gym routine and stretching gently before bed. Dr. Minkin also recommends swimming as another great form of low-impact exercise to tyre you out in the evening.
Help your body wind down naturally.
Just as you would if you weren’t pregnant, practise good sleep hygiene. That means minimising blue light in the form of phone screens, TV screens, and laptop screens, at least an hour before you go to bed, Dr. van Dis advises. Try additional mindfulness techniques, like writing or taking a warm bath, to assist release anxiety and putting you in the appropriate mental space to fall immediately asleep.