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  • Writer's pictureAmy Olson

Insomnia During Pregnancy

It isn't uncommon to have a hard time sleeping during your pregnancy. No matter the trimester, there are many reasons to miss sleep.


The article below from Healthline.com has several good ideas. Here are a few remedies I've also found helpful:


Valerian Root can be helpful if your mind is racing and doesn't seem to want to quiet down. Similarly, Skull Cap will help if you are feeling anxious. Tincture, herbal tea or homeopathic form will all work well.

A formal bed time routine will help calm the mind. Turn off the screens, turn down the lights, take a warm bath, diffuse calming lavender (or put the essential oil on your feet), enjoy some warm chamomile or other herbal tea, listen to some relaxing music or meditations, read a book, breath deeply.

Take a look at your nutrition. Eat smaller meals in the evening and try to stop eating 1-2 hours before bedtime. If your dreams are intense and vivid, decrease protein in the evening, especially nuts, as these can cause an active mind and restless dreams. Increasing magnesium (Natural Calm is my favorite) can do wonders for insomnia. Trace minerals also help. There may be a a nutrient deficiency leading to rough nights.

If restless legs are waking you, try increasing your iron intake.



For a new mom-to-be, experiencing sleep deprivation after the baby is born is a given. But you probably didn’t realize that it could also occur during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Most women experience sleep problems during pregnancy. Pregnant women tend to get more sleep during their first trimesters (hello, early bedtime) but experience a big drop in the quality of their sleep. It turns out that pregnancy can make you feel exhausted all day long. It can also cause insomnia at night.

Here are some of the most common culprits for insomnia during early pregnancy, plus a few tips to help you get a better night’s sleep.


What is insomnia?

Insomnia means you have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. Women can experience insomnia during all stages of pregnancy, but it tends to be more common in the first and third trimesters. Between midnight bathroom breaks, out-of-control hormones, and pregnancy woes such as congestion and heartburn, you might be spending more time out of your bed than in it. The good news: While insomnia might be miserable, it’s not harmful to your baby.

Sheer logistics play a role as well. By the end of a pregnancy, many women have a hard time just getting comfortable enough to sleep well. During the first trimester, you might not have much of a baby belly to accommodate, but there are other issues that can prevent a good night’s sleep.


What causes insomnia during pregnancy?

Expecting? There are many reasons you might be wide awake in the wee hours. These can include:

heartburn vivid

dreams


Other causes of insomnia can be stress-related. You might feel anxious about labor and delivery, or worry about how you’ll balance work with being a new mother. These thoughts can keep you up at night, especially after your third visit to the bathroom.

It can be difficult to distract yourself from these thoughts, but try to remember that worrying isn’t productive. Instead, try writing down all of your concerns on paper. This will give you a chance to consider possible solutions. If there are no solutions, or there is nothing you can do, turn the page in your journal and focus on another worry. This can help empty your mind so you can rest.

Being up front with your partner about your feelings and worries can also help you feel better.


Develop a bedtime routine



One of the best things you can do to manage insomnia while you’re pregnant is to set up good sleep habits.

Begin by trying to go to bed at the same time every night. Start your routine with something relaxing to help you unwind.

Avoid screen time at least an hour before bed. Blue light from the TV, your mobile phone, or tablet can have an impact on your body’s circadian rhythm. Try reading a book instead.

Taking a soothing bath might also make you sleepy. Just be careful that the temperature isn’t too hot — that can be dangerous for your developing baby. This is especially true during early pregnancy.



Diet and exercise

Diet and exercise can have an impact on your sleep. Stay active during the day so you can rest at night.


Drink up



Drink plenty of water throughout the day, but minimize drinking after 7 p.m. Try to avoid caffeine starting in the late afternoon.


Eat to sleep



Eat a healthy dinner, but try to enjoy it slowly to reduce your chances of heartburn. Eating an early dinner can also help, but don’t go to bed hungry. Eat a light snack if you need to eat something late in the evening. Something high in protein can keep your blood sugar levels steady through the night. A warm glass of milk can help you feel sleepy, too.


Comfort is key

Making yourself — and your bedroom — more comfortable can result in better sleep.



Make yourself comfortable. Lie on your side, tuck a pillow between your knees, and use one under your belly as it gets bigger.

If breast tenderness is bothering you, opt for a comfortable sleep bra that fits properly.


Climate change

Keep your room cool, dark, and quiet for optimal sleeping conditions. Use a nightlight in the bathroom for those midnight visits. The dim light will be less jarring than a bright overhead light.


Try to relax

Practice ways to feel more relaxed at night.



If you’re lying in bed and are wide awake, get up and distract yourself with something until you’re feeling tired enough to fall asleep. It’s more effective than lying in bed and staring at the clock.


Relax



Practice meditation, or try relaxation techniques and exercises. These methods are often taught in childbirth classes.

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