Pregnancy Insomnia: Help for Sleepless Nights
- August 29,2018
Insomnia can be extremely frustrating, especially during pregnancy when your body is working extra hard. Unfortunately, pregnancy insomnia is extremely common, there is no easy cure, and every woman’s body is different. Fortunately, there are ways to help. Experiment by making the small adjustments per the tips below and see what helps you wind down at night and get the rest you need.
Our bodies are built to move, and this doesn’t change during pregnancy (though we know it can get a lot harder to find the motivation as your stomach grows). Still, you don’t have to train for a marathon or invest in fancy equipment to give your body the physical activity it craves. If you work typical office hours, try getting in a walk during your lunch break. Or, try working in these simple exercises that are safe for each trimester during your day. Work out up to 30 minutes of exercise a day to help tire your body out and prepare it for a good night’s sleep.
Though we know pregnancy cravings usually win, do your best to avoid binging or eating a large meal right before you go to bed, which can cause indigestion, heartburn, and other side effects that can keep you up. If you are hungry close to bedtime, try to choose a meal that’s easy to digest and that will balance your blood sugar (rather than spike it just as your body is trying to wind down).
Napping is an essential way for you to get the rest you need as your body works hard to nourish and grow your baby. However, there is a possibility that it could be affecting your ability to doze off at night. Every woman is different, so experiment a bit before canceling all pregnancy siestas. First, try limiting your naps to 20 minutes or less so it won’t affect your sleep rhythms. If you still find yourself tossing and turning at night, try forgoing a nap (and maybe opting for a slightly earlier bedtime, if you can).
These days, it seems that every corner of our homes has some kind of device with blinking lights and glowing screens. They may never sleep, but you need to! Do your best to limit your exposure to any and all blue light emission once the sun goes down. Put away your iPhone, log-off of email, and turn off the TV. Opt for that stack of books on your nightstand or run a candlelit bath instead (besides, you deserve that way more than answering more emails!).
The light from all of these devices stimulates cortisol and interrupts the production of melatonin -- the opposite of what we need for a smooth send-off to dreamland. If it’s really not an option to checkout of your devices after dark, purchase a pair of blue light blocking glasses. They have some super cute ones on the market nowadays.
Mattress and Sleep Positions
The simple answer could just be that you’re uncomfortable. Be sure you’re choosing a safe and comfortable position to sleep in for your growing body, and pick out an appropriate sleep pillow if you need to. And when did you purchase that mattress? They don’t last forever! It’s possible that it’s time for a new one, and you’re just now noticing how uncomfortable your mattress is now that you have the extra weight of baby. Mattresses should be replaced about every 7 - 10 years.
You might be too hot! Colder temperatures help signal to our bodies that it’s time to sleep, and our bodies are meant to sleep at a cool 65 degrees. Turn down the A/C, open the windows, or ditch that cozy duvet. Being too hot during the night can also cause you to wake up, so this will help prevent that, as well.
Many of us end our days tired but wired. With the growing pressure of today’s fast-paced world, it can be hard to turn off the worried chatter of our minds, even when our bodies are begging for rest. Try implementing a simple bedtime relaxation ritual to calm your mind and prepare the body for sleep. This can include yoga, light stretching, meditation, breathing exercises, and/or listening to positive affirmations, sleep stories, or soothing nature sounds.
Of course, always consult your doctor, midwife, or primary caretaker before adding any supplements to your regimen, but it’s possible that your insomnia is a symptom of a deficiency. If none of the above tips work, ask your doctor if they have any recommendations.
If you're having trouble sleeping, we hope you'll give these a try and let us know what works for you!