How to Cure Insomnia During Pregnancy
Do you need help with pregnancy and insomnia?
Are you a pregnant insomniac, too? If any of this sounds familiar, you are:
It's 3am, and you're wide awake. You're tired, but you're not sleepy, and that makes all the difference.
You have a million things to do in the morning to prepare for your child's arrival, and you just. Can't. Sleep.
You're trying to do everything you can to create a healthy baby, and surely your constant stress over your insomnia isn't helping your child, which just worries you more, and makes it even more difficult for you to sleep.
Your hormones are running in overdrive, leaving you tired throughout the day, but wide awake at night.
But I've got good news.
You're not alone. Over 70% pregnant women struggle with insomnia for the first time in their lives when they get with child, and they feel like a failure, or overwhelmed, or just plain depressed.
And you know what's even better news? There is help for your insomnia during pregnancy. Read on.
5 Things NOT to do if you have insomnia while pregnant
Pregnancy plus insomnia? Not fun.
Between the stresses of normal life, plus preparing for a new human being to enter your family's life in a few months, it's really not surprising that you're having trouble sleeping. And everyone knows that exhausted people can make some poor decisions, some I'm here to help you avoid the worst of them.
- Absolutely no sleeping pills. Sorry, you can't take any sleep aids, including prescription, herbal, or over-the-counter relaxants. This restriction is part of the reason so many pregnant women struggle to overcome insomnia. All sleeping pills carry a risk of harm to your unborn child, so don't, under any circumstance, take any.
- Don't exercise or eat right before bedtime. Working out right before bed will energize you, which is great - and make it impossible to sleep for a few hours (which isn't so great). Likewise, eating right before you try to sleep will keep your body awake and busy trying to digest the food - plus you're more likely to get heartburn if you lie down right away, which can keep you awake all on its own.
- Stop doing stressful things on the bed. You might not consciously make the connection, but your subconscious may be associating the bed with needing to stay awake, if you normally pay the bills, study, or do work on your bed. Move these activities to a desk and keep only relaxing activities in the bedroom.
- Don't lie awake for hours in bed This will only prolong the problem and worsen your insomnia. Give yourself 30 minutes to fall asleep. If you're still awake after this time is up, get up and read or watch TV until you're tired again. Repeat until you fall asleep.
- Stop worrying so much! This is the most important point of all, but also the most difficult to do. If there are problems that are bothering you, face them head on and conquer them, so you don't have to waste energy thinking about them at night. You are only human, and nothing will ever be perfect. Allow yourself to make mistakes and relax. Your body and your unborn child will thank you.
Where is this tiredness coming from?
And more importantly, how do I fight it?
Sure, experienced mothers told you that you would be tired all the time, but they probably forgot to mention you might suffer from insomnia during your pregnancy.
Those two side effects seem like they would cancel each other out, right? But they don't. A lot of the problem comes from the quality of sleep you are actually receiving. To put it lightly, it probably sucks.
You're probably like most expectant moms, with dozens of things to do and only 24 hours in a day. Your mind is racing ahead constantly, anticipating problems and preparing for the future. So when you do sleep, it's often more like collapsing, during the day, on whichever soft surface is the closest.
- In your first trimester, progesterone is flooding your body and making you feel tired all the time, but not necessarily sleepy. The first time you take a nap during the day, it's probably a long one, and you can't get to sleep at night. Thus, a vicious cycle is born.
- As your pregnancy continues, you suddenly have a big baby pressing on your bladder, making sleep positions uncomfortable, and making it difficult to breathe. Suddenly, your slight insomnia problem is now a looming disorder where you only get a couple hours sleep of night, you are unhappy, and all you can think about is getting this child out of your body.
Many expectant mothers have told me that just accepting that changes in their hormone levels and within their body are making them feel different than they're used to has helped them immensely. Lower your expectations you enforce upon yourself, even if it's just for the length of the pregnancy. You may need more bed rest than you're used to, or less walking.
Myth: you need to take certain supplements or pills to cure pregnancy insomnia
There is not a pill in the world you can take that will cure your insomnia without risking your baby's health or life.
Instead, by learning the reasons for your insomnia during pregnancy, we can take steps to treat their causes, and not just blindly tackle the symptoms.
I want you to accept that your pregnancy is a 100% unique experience. Don't blame yourself or stress if your pregnancy seems more problem-filled than your friends'. Comparisons will just make you worry more, and make your insomnia worse.
5 Natural ways to cure insomnia while pregnant
Safe for you, safe for baby
Insomnia during pregnancy is very common, as you've got hormones flooding your body and disrupting your sleep cycle, stress keeping you awake at night, and all the normal discomforts of pregnancy preventing you from getting a good night's sleep.
Finding out the root cause of your sleeping difficulties will provide you the most help with curing your pregnancy-related insomnia. Are you awake because you are uncomfortable? Unhappy? Not tired? There is a cure for every problem, but you need to do some soul-searching first.
Here are some general tips to help expectant mothers get the shut-eye they so desperately need.
- Use a body pillow. Full-length, supportive pillows will cradle your aching body and give you support no matter what strange sleeping position you curl up into. Remember that you need to be sleeping on your side past the first trimester, as this is the safest position for your baby.
- Go to bed the minute you feel tired. It may be hours earlier than you're used to retiring, but your body knows what it needs, and creating a baby is an energy-intensive process. If you delay too long, the feeling of tiredness will pass, and you won't be able to fall asleep for hours.
- Stop drinking after 5pm. Try to get your recommended amount of daily fluids in before the early evening, so that you aren't constantly waking up in the middle of the night needing to use the bathroom.
- Make it cooler. You probably feel hot all the time anyway, but you may be unable to sleep or constantly waking up because your body heats up even more at night. Turn the air conditioner up a little colder than usual before you fall asleep, so you don't wake up half an hour later hot and sticky.
- Do something relaxing right before bed. Create and look forward to a nighttime ritual that gets you sleepy and relaxed, like drinking hot tea or reading a good book. Patterns will help your body get used to fall asleep when commanded, and relaxing will get some of your worries off your mind.
No one ever said pregnancy was easy, but it doesn't have to be this hard, either. I hope some of these pregnant insomniac tips helped you.