Sleep is one of the basic needs of mothers during pregnancy. On the other hand, we know that unpleasant sleep changes are more possible because of rapid hormonal changes.
For example, before the first signs of pregnancy appear, you might have fallen asleep fairly quickly. But now, even though the room is dark and curtains are pulled off, it is still hard for you to get an eyeshot.
The other scenario might be that you fall asleep but wake up several times during the night. When the situation gets out of control, it is called pregnancy insomnia.
Insomnia may occur at any time during pregnancy. Many women worry that insomnia may continue throughout pregnancy. This is worrying because naturally, after giving birth to your baby, you will have more lack of sleep than before. Keep reading to discover the causes of your insomnia, its symptoms, and ways to control it.
What Causes Pregnancy Insomnia?
Insomnia during pregnancy happens when pregnant women have difficulty to fall asleep or stay asleep during the night. They cannot close their eyes and get the eight hours of sleep they need to restore energy.
The American Pregnancy Association statistics show that insomnia is common and affects up to 80% of pregnant women. Insomnia happens to vary degrees in the first and third trimesters of pregnancy.
There are various reasons mentioned as the causes of insomnia. But in general, such explanations are mainly related to extreme hormonal changes in the body. Other reasons include weight gain due to a growing baby and high stress.
Other possible reasons are:
Nausea, constant visits to the bathroom during the night, leg cramps and back pain, high body temperature, and heartburn.
Also, other factors may worsen your insomnia:
- Inappropriate sleeping conditions
- Change in your sleep hour or place where you used to rest before getting conceived (for example, while traveling),
- The habit of scrolling your mobile phone up and down
- Working on your laptop before going to sleep
As a result, although hormonal shifts are to be blamed, you must pay attention to your lifestyle to get the most efficient sleep.
Note: You might ask if insomnia can be a pregnancy symptom. In other words, is insomnia a sign of pregnancy? People do not notice insomnia in early pregnancy, and insomnia develops at later stages.
Note: You may have heard that some old wives believe insomnia signifies giving birth to a baby girl. But determining the sex of your baby has nothing to do with insomnia. In fact, food cravings or insomnia are not definite signs of predicting you will have a boy or girl.
Are There Any Complications Associated with Pregnancy Insomnia?
As it is mentioned in the article titled "Insomnia and Sleep Deficiency in Pregnancy," insomnia during pregnancy and lack of sleep, in general, can cause the following to happen:
- Premature birth
- A higher probability of C-section
- More pain during childbirth
Also, as stated on the Sleep Foundation Website, insomnia in the third trimester of pregnancy is complicated for different reasons. For example, the growing baby bump results in more back pain and interferes with normal sleep. During this trimester, most moms feel frustrated and unable to find the most comfortable sleep position.
Pregnancy insomnia creates additional stress for working mothers. These women have to make a balance between work and life. At this time, many women struggle with vivid or intense pregnancy dreams. Finally, sometimes these conditions may worsen, and
you may face sleep disorders such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Restless Legs Syndrome.
How do I Manage Pregnancy Insomnia?
Lifestyle changes are the best thing you can do to manage insomnia during pregnancy. This is where you have some control over the situation. The most important thing to remember is to avoid distractions in your bedroom. Watching TV or using this space for anything other than sleep or sex (like working) is wrong.
Now, let's see what natural remedies for insomnia during pregnancy exist:
1. Create the right sleeping conditions for yourself in the bedroom. It is called developing a healthy sleep routine or observing your sleep hygiene. Keep the place cooled enough, so the heat does not prevent you from falling asleep.
You can also use pregnancy pillows; there are body-sized ones on the market. Another solution is to put a pillow or two between your legs to transfer the weight off your back.
Try different sleeping positions during pregnancy and see which one is more comfortable for you. Recreate the same environmental conditions you were used to, for example sleeping in a quiet and dark room before pregnancy.
As mentioned, avoid exposure to blue screen light from sources like your laptop or mobile phone. Put them aside at least one to two hours before sleep, so your cortisol levels remain normal.
It is good to replace these habits with healthier ones, such as reading a book or meditating for a few minutes.
2. Pay attention to the snacks and foods you eat before sleep. It is good not to eat three hours before going to sleep. During this interval, your digestive system will have enough time to digest the food. Choose light and healthy meals, and avoid eating sugar, high-calorie, and processed foods.
Suppose you feel hungry before going to bed. In that case, you can make healthy homemade snacks (such as bars, granola, muffins, and energy balls) made from tahini, bananas, peanut butter, dates, and dark chocolate.
Note: Although your doctor has probably warned you, it is better to cut out caffeine during pregnancy or reduce it as much as possible. For this purpose, drinking no more than 2 cups of coffee per day or 6 cups of tea is recommended.
Also, keep your body fully hydrated, but minimize water consumption in the evening. It is to avoid frequent visits to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
3. Prepare your body and mind for sleep. Two of the best things you can do to have a comfortable and quality sleep during pregnancy are meditation and prenatal yoga before bed.
Or you can even keep a journal next to your bed. Whenever you have stress or thoughts preventing you from going to sleep, write them down. It is good to have a weekly exercise program of walking or swimming. You can do these exercises two or three days a week during pregnancy.
This way, your body will be relieved from muscle or joint cramps, prepared for childbirth, and feel better. If all these measures are not enough, seek professional help.
Insomnia during pregnancy is a frustrating sleep problem that affects many mothers. Although insomnia may occur throughout pregnancy, it is more common in the first and third trimesters for various reasons. It is easier to control this condition by making lifestyle changes.
Some ways to keep insomnia in check are as follows:
- Trying to not get stressed
- Eating healthier and lighter foods and snacks during pregnancy a few hours before sleep
- Preparing suitable physical conditions in your bedroom
You should have a quality sleep to be fresh and energetic to take care of your baby.