What can I do if I can’t sleep?
Pregnancy insomnia is not uncommon, and can happen at any stage of the pregnancy. Even if you have never had insomnia before, chances are that you will experience some insomnia during pregnancy.
Signs of pregnancy insomnia
If you find it difficult to fall asleep, you have pregnancy insomnia. You also have pregnancy insomnia if you find yourself waking up frequently through the night, or if you do fall asleep but do not feel rested when you wake up in the morning.
Causes of pregnancy insomnia
There are several causes of pregnancy insomnia.
In the first trimester, your body is producing a lot of a hormone called progesterone, which has a natural sedative effect. This makes you feel drowsy in the day. If you take a nap, you will find it difficult to fall asleep later at night. This simply means that you will feel sleepy again the next day and the cycle continues. Some of you may also worry about miscarrying, and this preoccupation can certainly keep you up.
In the third trimester, your belly exerts more pressure on your body in general, and backaches or leg cramps may make sleep uncomfortable. It doesn’t help that you probably have to wake up several times in the night to pee, as your growing uterus presses on your bladder. Pre-birth anxiety is thrown in the mix, and all in all, staying asleep, let alone falling asleep, becomes frustrating.
Risks of pregnancy insomnia
Rest assured that while sleep deprivation isn’t pleasant, it won’t harm you and your baby. Insomnia is a normal part of pregnancy.
Steps to minimize pregnancy insomnia
The first thing to do is to not worry about having insomnia. Worrying will only make sleep more elusive. It might help to get some exercise in the day, so that you work off excess energy and can fall asleep more easily at night. You could also try to establish a night-time routine. Taking a warm bath helps to prepare you for restful sleep. Drinking warm milk may also help.
Make certain that your room is at the right temperature that will help you fall asleep more easily. There should also be minimal light and noise that may prevent you from falling asleep. In bed, support yourself with as many pillows and cushions you need. You may also like to try the Brest Friend Pillow, which has an elongated shape that supports your entire body and makes it more conducive for you to fall asleep.
If you find that these steps are still not helping you to sleep, you could simply get up, read a book or watch some TV. These activities will help distract you from your thoughts, and may help to relax you into more fitful sleep. Please do not take any sleeping pills, whether they are prescription, herbal or over the counter. These may be dangerous for your baby’s health.