One of the most prevalent complaints among pregnant women is insomnia, trouble falling and staying asleep. If you have trouble falling asleep for three days out of every week over three months, you have insomnia.
It’s estimated that approximately 80 percent of pregnant women experience insomnia or some other type of sleep disorder during pregnancy. Let’s take a look at how insomnia during pregnancy affects women worldwide, its causes, symptoms, and what you can do in terms of its prevention and treatment. Let’s dive right in.
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What Causes Insomnia During Pregnancy?
When a woman gets pregnant, a flood of hormones begins to circulate throughout the body, bringing all sorts of changes and developments. This hormonal fluctuation serves various purposes in our bodily systems and functions but comes with some unintended effects.
Insomnia during early pregnancy and throughout the gestational period until delivery is one of the chief side effects of hormonal changes. Even so, other reasons might be contributing to your pregnancy insomnia, including:
- Experiencing back pain and leg cramps.
- Discomfort and nausea.
- Movement of the baby, especially during the late hours of the night.
- Digestive troubles such as bloating.
- Frequent urges to go to the bathroom.
- Unsatisfying or uncomfortable changes in sex life.
- Anxiety and depression related to the changes your body is undergoing.
11 Tips to Manage and Prevent Insomnia During Pregnancy
There are numerous methods and remedies you can employ in your battle against insomnia, many of them also being effective even for people who aren’t pregnant. These include:
1. Wear comfortable clothes. Make sure you are as comfortable as possible when you go to bed at night, whether this means wearing baggy pajamas or even sleeping unclothed.
2. Practice yoga and meditation before bed. These two practices are highly effective at getting you to relax both physically and mentally, making it much easier to fall asleep and stay asleep if you suffer from insomnia while pregnant.
3. Avoid excessive stress. It’s perfectly normal to feel some anxiety while pregnant, but this will mostly be due to hormonal adjustments. Stressing yourself excessively about it will not help the situation, so do your best to relax and have faith that everything will turn out fine.
4. Take in some sunlight. Vitamin D plays a vital role in our body’s absorption of calcium. Calcium is important in the regulation of our biological clocks, which includes our sleep patterns.
5. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Digestive troubles and constipation are some of the common causes of insomnia during pregnancy, but drinking water and other fluids in plenty can help alleviate these conditions and allow you to sleep better.
6. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Junk food can lead to excessive flatulence and irregular bowel movements which can disrupt your sleep.
7. Include magnesium and calcium in your diet. Calcium, as we’ve mentioned, is essential for maintaining our body’s biological and sleep rhythms. Magnesium is useful in this regard as well. Include natural foods such as milk, kale, yogurt, sardines, nuts, beans, and dark chocolate in your diet to gain these essential nutrients.
8. Maintain regular bedtime hours. Whether you’re pregnant or not, keeping regular bedtime hours helps our bodies adapt to a routine, making it much easier to achieve quality sleep at night.
9. Avoid caffeine and tobacco before bed. Stimulants such as these make it more difficult to fall asleep at night. In the hours preceding your bedtime hours, be sure to steer clear of them.
10. Get a massage before bed. Cramps affect pregnant women, often making it difficult for them to fall asleep. A massage before bed can greatly help them fall soundly asleep and enjoy a good night’s rest.
11. Try cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT-I). CBT-I is a type of therapy where a patient works with their therapist to modify any behaviors or thought patterns that are negatively impacting their sleep patterns. They can be a good option for people suffering from severe insomnia during pregnancy.
Take note, however, that people have different responses to these measures. Try different remedies and figure out what works best for you.
Are Melatonin Supplements a Good Idea?
In most instances, taking melatonin-based supplements and medicines to treat pregnancy insomnia may not be a safe idea. Because melatonin pills are hormone-based treatments, they might be dangerous and interfere with the development of the fetus if not extremely well regulated. In case no remedies are working for you, talk to your doctor before trying any medical supplements or pills.
Insomnia in the first trimester of pregnancy is experienced by most women, but many will still experience it through their second trimester and even up to their due date. But insomnia does not have to be your reality during such a special time.
The remedies and management methods we’ve covered here can work wonders for you. Give them a try and see what cure works for you. And if you find it difficult to identify the best technique, consult our mental health professionals.