Insomnia in pregnancy is surprisingly common, affecting around 78% of pregnant women. Although the unborn child is safe, insomnia in pregnancy can be quite a pain-literally-for the mother-to-be. It’ll be nine long months before you can return to your blissful sleeping habits, so might as well try and make the most of your situation.
Perhaps the anxiety and excitement at having a baby is keeping you up, whereas before, you conked out as soon as your head hit the pillow. Due to some physical and hormonal changes you will be undergoing, you can expect your sleep to be disrupted by back pains, discomfort as your abdomen swells, increased urinary frequency, heartburn, and even vivid dreams. Aside from the usual nausea of morning sickness, you will also have to contend with headaches, dizziness, nervousness, and irritability.
A lot of office workers are notorious insomniacs due to lack of physical activity in their daily routine. Exercise during the day (but not 3 hours or less before bedtime) to help you relax and fall asleep. Don’t do anything strenuous just before hitting the sack as the adrenalin you’ve built up will only succeed in keeping you awake.
With insomnia in pregnancy, as with any other case of sleeplessness, learning to relax is key. Take a nice warm bath, then have your husband or partner give you a firm but gentle massage to loosen your muscle tension and relieve stress and fatigue.
Listen to soft, relaxing music, or recordings of soothing sounds like a steady heartbeat or lapping ocean waves. Make sure your player turns off automatically, though, because if you’re going to have to get up to turn it off yourself, then it defeats the purpose of listening to a recording to help you get to sleep in the first place.
Your bedroom must be conducive to sleep. Not too hot or you’ll toss and turn from the heat, and not too cold that you’ll be shivering all night. Your mattress should be firm and comfy, not hard and lumpy in places, that you end up with a stiff neck, a bad back, and other aches and pains in the morning.
If it’s not too cold, noisy, or dangerous, leave the window open for fresh air and proper circulation. Curtains and rugs help absorb light and sound, so the atmosphere is darker and quieter. Earplugs are pretty useful, too. And don’t forget to turn off your phone.
If half an hour has passed and you’re not in sleeping mode yet, get out of bed and do some light activities like reading or needlework till you’re tired. Once you are, try falling asleep again.
Sleep on your side to ease back pain. Bend your knees and put a pillow between your legs. Try placing one underneath your belly as well for more support. Pile on even more to prop up your upper body if you suffer from heartburn.
Sleeping on your left side is ideal as this causes blood and nutrients to surge to the placenta and your baby, although moving about and shifting positions is perfectly acceptable. These changes will be limited, though. You won’t be able to sleep on your stomach for obvious reasons, while lying flat may only aggravate your back pain. With the weight of your belly bearing down on you, it could even lead to digestive and respiratory problems, as well as low blood pressure and decreased circulation, which in turn affects not only your heart, but also your unborn child.
Insomnia in pregnancy need not be a burden. At least, you need not be part of that large statistic that experiences it. Hopefully, with these steps, not only will you be expecting a baby, but you’ll be sleeping like one, too.
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