Pregnancy can be full of unpredictable concerns that pop up but one of the most common complaints we hear about is pregnancy insomnia. Insomnia can mean you have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both!
While it certainly doesn’t help you to get some sleep, you are not alone!
Sometimes this common but annoying issues pops up during early pregnancy but most often, it occurs during mid- to late pregnancy. There are many reasons one might wake or have difficulty falling or staying asleep during pregnancy including: a growing belly, frequent urination, nausea/vomiting, breast tenderness, leg cramps, breathing discomforts, heartburn, and other physical pregnancy discomforts. Sometimes women report having difficulty turning off their thoughts–everything from anxiety about the birth to wanting to organize the nursery and clean or nest.
Some tried and true tips and tricks are listed below. Sometimes one thing will work, sometimes a combination, and sometimes alternating through them throughout the pregnancy. If these do not work, chat with your obstetrician or midwife about additional options!
- Take a warm bath with a relaxing bath bomb or flakes — the warm water and relaxing aroma may gently relax your body helping with the sleep process.
- Put down your phone — I know, it’s super tempting to text, email, scroll through social media, or read a book on your phone or other device before bed but the lighting is disruptive to your sleep triggers and instead enjoy talking with your partner, reading a good paperback book, or meditating.
- Drink a warm cup of tea or milk– again warmth is relaxing. Ensure the tea does not contain extra caffeine and that the ingredients are safe for pregnancy.
- Eat dinner early — if heartburn is the culprit try eating foods that are non-acidic and non-spicy. A food high in protein should satisfy you longer. Eating early may give your body more time to digest the food before laying down.
- Exercise — staying active during the day can result in better sleep at night. Take a nice walk, go window shopping, or hit the gym for some yoga. Not only is exercise healthy for you and the baby but it can help with the pregnancy insomnia.
- Get comfortable — this is cliche, because of course you are going to do your best, but consider additional tools that may help. Full body pillows or wedges can help in this situation and because they are used for such a short time, ask a friend or family member if they may have one you can borrow. If your breasts are the issue, consider a comfortable sleep bra.
- Take a nap during the day — consider squeezing in a 20 minute nap mid-morning or around noon. Much longer and you may have more difficulty at night but that quick nap may be restorative.
- Lower the temperature — we sleep best at an ambient temperature of 65 degrees. Depending where you live this may mean lowering the A/C, turning off the heat, or opening a window.
- Enjoy a glass of tart cherry juice — this is not the same as a sugary, artificial cherry flavored drink but rather a concentrated dose of cherry juice may help according to some studies.
- Magnesium — with permission from your doctor or midwife, of course! Magnesium can aid in relaxation and many of us are deficient.
- Essential oils — consider finding an essential oil or blend that is relaxing for you. Common oils for relaxation include lavender, vetiver, roman chamomile, and more. Diffusing may be the safest option during pregnancy and you should speak with your provider before starting a new essential oil regimen.
Again, if your pregnancy insomnia is concerning you or these tips don’t seem to help, speak with your care provider for additional suggestions.
Written by: Melissa Nauss, Owner & Doula