Insomnia during pregnancy occurs more during the first trimester as the body undergoes drastic hormonal changes and upheavals. Insomnia can make the pregnant woman feel extremely sick and exhausted but it is of no harm to the fetus. On the other side, few pregnant women experience insomnia during the later stages of pregnancy due to various reasons like back ache, muscle cramps, congestion and heartburn.
Let us understand the causes of insomnia during pregnancy and tips to manage it.
Causes of Insomnia During Pregnancy
Generally, insomnia is the inability or decrease in the ability to fall asleep on time. It is a term also used for inadequate or poor quality of sleep. Normally, a person requires 7 to 8 hours of sleep. However, during pregnancy, sleep becomes even more important.
Unfortunately, several factors contribute to sleep deprivation, which can cause insomnia during pregnancy, some of which are as follows:-
- Backache and leg pain
- Muscle cramps
- Hormonal upheavals
- Urge to urinate frequently
- Soreness in the breasts
- Heartburn, nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heartbeat/anxiety
- Nightmares/vivid dreams
- Abdominal discomfort
- Blood pressure fluctuation
Apart from these factors, sleep deprivation or insomnia during pregnancy can also be caused due to emotional concerns. It can be related to stress or depression due to hormonal changes. Since along with physical changes, a mother also has to cope up psychologically with the new phase of life, it takes time to adjust. This is where the partner and the family play a crucial role. It is important to support the would-be-mother in every way, so as to make her comfortable and keep her away from stress and depression.
Tips to Manage Insomnia During Pregnancy
Here are some of the important tips to manage insomnia during pregnancy.
Set a Bed-Time Routine: Try developing a habit of going to bed at the same time every day. Try not to sleep during the day as that would keep you awake during the night. Having a bed time routine is one the ways to manage insomnia during pregnancy.
Listen to Music: If you may not necessarily fall asleep at once after going to bed, try relaxing your mind by listening to soft music. It is better to avoid listening to loud rock music. Soothing instrumentals or melodies in lower volume might work as a lullaby for you, putting you to sleep. It has been approved as a therapy for many problems including insomnia during pregnancy.
Avoid Technology: It is best to avoid watching television, tablet or mobile phone at least half an hour or one hour before going to bed. Visual perception of our mind is too strong. It keeps our mind active, but your mind must be relaxed in order to fall asleep. Therefore, keep enough gap between watching television, tablet or mobile phone and sleeping to manage insomnia during pregnancy. The best thing to do is read a book, light-hearted stories or comic books. That can help you fall asleep.
Take a Warm Water Bath: Try taking a quick warm water bath before going to bed. It shall soothe your nerves and muscles and you can fall off to sleep easily. This is one of the most effective tips to manage insomnia during pregnancy. Make sure that the water is not too hot as it may be harm your skin as well as fetus.
Drink Fluids: During pregnancy, you should have sufficient amount of fluid intake throughout the day, especially water, as the body requires extra amount of fluids. Avoid fluids having caffeine content and minimize drinking water after 7p.m in the evening to manage insomnia during pregnancy.
Healthy Meals: Having a healthy dinner is very important. During pregnancy you should not remain empty stomach, but having too much is also not advisable. Have dinner little early and do not go to bed immediately after eating. Chew the food slowly and in case you feel too full, go for a short walk to feel easy on abdomen and thereby bypass insomnia, effectively. This too is one of the most important tips to manage insomnia during pregnancy.
Food high in protein keeps the blood sugar level steady throughout the night. A glass of warm milk also helps to make you feel sleepy. Those who are prone to have gastritis issues or cannot digest milk shall avoid drinking it. Have light snacks in between the meals in case if you feel hungry. This shall help in sufficing the dropped blood glucose levels. Follow a proper diet routine, without overindulging in fatty and spicy foods, to avoid insomnia during pregnancy.
Communication: Another best way to relax is to speak to your partner or anyone who can help you. Sharing your worries and feeling can make you feel relaxed. Alternatively, you can also scribble down your thoughts on a notepad. This can also help release your stress and is an effective way to manage insomnia during pregnancy.
Exercise: Try staying active during the day. Go for yoga sessions that are specially designed for pregnant women. There are relaxation techniques and meditation therapies often taught in childbirth classes that help to manage insomnia during pregnancy
Maintain Favorable Environment – Keep your bedroom cool and dark, one of the best ways to manage insomnia during pregnancy. You may switch on a dim light, if you want. An optimal temperature and peaceful environment helps you fall asleep, easily. To be more comfortable, lie on your side. You may also tuck a pillow under your belly to support it and another between your knees. Last but not the least; try wearing loose fitting maternity clothes while sleeping. All these adjustments together shall ensure a comfortable sleep and keep insomnia away.
Most women are affected by insomnia especially in the first trimester or at the later stage. Usually it may improve passes by after a short period of time. Avoid having sleeping pills or supplements without consulting the doctor. Rather, try out natural ways, as discussed to tackle insomnia. Seek medical attention if insomnia affects your ability to function properly.
Insomnia during pregnancy is very much manageable with the right approach. Try and distract yourself from thoughts or worries that can make you anxious. Try indulging yourself in productive activities throughout the day like reading books, exercise etc. so that it tires you enough to fall asleep during night. If there are medical concerns affecting your sleep, they must be treated at once. Seek medical advice in addition to these tips to manage insomnia during pregnancy.
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