Research shows that good sleep habits can help you sleep better, even if you’re pregnant. One of the best things you can do to manage insomnia while you’re pregnant is to set up good sleep habits. Begin by trying to go to bed at the same time every night. Start your routine with something relaxing to help you unwind, like taking a warm bath or reading a book. Then turn off the lights and get comfortable; when it’s time for bed, avoid screen time at least an hour before bed so your brain isn’t stimulated.
To manage insomnia while pregnant, create a bedtime routine to help you unwind. Start with something relaxing, like reading or listening to soothing music. Avoid screen time at least an hour before bed, and try going to bed at the same time every night.
If you’re having trouble sleeping during pregnancy, try developing a relaxing bedtime routine. You can start with something that helps you unwind before hitting the hay, like taking a bath or reading a book. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and avoid screen time at least an hour before bed.
When you’re pregnant, it’s important to get as much rest as possible. One of the best things you can do to manage insomnia while you’re pregnant is to set up good sleep habits.
Pregnant and Cant Sleep at Night
For a new mom-to-be, experiencing sleep deprivation after the baby is born is a given. But you probably didn’t realize that it could also occur during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Most women experience sleep problems during pregnancy. Pregnant women tend to get more sleep during their first trimesters (hello, early bedtime) but experience a big drop in the quality of their sleep. It turns out that pregnancy can make you feel exhausted all day long. It can also cause insomnia at night.
Here are some of the most common culprits for insomnia during early pregnancy, plus a few tips to help you get a better night’s sleep.
Insomnia means you have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. Women can experience insomnia during all stages of pregnancy, but it tends to be more common in the first and third trimesters. Between midnight bathroom breaks, out-of-control hormones, and pregnancy woes such as congestion and heartburn, you might be spending more time out of your bed than in it. The good news: While insomnia might be miserable, it’s not harmful to your baby.
Sheer logistics play a role as well. By the end of a pregnancy, many women have a hard time just getting comfortable enough to sleep well. During the first trimester, you might not have much of a baby belly to accommodate, but there are other issues that can prevent a good night’s sleep.
Expecting? There are many reasons you might be wide awake in the wee hours. These can include:
- need to urinate frequently
- nausea or vomiting
- back pain
- breast tenderness
- abdominal discomfort
- leg cramps
- shortness of breath
- vivid dreams
Other causes of insomnia can be stress-related. You might feel anxious about labor and delivery, or worry about how you’ll balance work with being a new mother. These thoughts can keep you up at night, especially after your third visit to the bathroom.
It can be difficult to distract yourself from these thoughts, but try to remember that worrying isn’t productive. Instead, try writing down all of your concerns on paper. This will give you a chance to consider possible solutions. If there are no solutions, or there is nothing you can do, turn the page in your journal and focus on another worry. This can help empty your mind so you can rest.
Being up front with your partner about your feelings and worries can also help you feel better.
One of the best things you can do to manage insomnia while you’re pregnant is to set up good sleep habits.
Begin by trying to go to bed at the same time every night. Start your routine with something relaxing to help you unwind.
Taking a soothing bath might also make you sleepy. Just be careful that the temperature isn’t too hot — that can be dangerous for your developing baby. This is especially true during early pregnancy.
To be safe, avoid hot tubs.
Diet and exercise can have an impact on your sleep.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day, but minimize drinking after 7 p.m. Try to avoid caffeine starting in the late afternoon.
Eat to sleep
Eat a healthy dinner, but try to enjoy it slowly to reduce your chances of heartburn. Eating an early dinner can also help, but don’t go to bed hungry. Eat a light snack if you need to eat something late in the evening. Something high in protein can keep your blood sugar levels steady through the night. A warm glass of milk can help you feel sleepy, too.
Stay active during the day so you can rest at night.
Making yourself — and your bedroom — more comfortable can result in better sleep.
Make yourself comfortable. Lie on your side, tuck a pillow between your knees, and use one under your belly as it gets bigger.
If breast tenderness is bothering you, opt for a comfortable sleep bra that fits properly.
Keep your room cool, dark, and quiet for optimal sleeping conditions. Use a nightlight in the bathroom for those midnight visits. The dim light will be less jarring than a bright overhead light.
Practice ways to feel more relaxed at night.
If you’re lying in bed and are wide awake, get up and distract yourself with something until you’re feeling tired enough to fall asleep. It’s more effective than lying in bed and staring at the clock.
For most women, insomnia during the first trimester will pass. If you’re having trouble, try taking naps during the day. But skip any sleep-inducing supplements, medicines, or herbs until you consult with your doctor.
If your insomnia is impacting your ability to function, your doctor may be able to prescribe a sedative that’s safe to take during pregnancy.
Insomnia During Pregnancy and Gender
Whether your insomnia or disturbed sleep is related to anxiety, crazy pregnancy dreams, frequent trips to the bathroom or your sweet babe kicking you in the ribs, getting enough sleep is crucial for good health. To help you get a better night’s sleep, here’s more about the causes of insomnia, as well as what you can do to manage and maybe prevent it during pregnancy.
What is insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that makes it hard to drift off to sleep or stay asleep at night. This common sleep problem can also cause you to wake up too early and not able to head back to dreamland, and it may make you feel as if the sleep you did manage to get wasn’t refreshing or restorative.
Insomnia, which may affect up to 60 percent of Americans, can impact your mood, energy level, health and work performance.
When does insomnia during pregnancy start?
It’s normal to have trouble sleeping at any point during pregnancy, but many expectant women experience insomnia starting in the second to third trimesters, as other pregnancy symptoms increase, and a burgeoning baby belly makes it harder than ever to get comfortable in bed.
Still, first trimester woes can force you from your cozy bed and disturb precious sleep too, including morning sickness, which can happen any time of the day or night, and a constant need to pee. But if you’re worried that a case of insomnia may harm your baby, rest assured it won’t. So do your best not to fret — and sometimes, just letting go of these feelings is all it takes to help you sleep.
What causes pregnancy insomnia?
Like many annoying pregnancy-related symptoms, insomnia can be pinned, in part, to hormonal changes. But along with this usual suspect there are also a whole host of different factors that may conspire to keep you awake at night, including:
- Frequent trips to the bathroom
- Pregnancy heartburn, constipation or morning sickness
- Aches and pains, including headache, round ligament pain or tender breasts
- Leg cramps and restless leg syndrome
- Vivid or disturbing dreams
- A hopped-up metabolism that keeps the heat on even when it’s off
- Difficulty getting comfortable with your growing belly
- Kicking, flipping and rolling from your active baby on board
- Pre-birth anxiety and worries
How long does pregnancy insomnia last?
Since it’s possible to experience insomnia and disrupted sleep at any point during pregnancy, you may be faced with a loss of shut-eye for weeks and months with no real end point in sight. But rather than letting this sleep disorder weigh on you, check in with your doctor at your next prenatal appointment for some help and guidance.
Can you take melatonin during pregnancy?
Melatonin, a hormone that the body creates naturally to regulate sleep-wake cycles, might seem like an easy fix for a case of insomnia. But because it’s considered a dietary supplement in this country, the regulation of melatonin isn’t as carefully overseen by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) the way other drugs are, and its impact hasn’t been well studied in pregnancy. If you’re struggling with insomnia, your doctor may approve an occasional and very small dosage (such as 1 mg).
There are also other over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids that are considered safe for occasional use in pregnancy, including Unisom, Tylenol PM, Sominex and Nytol, but always check with your doctor before taking these or any kinds of herbal preparations. You should also try not to take sleep aids every night.
Sometimes, doctors recommended taking a magnesium supplement to combat constipation or leg cramps. If that’s the case for you, it makes sense to take it before bed, since magnesium has been touted for its natural muscle-relaxing powers and may help lull you to sleep. Again, always ask your doctor before taking any over-the-counter or herbal sleep aid during pregnancy.
Is insomnia harmful during pregnancy?
A lost night of sleep during pregnancy here and there isn’t usually a big concern, but continued or chronic inadequate sleep has been linked to gestational diabetes, stress and depression. Insomnia and frequent snoring also have been linked to an increased risk of giving birth to a baby that’s too large or too small for its age, and sleep issues late in pregnancy have been linked to a longer labor and a greater need for a cesarean section.
How to manage pregnancy insomnia
You’re probably getting more shut-eye than you think, but it might not feel that way if your sleep is interrupted, if you’re tossing and turning trying to find a comfortable position, or if you’re awake at night feeling anxious about the baby’s birth. To help, here are a couple of ways to manage sleeplessness.
- Get out of bed. If you’re not asleep after 20 to 30 minutes, get up and find a small, boring task to accomplish (think bill paying for 15 minutes, not scrubbing the toilet) and then try to go to sleep again. You may just be tired enough by that point to get the rest you need.
- Don’t count the hours. Though most people do best on about eight hours of sleep, some feel fine on less and some need more. Do some quick math and check how you’re feeling on the hours you’re getting. If you’re not chronically tired, you may be sleeping the right amount.
How to prevent pregnancy insomnia
You don’t have to take insomnia lying down! Instead, consider a few of the many ways you can try and beat back sleeplessness and finally summon the sandman:
- Clear the emotional decks. If you have persistent worries that are keeping you up at night, talk about them with a friend or your partner so you can sort them out during daylight hours. You can also try meditation or writing your thoughts on paper.
- Avoid caffeine and chocolate. Especially in the late afternoon or evening, since they can keep you awake.
- Eat small and early. A big meal, eaten late in the evening, can keep you from falling and staying asleep, so try to eat a lighter, earlier dinner.
- Take your time. Don’t wolf your food down at your evening meal. A leisurely pace can help keep symptoms of heartburn at bay.
- Top it off. A light snack before you turn in will tide you over until breakfast, but choose a healthy carb-protein pair to keep your blood sugar stable, such as a whole grain muffin and a glass of warm milk, or a cheese stick and a few dried apricots.
- Slow the flow. Fill your daily requirement of fluids during the earlier in the day and cut back on what you’re drinking after 6 p.m. This may help to cut down on bathroom runs after you’ve hit the hay.
- Work it out. Getting some daily pregnancy exercise can make you sleepier at night. Just avoid hitting the gym too close to bedtime, since a post-workout buzz can keep you awake.
- Make a bedtime routine. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. Craft a routine that includes activities such as: light reading, soothing music, gentle yoga poses or relaxation exercises, a warm bath, prenatal massage and sex.
- Download sleep. There are plenty of apps that promise to help you sleep, so download some of the better-rated ones that rely on self-guided meditation, nature sounds or other white noise.
- Try nasal strips. If you’re having trouble sleeping due to a pregnancy runny nose, nasal strips may help you breathe more easily at night.
- Try white noise and black-out shades. Consider a machine that emits a quiet pulse or drone sound and room-darkening curtains to block light that might be keeping you up.
- Wean off the screen. Using your phone, tablet, e-reader, TV or laptop before bed can mess with your Zzzs. The screen’s blue light alters sleepiness and alertness and suppresses levels of melatonin. Power off at least an hour before bed.
- Air it out. Is your bedroom too cold? Is it a sauna? Check the temperature, and make sure you’re using a mattress and pillows that provide solid support without feeling like bricks. Open a window to keep the room from getting stuffy — you’re sure to heat up during the night.
- Get comfy. There is no such thing as too many pillows during pregnancy. Use them to prop you up, support you where you need it or just cozy up to (or better yet, invest in a good pregnancy pillow). After the first trimester, you can also try snoozing upright in a recliner, which will allow you to stay on your back without lying flat.
- Save your bed for sex and sleep. If you’re doing daytime activities in bed, you might be unwittingly associating that part of your home with being awake — and with stress. Pay your bills in the kitchen, and save the bed for two purposes only — sex and sleeping.
- Smell your way to sleep. A lavender-scented pillow or sachet tucked into your pillowcase can help you relax and bring on sleep faster.