Pregnancy brings about many new changes to our bodies and our lives – most of which are not overly surprising or unexpected, thanks to all the helpful info out there. But one thing you may not expect to add to the list is insomnia.
Unfortunately, sleep disruptions affect most women during pregnancy. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through it without any help! Here’s some info on why pregnancy insomnia happens and what you can do about it.
Why It Happens
Insomnia is when you have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. Pregnancy insomnia can occur at any stage of pregnancy, but it tends to be more common in the first and third trimester.
In your first trimester, insomnia can be chalked up to hormonal changes. You can feel so drained it’s almost impossible to keep your eyes open, which will generally lead to naps during the day or snoozing on the couch in the evening. You’ll then get out of a regular sleep pattern, which can affect your night time sleep.
The first trimester also brings about lots of night time trips to the bathroom now that you suddenly have to pee all the time. You may even be experiencing some anxiety over how the baby is doing. Again, more things that will affect your ability to sleep.
In the third trimester, you could experience a lovely combination of heartburn, leg cramps, a shortness of breath, stuffy nose and an overall feeling of being uncomfortable. A lot of tossing and turning can go on during this trimester.
What You Can Do
Try a few of these helpful tips to promote proper sleep hygiene, and before you know it, you should be on your way to better quality sleep!
Studies show that meditation is a very effective way to calm the mind and prepare for sleep. It’s easy to do and makes a fantastic addition to a bedtime routine! Whether you want to try out mindfulness, practice progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing or give guided meditation a try, meditation is proving to be key to getting a good night’s sleep. Find out more here.
Change Up Your Diet
Certain foods can help with promoting sleep, such as lean meats and fish. They’re a great source of vitamin B6, which is needed for the creation of the hormone melatonin. Almonds and bananas contain tryptophan and magnesium, which help steady your heart and naturally reduce muscle and nerve function. And cherries are a natural source of melatonin and can also help in regulating your sleep cycle.
Fueling yourself with healthy foods is important for so many reasons during pregnancy – but it’s also important to eat slowly to avoid heartburn.
Invest in a Few Comfort Items
If you’re having trouble sleeping, get extra comfy! Grab some ear plugs and a sleep mask to avoid unwanted distractions, try a white noise machine for a quiet, relaxing humming sound. Another popular comfort item during pregnancy is a full body pillow like this one.
Set Your Bedroom Up for Sleep Success
Your bedroom should be for sleep and sleep only. Remove distractions like TVs, workout equipment, and work papers. It’s important to create a sleep sanctuary where all you do is sleep!
Drink Warm Milk
Calcium has been proven to help reduce stress and help you relax. It’s not a myth that a warm glass of milk at bedtime will help you sleep – it really works!
Open Your Window a Crack
We all sleep better in a cooler environment. It’s easier to fall asleep and remain asleep if it’s not too hot in the bedroom. It’s best to choose a temperature that works for you, but ideally it should be between 68 and 72 degrees. Adjust your thermostat or choose a lighter blanket if necessary.
Stay Away From Sugar at Night
Sugar can give you an energy boost – and that’s the last thing you need when you’re trying to sleep!
Establish a Consistent Sleep Pattern
It’s important to go to bed and wake up in the mornings around the same time to keep your body clock in sync. When you’re keeping to a consistent pattern, you’ll be able to achieve the best restorative sleep possible and falling asleep and waking up will become easier.
Alanna McGinn is Founder and Certified Sleep Consultant of Good Night Sleep Site, a global sleep consulting practice. She and her husband, Mike, live in Burlington, Ontario with their 3 children (1+twins!) Alanna and her global team are working with families to overcome their sleep challenges. You can follow her expert advice on Marilyn Denis, The Goods and national publications like Today’s Parent, Maclean’s, Prevention, and Huffington Post. Alanna strives in helping families and corporations overcome their sleep challenges and have happy well-rested smiles in the morning. Join Alanna on the first Wednesday of every month at the Burlington location of Snuggle Bugz/Nestled for her in-person sleep clinic from 10-11am, and follow Good Night Sleep Site on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for all your sleep essentials.