Insomnia is the common problem during pregnancy. Getting a good sleep during pregnancy becomes a big challenge owing to general issues. There can be different reasons like your altered respiration, increased body weight or changes in hormones but the problem can further add to already prevailing issues during pregnancy. Moreover, it is essential to get sound and long sleep to ensure good health for you and your baby.
There are sleep issues during the whole term of pregnancy but not always for the same reasons. In your first trimester, the reason may be nausea, vomiting, fears and excitement while your third trimester can make you physically uncomfortable.
What Causes Sleep Disturbances during Pregnancy
So, let us discuss some common reasons for the sleep disturbances during pregnancy?
Sleep During First Trimester
Often sleep disturbances start from the first trimester of pregnancy. However, the reasons may differ in every trimester. In this trimester, though, you do not notice significant physical changes but there is anxiousness, excitement, fear and joy of being pregnant. Moreover, there are various internal changes in the body which become the reasons of insomnia during this trimester. For example:
Urination: A high level of progesterone during initial pregnancy days generates the need to rush to the bathroom often. This makes you awake frequently during night disrupting your sleep.
Stress: physical changes and increased emotional consideration often keeps you awake in late hours especially if it is your first pregnancy.
Day time sleep: the hormonal changes in your body induce more sleep during day time. If you take long rest in day, you may not get quality sleep during night.
Morning sickness: nausea and vomiting strike you during evening hours making you feel uncomfortable.
Physical discomfort: Some women complain of swollen breasts and pelvic cramping which make it impossible to stay asleep.
Sleep In Second Trimester
For most of the women, second trimester goes off easily as they adapt to the normal physical changes in the body. Moreover, problem of urination is mitigated as the fetus grows and move upwards which reduces force on the bladder. However, still your worries regarding your baby’s growth, parenting abilities, responsibilities, labor, delivery and finances may make your sleep poor.
Sleep In Third Trimester
This is the most difficult phase of your pregnancy as along with the emotional stress, your physical stress is also on peak. You have gained so much of weight and body has gone through many major changes. However, the common issues are:
You get uncomfortable: the increased size of your belly at times makes you turning and tossing in the bed. The situation becomes worse if you are in habit of sleeping on your stomach. When you turn to sleep, the whole baby weight comes to one side which makes you uncomfortable. Moreover, as you sleep uterine contractions becomes more active which create disturbance in your sleep.
Frequent urination: Making frequent rushes to bathroom to pee haunts you in the night. The increasing size of bladder exerts a force on bladder making you feel full often. Moreover, your kidneys also need to work hard to filter the increased volume of blood.
Troubled breathing: the combined cause for this problem is the increase in pregnancy hormones and increased size of bladder which presses against diaphragm causing you to breathe in more deeply.
Leg cramps: during late weeks of pregnancy, your body weight causes cramps in your legs and backache. This may be due to a hormones named relaxin which loosens your ligaments to prepare you for childbirth. These pains become more prominent in the night keeping you wide awake for hours.
High heart rate: as you get into pregnancy, your blood volume is increased and thus your heart has to work hard to pump the added volume. This leads to an increased heart beat which makes you uncomfortable.
Heartburn: the slow rate of digestive system causes food to remain in stomach and intestines for long which haunts you with the feeling that food will come back. Further, it adds to another problem of constipation.
Ways to get a comfortable Sleep at Night?
Though, you can never have a normal and comfortable night during pregnancy but you can always work for ways to minimize your problem and get out of the stress due to sleepless nights.
Watch your eating habits: your night sleep largely depends on the food you eat. As heartburn, indigestion and constipation are the general problems, try not to fall for acidic and spicy foods in the night. Choose for a light meal at night and have it two to three hours before you sleep so that it gets enough time to digest.
Taking some light snacks, like crackers, help keep nausea and morning sickness at bay. You can also go for warm milk or decaffeinated tea. Having a well balanced diet at night resists you from snack attacks at midnight which leads to insomnia and restlessness.
When to drink: to avoid frequent urge to pee, you must cut down your liquid intake after evening. On the other hand, drinks lots of fluids during day time to avoid swollen leg, ankles and headaches which bother you at night. Further, you must completely avoid tea, coffee, soda, chocolate, alcohol or any aerated drinks during afternoon and evening. It will not only help in your sleep but also good for developing baby.
Chamomile tea is also a good solution to ease up your night sleep.
Relaxation techniques: learning some relaxation techniques will calm your mind and body and will reduce the stress you are going through. Here is what you can do to relax:
- Practice yoga and meditation: these techniques have got some hidden power in relaxing your mind, body and soul. Trying 10 – 15 minute meditation at night will keep you from all worries, physical pains and stress. Yoga will boost your strength and stamina to bear the pains and challenges of pregnancy.
- Warm water bath: if you feel tired yet not getting sleep, try warm water bath just before your bedtime. Adding some scented oils will do wonders. You will feel soothing and relaxing effect which will help you in sleeping. However, make sure not to bath with hot water as it can stimulate uterine contractions and can lead to miscarriage.
- Get some massage from your partner: sometimes body aches and pains takes away your sleep. Get yourself pampered with a nice massage by your partner to ease off pains. This will be another way to spend a good time together which can change your mood also.
- Make love: if you are in your second trimester, it is completely safe to have sex provided you are not undergoing through any complications. If possible, make love as it will also help you in relaxing.
- Take short naps during day time: if possible catch up a short nap of half an hour during day time so that you do not feel exhausted and tired with the sleepless night. But do not go for long naps as it may disrupt your nights further.
Perfect sleeping ambience:
May be you are very tired and dying to catch a sound sleep. However, your office files lying on table, your habit of watching TV, external noise and unwanted light in the room unknowingly were disturbing your sleep. So, just
- Close the curtains
- Put Television out of your room
- Use night light in bathroom so that you do not feel much aroused after every visit to bathroom in the night.
- Put on comfortable and loose sleepwear. Opt for cotton fabric which does not overheated and is breathable.
Clean and decorative room: Sometimes, extra stuff or some junk around your room may make you comfortable. So, clean your room before getting into bed. You may also keep fresh flowers, baby posters, or other baby related products which makes you happy and joyful about your pregnancy. You may also make your room smell good with flower fragrant room sprays. Such room will definitely be appealing. You can get into some positive thoughts, release stress and hope to get some quality sleep through the night.
Stack your bookshelf with parenting books: often, despite putting in all efforts, you will fail to sleep. No need to toss and turn in the bed. Just get out of your bed and start reading any book on parenting in lamp night. Soon, you will start feeling sleepy.
Comfortable sleeping postures: with a big belly getting in the way, it becomes quite difficult to get a sound sleep. Switching on your sleep positions can help you.
Sleeping on your stomach is not at all a safe idea as this may exert pressure on your uterus and also on your ballooning breasts. Further, sleeping on back is not a great idea either. It presses your major blood vessels which pumps blood to heart from legs and feet. Sleeping this posture may cause interrupted circulation to you and your baby.
So, the best and comfortable position is to keep left especially during third semester when your belly has grown much bigger. It will stave off the stress and will enhance circulation to your baby and prevents you from snoring. Keeping left also avoid your body weight put pressure on your liver. Though, either position is okay but left is comparatively better.
Always opt for a sleeping posture which maintains a curve in your back like knees slightly bent with pillows in between. However, avoid drawing knees up to your chest. Try sleeping on a firm surface so that your mattress does not sag.
Comfy maternity pillows: breathing problems and backache can keep you from sleeping. Prop your body with comfortable pillows below your back so that your uterus does not exert much pressure to your diaphragm. Putting pillows between your knees will give you comfortable posture to sleep. You can also use heating pads to ease off your back ache.
Set up a sleep schedule: if you set your body for a particular routine, eventually, it will become habitual. To ward off sleeping issues, you must follow a set routine throughout the day and sleep at the same time every day. Your body will soon adapt to the routine and you will drift off to sleep easily.
Regular exercise: if you do daily exercise during pregnancy, it will improve your circulation and thus helping you getting more and quality sleep. Moreover, it will also give some relief in leg cramps. However, do not exert yourself in vigorous exercises. Just keep it light and simple. If you have any confusion, ask your obstetrician which exercises to follow during pregnancy.
Be stress free: stress is inevitable during pregnancy as you fear from the challenges, pain and responsibilities of parenthood and often doubt your ability. All these thoughts and worries become more prominent during night. However, try to stave them off by indulging yourself in some other activities or by discussing issues with your partner.
Professional help: if despite adopting all the above discussed measures and ways to get more sleep, you are still anxious regarding delivery, labor, baby care, breastfeeding and other pregnancy issues, take help of a professional with whom you can discuss every issue in detail. You can also enroll yourself in some classes so that you will be educated about all the issues. Moreover, you might get some relief with the camaraderie of your counterparts.