Is pregnancy insomnia driving you crazy? Waking up and lying awake for hours can be really frustrating when you know you should be getting in as much sleep as you can before your baby arrives.
Pregnancy insomnia can begin as early as the first trimester and can linger throughout your pregnancy. Once your baby is welcomed into this world you will be waking frequently to feed your newborn and it may feel that blissful sleep becomes a thing of the past.
I’m here to reassure you that insomnia is not uncommon and is something many women experience during pregnancy. As a pregnancy naturopath, I’m passionate about supporting you through your pregnancy with natural therapies, treatment and advice. This includes nutrition, supplements, management of conditions such as morning sickness, heartburn, constipation and insomnia as well as breastfeeding advice and baby health.
What causes pregnancy insomnia?
There are a number of reasons for pregnancy insomnia which can include physical discomfort, changing hormones and excitement or anxiety about becoming a new mother.
The changes in your hormones during pregnancy can change your circadian rhythm and heaviness of sleep, in order to prepare you to wake up and feed your baby overnight. These changes can start as early as the first trimester of pregnancy and continue throughout.
Symptoms of poor sleep can include; difficulty getting to sleep, waking frequently, restless sleep, and feeling unrested and tired when you wake up. If experienced regularly, pregnancy insomnia can contribute to gestational diabetes, stress and have an effect on your emotional wellbeing.
You may also like to read How to Manage Your Emotional Wellbeing During Pregnancy which also covers why prioritising restful, healthy sleep is one of the key factors to improving your emotional wellbeing when pregnant.
Additional causes of poor sleep can include;
- Sore breasts
- Frequent urination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Headaches and leg cramps (click here to read more on Pregnancy Headaches)
- Aches and pains
- Difficulty getting comfortable with your growing belly
Food and drinks to promote a good night’s sleep
I am focussed on natural solutions to help you get a good night’s sleep. It’s best to consume a small amount an hour before bed, including:
- Almonds & walnuts:
These contain wonderful amounts of Magnesium and are a good source of the sleep regulating hormone Melatonin.
Contain Magnesium and Tryptophan, the precursor to Melatonin and Serotonin (mood regulating hormone).
- Turkey breast:
Also contains Tryptophan and Protein to help balance blood sugar.
- Chamomile tea:
Organic tea leaves are ideal and can act as a relaxant.
- Tart cherry juice:
Acts as an anti-inflammatory.
- Omega 3 and fatty fish:
Such as Salmon, Sardines and Mackerel contain Omega 3, Vitamin D and Melatonin. All of which encourage a normal sleep pattern.
Practical solutions for pregnancy insomnia
Aim to get quality sleep before your baby arrives with these helpful tips to overcome pregnancy insomnia during your pregnancy:
- Cushion support
Lots of cushion support in all different shapes and sizes, between knees and under the belly. Unfortunately there may only be room for 1 person in the bed!
- Reduce interruptions
This may mean a noisy partner, blue light from electronic devices and artificial lighting.
- Consider your clothing
Change your bra to no underwire early in the pregnancy. Wear breathable and lightweight PJ’s.
- Introduce a sleep routine
This could include soft lights, relaxing music, a warm bath and getting to bed at a similar time each night. These may help your brain release the sleep promoting hormone, melatonin.
It’s a great muscle relaxant to help reduce muscle aches, pains and tension.
- Teas & herbs
Relaxing teas and herbs such as chamomile, valerian, lemon balm, mint.
- Relaxation techniques
Develop relaxation techniques to get you to sleep, and to get you back to sleep during the night. Meditations such as those that help to deal with stress of childbirth and becoming a mother can be most useful during pregnancy.
- Eliminate stimulants
Avoid and eliminate stimulants such as exercise, food or fluids before bed. For example, avoid caffeine and chocolate. Do not exercise for at least 2 hours before bed. Instead, try and exercise during the day so you are ready to rest at night.
- Pregnancy Yoga
Try some gentle yoga to relax your mind and body.
Still experiencing pregnancy insomnia?
As a pregnancy naturopath, I’m passionate about supporting you through your pregnancy with natural therapies, treatment and advice. This includes nutrition, supplements, management of conditions such as morning sickness, heartburn, constipation and insomnia as well as breastfeeding advice and baby health.
If you are struggling with pregnancy insomnia, book an appointment to see me. I will work with your individual needs and provide support and advice to provide a good night’s sleep and address any other issues you may be experiencing.