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Pregnancy, one of the most beautiful events of a woman’s life, also, truthfully, happens to be one of the most challenging in ways more than one. Along with the various forms of aches and pains, sleep and sleep-related problems, including insomnia, is one of the biggest challenges faced by pregnant women during their pregnancy.
Given the fact that post-pregnancy days are the toughest for women, having to juggle between taking care of the baby as well as of oneself, pre-pregnancy is when women yearn for sleep the most. And ironically, towards the third trimester, sleep is also what most struggle with the most. Studies have estimated that insomnia and the inability to sleep affect as many as 75 percent of pregnant women. Given the stats, if you are a mom who has found her way to this blog article, chances that you suffer from insomnia and lack of sleep cannot be overruled.
As a pregnant woman, your insomnia could be reasoned with multiple reasons like anxiety, baby-related symptoms like nausea, heartburn, or perhaps just the fear of the unknown. Regardless of what exactly has hampered your sleep hygiene, our attempt with this blog is to help you understand what insomnia exactly means, what causes insomnia in pregnancy, and certain tips and tricks that can help overcome pregnancy sleep problems.
What is insomnia ?
Insomnia is defined as one of the sleep disorders that make it difficult for a person to fall asleep, often resulting in a lack of sleep throughout the night. In simpler words, people suffering from insomnia find it difficult to get sleep at night and often do not get any sleep at all through the night. Some people might also find it difficult to sleep until late or might not feel rested and refreshed as one should post-nap as a symptom of insomnia.
Insomnia, since it is a condition that devoids people from a healthy sleep pattern, needless to say, can cause severe health problems, can affect the mood, disrupts energy levels, and can also affect one’s work performance.
Insomnia during pregnancy: When does insomnia take place during pregnancy ?
It is necessary for pregnant women to be able to differentiate between a normal sleep problem and insomnia in pregnancy. It is normal for women to experience some minor sleep problems like the inability to fall asleep as quickly as they did pre-pregnancy, because, after all, there are tons of changes happening inside the body. insomnia, however, is a more severe sleep problem, and the differentiation between the two is necessary to understand.
Insomnia typically takes place only towards the second semester or the third semester of pregnancy. However, the 0verall sleep quality of a woman can be expected to go down even during early pregnancy, perhaps, as early as the first trimester of pregnancy owing to pregnancy symptoms and the discomfort caused as a result of them.
Insomnia in the Third Trimester: What causes insomnia during pregnancy ?
Insomnia in pregnancy, like most other pregnancy symptoms, can be associated and reasoned with the general hormonal changes suffered by women as a result of pregnancy itself. Besides, multiple other factors that only amplify through the first trimester to the third trimester only add to sleeplessness include the pregnancy. These pregnancy side effects that cause insomnia in pregnancy include-
- The frequent urge to urination
- Pregnancy heartburns
- Back pain and similar aches in the body
- Leg cramps
- Restless leg syndrome
- Pregnancy anxiety
- Discomforts associated with a growing baby bump
Insomnia taking a toll? Read more about the best pregnancy pillows here!
How long does pregnancy insomnia last ?
Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to this question. Insomnia, sleep disturbance, poor sleep quality, and other sleep disorders like sleep apnea can be experienced at any given point of time in a pregnancy. It is advised to visit your healthcare provider and take consultation for a safe, medically reviewed sleep medicine.
How safe is Melatonin for pregnant women ?
Melatonin is a hormone-based sleep-inducing medicine, widely used by people around the globe in an attempt to overcome insomnia and sleep disorders. However, since there have not been enough studies determining the impact of Melatonin in pregnant women, it is advised to not take the pill without prior professional consultation.
Medical consultation and a professional prescription is not only advice for Melatonin but, in fact, for any and every sleep-aiding medicine including Unisom, Tylenol PM, Sominex, and Nytol.
Is insomnia harmful during pregnancy ?
While it is absolutely normal and OK for a pregnant woman to not get an adequate amount of sleep for a night or two in a row, severe insomnia and lack of sleep for a couple of days in a row could be a situation to be rather alarmed of. Constant sleep inability during pregnancy can cause serious issues like street, gestational diabetes, mood swings, headaches, and even clinical depression. Sleep issues, specifically persistent in the later stages of pregnancy can also cause longer-than-usual labor and the need for a C-section instead of normal vaginal birth.
If you are facing issues with your sleep patterns or are suffering from the sleep deprivation of any order, reach out to your doctor and share your health information for medical advice as soon as possible.
Insomnia during pregnancy: Treatment
The obvious question by now in minds of most mothers’ would be “how do I treat insomnia during pregnancy?” While the treatment of insomnia can only be facilitated by a medical professional, there could be some steps taken to at least manage pregnancy insomnia naturally.
Here’s how to manage pregnancy insomnia-
1. Develop a bedtime routine
Step one to an organized sleep pattern is to forget your pre-pregnancy habits and to consciously put in efforts to build a bedtime routine. You could probably indulge in something that relaxes you, like a warm bath or a good read before you tuck yourself in which could help you sleep quicker.
2. Reduce screen time
Avoiding blue light and staying away from the screen prior to sleep time could also help overcome sleep disturbances and sleep better, quicker since screen time is proven to impact the body’s natural circadian rhythm.
3. Diet and exercise
Drinking a lot of water throughout the day and ensuring that your diet is nutrient-rich can help improve sleep quality. It is also necessary to cut down or at least minimize the intake of caffeine in the day, especially after early evening. Exercising and staying active in the day can also tire one down and help get sleep in the night.
- Change your room ambiance
Right before its sleep time, try and dim the lights of your room to make a more cozy, dark, and dimly lit ambiance that facilitates the aim of falling asleep.
While eating healthy is one aspect of eating, it is also important to plan your eating as per sleep time. For example, instead of eating a light meal at night, fill yourself up with a high-protein diet that can keep your blood sugar levels steady for a peaceful and sleep-full night. If in case you’ve had a light dinner, a quick snack before hitting the bed could help tool.
5. Distract yourself/ Take your time
Though falling asleep is the main motive here, you should try and understand that thinking too much about it and stressing yourself over it can only help one so much. Instead of clouding your mind and worrying about sleeping, give yourself some time, distract yourself, perhaps even get out of bed, and indulge in a boring activity that makes you sleepy.
6. Download an app
If natural ways of inducing sleep are not helping you, try and download a sleep facilitating app like “Sleep.” You might argue this contradicts the point that said try and reduce your screen time, however, the point here is to not look at the screen and instead, just take some smart help. Apps like Sleep amongst others like Calm offer guided meditations and block out the noises to help you fall asleep.
7. Sleep-inducing scenes
Using sleep-inducing candles like lavender candles or a stress reliever body lotion/body oil can also help you sleep faster. Have your partner pamper you with a scented lotion massage, ease yourself in a relaxing sleep position, support your body with body pillows, get comfortable, and say hello to the la-la land!