Don’t lose sleep over pregnancy insomnia! Find out what it's all about with practical tips to cope.



Pregnancy insomnia refers to an inability to sleep or a condition of having disturbed sleep during pregnancy. Like all adults, expecting moms also require eight hours of peaceful sleep. Due to pregnancy related dizziness and weakness though, most women feel sleepy all the time, but when they actually try to get some sleep, all they get is tossing and turning on bed but no sleep.

What causes pregnancy insomnia in expecting moms?

Pregnancy insomnia is a pretty understandable complaint of expecting moms due to a variety of emotional and physical derangements during pregnancy.

A lot of women are unable to have peaceful, uninterrupted sleep due to increased urination characterized with frequent visits to the lavatory. It’s been observed as well that the frequency of urination increases at night for some unknown reasons.

Other causes of pregnancy insomnia are emotional consequences related to pregnancy and delivery. According to a number of surveys, most expecting moms experience pregnancy insomnia due to racing thoughts about the growing baby, possible complications during pregnancy, labor and delivery process, including the fears of anticipated motherhood.

Some expecting moms also attribute insomnia during pregnancy to vivid, disturbing dreams. Funny enough, these dreams are sometimes about dreadful deliveries and other upsetting scenarios. Don’t be bothered by such dreams, even when you awake. For most religious moms, positive prayer helps to ward them off.

In later trimester of pregnancy, it can be very difficult to get a good sleep, especially at night. Most common causes of pregnancy insomnia are backache or leg cramps that make it very difficult for expecting moms to comfortably lie down and get some hours of peaceful sleep.

Use pregnancy pillows to make yourself comfortable for a sleep and try to lie on one side with a pillow under your tummy and your top leg.

Other common pregnancy symptoms such as heartburn also haunt expecting moms, possibly contributing to interrupted sleep and frequent wake-ups at night.

What will happen to my health with untreated insomnia during pregnancy?

With chronic insomnia during pregnancy, the risk of developing altered mood and irrational behavior increases greatly.

Although, the symptoms or complications are moderate in any mild insomnia case but if it becomes chronic, you’ll be at elevated risk of developing gestational hypertension and recurrent episodes of headaches.

Moreover, expecting moms who complain of chronic insomnia remain dizzy and sleepy all day long; a condition that further affects their alertness and appetite as well.

What can I do to manage pregnancy insomnia?

Pregnancy insomnia is a frequently common issue and almost 80% of expecting moms experiences it at different points during pregnancy. Following tips may help you alleviate insomnia during pregnancy:

ü Don’t over-burden your mind with workplace, family or personal problems throughout your day. Try to share your emotional worries with your spouse or someone else. In the absence of such, maintain a diary to write down your worries and concerns; getting them out of your mind.

This is considered a healthy therapeutic habit during pregnancy especially in case of worries and concerns that trouble you but you can’t share it with anyone else. This is a very effective tip for women who experience insomnia during pregnancy due to stress or emotional worries.

ü Avoid drinking a lot of water before bedtime. This is a simple tip to avoid getting up at night to urinate frequently. Moreover don’t drink caffeinated beverages after 6 pm. Due to altered metabolism; your body tends to take longer than required time to clear-off caffeine from the body.

ü Before going to bed, clean your room and spray air freshener or use such smell accessories as lavender-scented pillow. This is considered a part of sleeping rituals for some moms and it’s known to induce sleep. Drink soothing herbal tea or warm milk, whatever you prefer and rub lotions on your feet.

ü You can also request your partner to give you a warm massage which is very helpful in third trimester when you have cramping leg pain almost all the time.

ü Taking pregnancy exercises or activities that can weary you for a sleep during the day has proven helpful for some moms.

ü Don’t lie down on bed until you feel sleepy but make sure you set a sleep time-table for yourself. Don’t worry if you’re not able to readily fall asleep. Be calm! Take a walk before bedtime, a warm shower, watch TV or read a book you find interesting or something else to relax until you’ll fall asleep.

Another school of thought suggests that once you go to your bedroom at sleep time, close your eyes and make intentional effort to sleep by avoiding any type of distraction, even lighting.

ü Adjust your room temperature to ideal optimal temperature so that you don’t get inconvenient from excessive heat. Also, get enough ventilation and fresh air enough to help you sleep normally.

ü Drinking warm milk mixed with honey provides a natural therapy to induce sleep. Heat on milk produces a kind of amino acid that is called tryptophan, while honey produces insulin. These two combined, makes you feel sleepy naturally.

ü If you can’t sleep well during the night, try to catch-up and compensate for it during the day with naps and enough rest.

Lastly, if pregnancy insomnia is interfering with your daily normal activities, don’t take over-the-counter sedatives or sleeping pills. Rather consult your physician to get the appropriate therapy or treatment prescription.

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