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Can’t Seem To Get Sleep While Pregnant? Read About Pregnancy Insomnia & Ways To Manage It

Sleeplessness during pregnancy, though uncomfortable, is in fact, common. Insomnia, generally, is the inability to sleep or stay asleep for quite a long time. This sleep disorder can be caused by a wide range of factors, and each of those causes requires their own methods to finally counter and cure insomnia [1].

What Is Pregnancy Insomnia?

It can be hard for the expectant mother to get some good night's rest. With each trimester of pregnancy, the expectant mother is faced with a new sleeping challenge. The most common reason for less sleep during pregnancy is the increasing size of the foetus [2]. It takes time to get used to the increasing size of the stomach and find a more comfortable sleeping position.

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What Causes Pregnancy Insomnia?

Insomnia during pregnancy can be caused by a wide range of factors, which may or may not be related to the baby. As a pregnant mother undergoes the later phases of gestation, her abdomen will increase in size and carrying the kid may become uncomfortable at this stage [3].

1. Baby's movement: During the last phase of pregnancy, the movements of the baby inside the womb may sometimes disturb sleep. Whenever the baby inside seems to move, you may wake up and may find it difficult to fall asleep again.

2. Stress/anxiety: Pregnancy could add up to your stress and anxiety levels. In fact, the mere thought about labour could also increase anxiety and result in sleepless nights during the last trimester.

3. Leg cramps: During pregnancy, leg cramps could also be a commonly experienced problem. They could start mostly in the second trimester. Leg cramps during the night could disturb your sleep as you may wake up suddenly due to a strange sensation in the legs.

4. Frequent urination: During pregnancy, it is common to experience the problem of frequent urination. When the urge to pass urine occurs in the night, no doubt your sleep quality may get affected. This could even cause pregnancy insomnia. This problem could worsen during the last trimester [4].

5. Baby bump: Another issue that could make it tough to fall asleep is the size of the baby bump. Finding the ideal position to sleep could be difficult. Take the suggestions of your doctor in that phase.

6. Certain foods: Sometimes, it could be your diet behind insomnia during pregnancy. If you are taking coffee or eating any foods that could disturb sleep, then maybe you must cut down on them. Ask your doctor.

7. Pregnancy nightmares: Some women may also experience weird dreams which could wake them up suddenly in the night. Such dreams could cause insomnia. What causes such dreams? Well, anxiety or thoughts about the future, the baby's health and other worries could trigger nightmares in some [5].

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What Are The Complications Of Pregnancy Insomnia?

The common physical symptoms which interfere with the expectant mothers' sleep are the frequent need to urinate at night, emotional changes during pregnancy, increased sleepiness during the day, cramps, discomfort due to the growing belly etc.

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Some mothers can also suffer from back pain due to the baby's weight, leading to further sleepless nights. The weight of the baby that is exerted on the mother's urinary bladder can make her urinate more frequently through the night, preventing her from staying asleep [6].

Another important fact that cannot be overlooked is that an expectant mother needs plenty of sleep during night which is beneficial both for herself and the baby.

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How To Get More Sleep During Pregnancy?

Since you are not able to get a peaceful sleep at night due to so many hormonal and emotional changes, we have a few tips to help you out. Check out these simple tips which will aid in better sleep during your pregnancy months.

1. Eating habits: It is extremely beneficial to have a warm glass of milk before going to bed. Eat foods which are high in carbohydrates (but avoid late-night snacking) like bread which will help in promoting sleep. Also eat protein-rich foods which will help you to get rid of headaches, hot flashes, and bad dreams. And, anything fried, spicy or acidic is a strict no. Snack healthy during the day. Munch on some light crackers or fruits. It will also help to prevent night-time nausea [7][8].

2. Limit liquids in the evening: You and your baby need plenty of water. So, drink a lot of liquids and water during the day. Try to limit consuming liquids in the evening so that your bladder is not full in the night. This prevents the urge for frequent urination and helps you to sleep better.

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3. Manage stress levels: During pregnancy, your stress and anxiety level is sure to be high. This will result in insomnia. So, it is important to deal with stress so that it does not interfere with your sleep. Practice meditation or talk to friends or people you are comfortable with or maybe read a good book. The idea is to de-stress completely before you go to bed [9].

4. Regular sleep schedule: Your body has a schedule for everything, and you have to be very cautious about your sleep schedule during pregnancy. So, even if you miss out on your favourite shows on TV, make sure you get to bed early. It helps you to get complete sleep [10].

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5. Skip daytime naps: Day time sleepiness is common, especially in the first trimester. But taking small naps during the day will make it more difficult for you to sleep in the night. So, avoid daytime naps.

6. Use a hot water bag: In case you get cramps, which is quite likely during pregnancy, keep a heating pad or hot water bag handy. Please keep it on the places where it is aching. But make sure you do not sleep off while it is on [11].

7. Warm bath: Fill the tub with warm water or run your shower and slide into it before going to bed. Make sure the water is not too hot. The warm water will provide the much-needed relaxation to your muscles and help in soothing the cramps. You will definitely get better sleep after a warm water bath.

8. No smoking: OF COURSE, you are not allowed to smoke if you are pregnant. But here we are also talking about the second-hand smoke which also disrupts your sleep. If you have someone at home who smokes, ask them to step out and smoke. The second-hand smoke not only disrupts your sleep but it also extremely harmful for you and your baby [12].

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In addition, you can try sleeping on your side with a cushion or something soft under your belly. Add some music while sleeping; include natural sound accompaniments like twittering birds or the sound of the ocean crashing against the shore to get some quality sleep.

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On A Final Note…

So how can pregnant women cope with insomnia during pregnancy? Due to the uncomfortable size, shape, and weight of your belly, you might want to try new sleeping positions, which will not strain your back or cause you any discomfort or pain.

Story first published: Thursday, November 5, 2020, 14:46 [IST]