Sleep Disturbances / Insomnia during Pregnancy
Insomnia, or the inability to fall or stay sleep – which can happen in all the three trimesters of pregnancy, is estimated to affect more than 75 percent of expectant moms. So, as expected, I regularly meet mums-to-be complaining of this problem in my clinic!
What are the causes of Insomnia in pregnancy?
A combination of all the hormonal changes, frequent urination, cramps in the legs, acidity or heartburn, symphysis pubis pain which is especially bad when you try to turn in bed, discomfort of an expanding tummy and anxiety about childbirth could be some of the causes.
So, here are some tips to help you combat Insomnia during pregnancy…
- Don’t worry. Of course, this is easier said than done! But do remember that worrying will not help any situation, so learn some meditation or relaxation techniques that can help. If you have persistent worries that you have identified, talk about them with a friend, partner or counsellor and try to get to a solution, rather than let it fester.
- Exercise during the day. Get some daily routine exercise – walking, pregnancy yoga, etc. This will ensure that you are fit and hopefully, bit tired at night, so you can drift off to a peaceful slumber.
- Eat your dinner slowly. Don’t gobble down your food, eat early and walk around a bit after dinner. This helps to avoid the reflux that is associated with heartburn. Of course, eat less spicy food and use antacids if needed.
- Avoid caffeine and chocolate. Especially in the evening or at bedtime, since they can keep you awake.
- Have a bedtime routine. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. Every night, read a book, listen to soothing music, or watch TV until drowsiness sets in.
- Try a relaxing pregnancy massage.
- Bedroom basics! Check out the temperature, humidity, etc in your bedroom. Your mattress and pillows should be comfortable so that it provides support but not too hard. A body pillow can help you get comfortable, and help you get the sleep you need.
What Not to do in case of Insomnia…
Do not use medicines that make you sleepy (often cough medicines containing codeine are misused for this!).
If you really need help, seek professional help from a counsellor, psychologist or your obstetrician.