Insomnia during pregnancy, though inconvenient, is actually common. In fact, the disorder affects nearly eighty percent of mothers, all of whom worry endlessly for the health of their child. How can an anticipating mother deal with this problem?
Insomnia, in general, is the inability to sleep or to stay asleep for a long time. This sleep disorder is caused by a variety of factors, and each of these causes requires its own methods to finally counter and cure insomnia. Insomnia can be brought on by altered work hours or jet lag. It may be induced because of bodily pain, or disorders such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, which can cause spontaneous vomiting even while the person is asleep. Nightmares and sleepwalking can also bring about insomnia, as can mental disorders such as mania or phobias. External factors, such as ingestion of stimulants, dehydration, and lack of exercise, can also contribute to insomnia.
Insomnia during pregnancy, on the other hand, can be caused by a variety of factors which may or may not be related to the baby. As a pregnant mother progresses through the later stages of gestation, her abdomen will increase in size, until carrying the child can be uncomfortable. Some mothers may also suffer back pains due to the child’s weight, leading further to sleepless nights. The added weight of the child on the mother’s bladder can make her urinate frequently during the night, preventing her from staying asleep.
Anxiety can also bring about insomnia during pregnancy, and in fact results in a vicious cycle. Because hormonal changes bring about insomnia during pregnancy, a mother will often naturally be awake at night. She worries about her insomnia and fears that it can harm her baby. This anxiety further intensifies the insomnia, which then keeps adding to her fears.
How can you, as a pregnant mother, cope with insomnia during pregnancy? Because of the uncomfortable size, shape, and weight of your belly, you may want to try new sleeping positions that will not strain your back or cause you pain or discomfort. You can try sleeping on your side, with a pillow or something soft under your belly. You can also take a warm, soothing bath before you sleep, in order to relax your body completely. This can make you fall asleep easily, and, along with a glass of warm milk, can keep you asleep for a longer time.
If the warm bath and glass of milk still do not work, then set the thermostat in your room to a comfortable temperature. You can also play relaxing instrumental music, preferably with soothing strains such as those made by a flute or violin. Such music may include nature sound accompaniments, such as twittering birds or the sound of the ocean crashing against the shore.
If music keeps you awake, you may want to read a book or watch television, or eat a light snack with some carbohydrates. A low dose of carbohydrates in the night time can allow your brain to produce serotonin, which can ease you closer to sleep. Do not overindulge on carbohydrates by taking chocolates and sweets, however, as this will keep you up and alert for much longer. The key to combating insomnia during pregnancy is to relax: you will learn such techniques in child birth class, so put them into practice at night as you get into bed.
If you have a chance to sleep during the day, then take it. You can also help yourself sleep better at night by exercising for about half an hour late in the afternoon. Take up yoga or meditation exercises, and do not engage in strenuous exercises, as these will actually wake you up. There are special yoga routines for pregnant mothers, so you may want to do research on them.
Insomnia during pregnancy can be worrisome for many pregnant mothers, but it is not entirely hopeless. If you are suffering from insomnia during pregnancy, do your best to relax, but without taking any pills or medication. Try not to stress about your pregnancy, the delivery, the health of the baby, or what you will do after you have given birth. Concentrate on relaxing and easing yourself into sleep, and not only will you stay healthy, but so will your baby.