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How To Deal With Insomnia When Pregnant

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Try Some Relaxation Techniques

How To Deal With Pregnancy Insomnia

Before you go to bed, try some relaxation techniques that will relax both your body and mind, and help you sleep better and longer.

Take up meditation or yoga.. If you read up on prenatal yoga and its advantages for pregnancy, youll really want to give it a go. Trust me, it worked wonders for both my pregnancies!

Are There Very Early Pregnancy Signs At 1 Week

First and foremost, lets clear something up: if you are 1 week pregnant, youre not actually pregnant!

That makes sense, right?

Let me put it plainlymost doctors start counting your 40 weeks of pregnancy on the first day of your last period before conception. That means that the only one-week pregnancy symptoms youre going to be dealing with is your period.

Waking Up At 3 Am Every Night During Pregnancy First Trimester Vs Third Trimester

Waking Up At 3 am Every Night During Pregnancy

The reasons for waking at 3 a.m. every night differ depending on the trimester of your pregnancy. The first trimester can cause insomnia and night waking. Most women need to take naps due to daytime sleepiness and fatigue.

If you feel the need to take naps, then absolutely do so. Your body is telling you it needs to rest and recharge.

During your third trimester, you should expect your insomnia and night waking to increase. Most women will wake up 3 to 5 times a night during sleep.

Waking this often is usually due to back pain, needing to go to the bathroom, leg cramps, fetal movement, and heartburn. It is also common to have strange dreams during the last few weeks of pregnancy. You may feel the need to take naps daily as you had in the first trimester.

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Can Pregnancy Cause Insomnia

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that pregnancy can cause insomnia.

However, its still not perfectly clear why some women are affected more than others. For now, heres what we do know:

  • Women who are more anxious and tend to worry experience more severe sleep difficulties
  • Hormonal changes affect sleep related hormones like cortisol and melatonin . This is the same reason many women suffer from insomnia on their periods.
  • The risk of insomnia is 2.63 times higher for women with depression syndrome
  • Pregnant women often take CoQ10 supplements. Taking too much CoQ10 can cause insomnia.

All women need to deal with the hormonal changes, but if youre typically relaxed and easy going, you have a much smaller chance of developing severe sleep troubles.

SummaryInsomnia is very common to varying degrees during pregnancy. Its mainly caused by anxiety , depression, and hormonal changes.

What Causes Insomnia During Pregnancy

Pregnancy sleeping tips. How to deal with insomnia during ...
  • Discomfort due to the increased size of your abdomen
  • Frequent urination during the night
  • Anxiety
  • Try new sleeping positions.
  • Prepare yourself for bedtime by taking a warm bath or receiving a nice massage.
  • Set up your room for a comfortable sleep setting. Try changing your thermostat to a comfortable temperature and playing some relaxing or natural sounds that can help make you sleepy.
  • Try relaxation techniques, such as the ones you may have learned in a childbirth class.
  • If you still cannot fall asleep, you may consider getting up. You can try reading a book, eating a small snack, or drinking some warm milk.
  • Exercise regularly during the day.
  • If you have the opportunity to sleep during the day, you should take it. However, long naps may interfere with your sleeping schedule at night.

Talk to your health care provider if insomnia continues. Your health care provider may prescribe medication if necessary.

Want to Know More?

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Tips For Better 1st Trimester Sleep

Making relevant behavioral and lifestyle changes will increase your chances of receiving a full eight hours of rest each night throughout your first trimester. Most changes are simple and worth it because adequate sleep lowers the risk of preterm delivery, long labors , cesarean sections, low birth weight, high blood pressure, and delivery complications.

Stay Hydrated, but Drink Early

Good hydration during pregnancy might help prevent nighttime sleep disruptions . When youre pregnant, hydration also benefits the body by:

  • Relieving swelling
  • Maintaining energy levels
  • Reducing the risk of urinary tract infections

Based on your size and your doctors recommendations, youll probably need 8 to 12, 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Try to drink most of your fluids early in the day. Otherwise, trips to the bathroom can disrupt your sleep all night long.

Avoid drinks or foods with caffeine and other stimulants that might keep you awake or make you go to the bathroom more often. Hydrating earlier in the day becomes increasingly important as you enter the second and third trimesters, when the uterus and fetus put pressure on the bladder.

Eat Nutritious Food and Take Prenatal Vitamins

Keep Your Bedroom Dark and Cool

Sleep with Support Pillows

Develop or Continue Good Sleep Habits

The first trimester of pregnancy is a good time to focus on overall sleep habits, including:

Sleep And Your Mental Health

You may have trouble sleeping because youre anxious about giving birth, work, money, childcare or physical discomfort during the night. You may have always had insomnia.

But it is important not to let the fact that you are not sleeping make you even more anxious. If you are having periods of sleeplessness sometimes accepting it can be more relaxing. Remember that sleeplessness will not harm you or the baby.

Sometimes, sleeplessness can be a sign of depression or anxiety. Theres no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed if youre feeling low. Mental health problems are common in pregnancy so youre not alone.

Mental health problems can be treated with the right help and support, so tell your midwife or doctor if you feel low, depressed or anxious for most of the time for more than two weeks.

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Practice Better Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene refers to habits that make it easier to fall asleep. Good sleep hygiene signals the brain to wind down and begin sleeping.

People may wish to try the following:

  • Only sleep in the bed and not anywhere else.
  • Wake and go to bed at the same time each day.
  • Keep the bedroom dark and cool.
  • Make the bed as comfortable and inviting as possible.
  • Do not use screens in bed, such as phones or television.
  • Get up if you cannot sleep after 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Limit caffeine before bed, or eliminate it throughout the day.
  • Limit fluids in the hours before bedtime.

Other habits to promote sleep include having a massage to reduce stress or taking a warm bath before bed.

Insomnia In Pregnancy Is Treatable


Changing sleep habits can be hard, so draw on your social support. Pregnant women often share their beds with partners, other children and even pets. Its important to get clear on the strategies you are going to try.

Having a plan about who will get your toddler a drink of water in the middle of the night or when the electronics need to be turned off is essential.

The time to have these conversations is not at 3 a.m. plan ahead!

In the end, insomnia in pregnancy is a treatable condition. Women with more serious insomnia also need access to online or in-person sleep resources as they transition to parenthood something that our research group is currently trying to solve.

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Keep A Migraine Journal To Prevent Future Occurrences

After your first migraine, its a really good idea to jot down any possible triggers to help you prevent the likelihood of experiencing more. These can include types of food you ate that day, activities you did, changes in weather.

You should also take note of when the migraine first came on, how long it lasted, and the symptoms you felt throughout your experience. You can use all of this information in your fight against future migraines.

But even if you follow every prevention tip in the book, sometimes a migraine is inevitable. Here are some recommendations to help you feel more comfortable while experiencing one, and get rid of it.

Can You Take Melatonin During Pregnancy

Melatonin, a hormone that the body creates naturally to regulate sleep-wake cycles, might seem like an easy fix for a case of insomnia. But because its considered a dietary supplement in this country, the regulation of melatonin isnt as carefully overseen by the Food & Drug Administration the way other drugs are, and its impact hasnt been well studied in pregnancy. If you’re struggling with insomnia, your doctor may approve an occasional and very small dosage .

There are also other over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids that are considered safe for occasional use in pregnancy, including Unisom, Tylenol PM, Sominex and Nytol, but always check with your doctor before taking these or any kinds of herbal preparations. You should also try not to take sleep aids every night.

Sometimes, doctors recommended taking a magnesium supplement to combat constipation or leg cramps. If that’s the case for you, it makes sense to take it before bed, since magnesium has been touted for its natural muscle-relaxing powers and may help lull you to sleep. Again, always ask your doctor before taking any over-the-counter or herbal sleep aid during pregnancy.

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Leg Cramps And Restless Legs Syndrome

Research shows that as many as 1 in 3 women have restless legs syndrome in the third trimester, characterized by uncomfortable sensations that provoke an irresistible urge to move the legs. Restless legs syndrome appears more when the body is at rest and can make it virtually impossible to get to sleep. The third trimester also brings nighttime leg cramps for many women.

Will Insomnia Continue After Pregnancy

How to Cope with Back Pain and Insomnia During Pregnancy

To wrap up, lets think ahead a bit.

Lets say youre unable to get a great handle on your sleep issues during your pregnancy. Will you still have insomnia after pregnancy?

One study that looked at this topic found :

Although women slept fewer hours at night after delivery compared to during late pregnancy, and reported more nights with nighttime awakenings, their self-reported insomnia scores improved, and the prevalence of insomnia according to the DSM-IV criteria decreased.

Essentially, youll still probably sleep less , but youll have higher quality sleep. When it comes to sleep, quality is more important than quantity in most cases.

See our detailed guide to insomnia after having a baby for more details.

SummaryWhile youll still be a bit tired and fatigued on a regular basis, you likely wont have the same stress and anxiety from during pregnancy.

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A Simple Pillow Helps

One of the most basic tips for sleeping better, particularly in late pregnancy, is to put a pillow under your belly while sleeping on your side.

A study found that this reliably reduces backache . While there are specialty wedge pillows for this purpose, even a standard pillow was found to be quite effective.

Why Do I Wake Up At 3 Am During Pregnancy

It is unfortunately common to experience sleep problems during pregnancy. These can cause you to wake early in the morning each night. As discussed above, studies were done on pregnant women and sleep patterns. Studies have shown that a combination of hormonal changes and the discomforts of pregnancy can contribute to interruptions in a pregnant womans sleep cycle. It is all too common to be waking up at 3 a.m. every night during pregnancy.

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Can Pregnant Women Take Melatonin

For many, melatonin is an effective treatment for insomnia. Although your body naturally produces its own melatonin, incorporating a supplement into your routine can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

In the absence of any hard scientific evidence, its still a bit unclear whether melatonin is safe to use for pregnancy insomnia. The best thing to do is discuss it with your doctor to determine if its right for you.

If Approved By Your Doctor Take A Tylenol

Pregnancy sleeping tips. How to deal with insomnia during pregnancy.

Assuming youve already discussed a migraine with your doctor and theyve given you the green light to use OTC pain medication in the future, you can take a small dose of Tylenol for the infrequent migraine.

This isnt a long term solution, as it only puts a bandaid on the issue. We recommend really figuring out what your triggers are, and coming up with a more holistic solution.

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Treatment Of Insomnia During Pregnancy

Most women experience some degree of sleep disturbance during pregnancy, and for a significant number of women sleep disruption may be quite severe. There are many different causes for sleep disturbance during pregnancy, and choosing the appropriate intervention relies on an accurate diagnosis of the problem.

Certain sleep disorders, such as restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea, are more common during pregnancy and may cause significant sleep disruption.

Sleep disturbance may also be a symptom of depression or an anxiety disorder, thus it is important to screen for these problems. Many women with depression or anxiety have difficulty falling asleep or they wake early and are unable to return to sleep. Treating the underlying disorder may improve sleep quality. Typically antidepressants, including fluoxetine and the older tricyclic agents are used in this setting.

While certain strategies may help to improve sleep quality, some women may require some type of pharmacologic intervention. Although Ambien and other sedative-hypnotic agents, including Lunesta and Sonata , are commonly prescribed to women with sleep disturbance, the data regarding their reproductive safety is limited and generally we try to avoid their use during pregnancy.

Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD

Relax In A Dark Quiet Room

Its not enough to just lie down on the couch and watch TV in most cases, as screens will only make matters worse. Instead, close the blinds and turn off the lights and just rest.

You can try and sleep it off, and use a cold compress on your neck and/or forehead for even better relief. This will help with the hot flashes you may feel from a migraine.

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Cant Sleep While Pregnant

Certain hormonal changes, along with other pregnancy-related discomforts can sink a good nights sleep. Heres how to snooze more soundly.

    This guide was originally published on May 22, 2019.

    Like the perfect maternity outfit, sleep is something many pregnant women covet. My second and third pregnancies, for instance, were plagued with such bad morning sickness that I was left vomiting throughout the night. When that eased, my sons kicking became so intense that one particularly sharp jab in the middle of the night caused me to awake to soaked sheets Id peed all over my bed.

    According to one study published in the journal Sleep Medicine in 2015, most women experience some type of sleep problem during pregnancy. Of the 2,427 women surveyed, for example, all reported frequent nighttime wakings while they were pregnant nearly 60 percent reported insomnia and about 80 percent found it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position.

    My patients always come to me in a panic because theyre worried about not sleeping, said Dr. Laura Riley, M.D., an ob-gyn at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. But this sleep deprivation isnt harmful in any way to you or your baby. Your body will naturally protect itself and make sure you fall asleep eventually, Dr. Riley added. Youll get the rest you need.

    Why Is Sleep Important To Pregnant Women


    Sleep allows your body to rest and refresh.

    During sleep, the body grows muscles, repairs tissues, and synthesizes hormones.

    Well, you might not notice all that the body does, but for sure you will feel the effects of inadequate or poor quality sleep.

    If you do not sleep well, you wake up feeling tired, irritated, and generally unwell, both physically and mentally.

    And, for expectant mothers, the quality and quantity of sleep are critical.

    Inadequate sleep can lead to birth complications including low birth weights and premature delivery, says Dr. Michael J. Breus quoting research done at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre.

    Another study by Professor Kathy Lee of the University of California San Francisco showed that first-time mothers who slept less than 6 hours a day had more protracted labor lasting 10 hours or more, and were 4.5 times more likely to have a C-section compared to first-timers who got 7 hours of sleep.

    Now you know. It is essential to sleep well, just like babies do.

    So, lets explore the next question.

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    How Soon Can You Tell Youre Pregnant

    If youre anxious to find out if doing the deed did its job, theres a good chance youll find yourself looking for any unusual early pregnancy signs.

    While one of the most common first signs of pregnancy is a missed period, that wont actually occur until youre around 4 weeks pregnant. Some women, myself included, show weird pregnancy symptoms before a missed period has time to happen.

    For example, when I was pregnant with our first daughter, I suddenly noticed I could barely stay awake during the day.

    As someone who doesnt usually nap, this shouldve been a big ol flag.

    In addition to fatigue, there are some other side effects you could experience during the two-week wait after ovulation, such as:

    Is It Normal To Feel Tired In Pregnancy

    It’s common to feel tired, or even exhausted, during pregnancy, especially in the first 12 weeks.

    Hormonal changes at this time can make you feel tired, nauseous and emotional. The only answer is to rest as much as possible.

    Make time to sit with your feet up during the day, and accept any offers of help from colleagues and family.

    Being tired and run-down can make you feel low. Try to look after your physical health make sure you eat a healthy diet, and get plenty of rest and sleep.

    Later in pregnancy, you may feel tired because of the extra weight you’re carrying. Make sure you get plenty of rest.

    As your bump gets bigger, it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep. You might find that lying down is uncomfortable or that you need to use the loo a lot.

    Feeling tired will not harm you or your baby, but it can make life feel more difficult, especially in the early days before you’ve told people about your pregnancy.

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