Sleep problems, including insomnia, are very common among pregnant women due to various reasons. Many say that they are just not comfortable enough to have a good night’s sleep, while others complain about the frequent necessity of going to the toilet. Restless legs or leg cramps as it is commonly known is a regular problem among pregnant women and can have a great impact on their sleep quality. However, it should not be accompanied by any abdominal pain or cramping in the legs.
Add to that all the anxiety and excitement about the arrival of a new baby. Every pregnant woman or every woman who has been pregnant once in her life know too good what I am talking about. It has been estimated that 8 out of 10 pregnant women at some point in their pregnancy have to deal with sleep problems, including insomnia.
With all the physical and emotional changes that a woman undergoes during these nine months of sweat waiting there is no wonder that sleeping can be quite difficult.
How to deal with sleep problems and insomnia?
As mentioned, sleep problems and insomnia are very common during pregnancy. It is quite frustrating and nerve wrecking when you need to count the minutes. Even rolling from one side to the other and having difficulty falling asleep can be frustrating even though that is the only thing in the world you would do.
Add to that all the daily stress and hard work a pregnant woman deals with every day. If you are having difficulties sleeping or can’t sleep at all during the night, try any of the following tips as they might be helpful:
- Try to relax as much as possible before you go to bed. Take a warm bath, let your partner give you a massage, listen to music, read a book, or have a cup of chamomile tea, anything that will relax you and help you sleep faster.
- Once you lay down in bed apply progressive muscle relaxation which can improve your sleeping quality. Remember, you should not feel discomfort or pain.
- Make sure that the room you are sleeping is dark enough, quite enough and the room temperature is comfortable for you.
- Use supportive pillows to get yourself into a comfortable position. Sleeping on the back is not recommended due to all the weight of your stomach to the major blood vessels. Sleeping on the stomach is impossible as your belly is getting bigger every day. So, the only option for you now that you are pregnant is sleeping on the sides.
Pregnant women are recommended to sleep on their left side as the blood flow toward your uterus will not be compromised. However, sleeping on your right side is just fine as well. Alter sleeping on the right side and the left side.
Use supportive pillows placed between your knees for back support, or behind your back as well. If you experience lower back pain or pain in your legs or pelvis, it is best to consult your doctor. You may even need to get a sonogram or pelvic exam done to determine the cause.
You can use some extra pillows which you have at home, or you can buy pregnancy pillows which have a C- shape or a U – shape, whichever you prefer.
- If you can’t sleep within the first half an hour after you have laid down into your bad, a good idea is to get up, change the room and do something else that relaxes you. Relax this way until you feel drowsy and then get back to bed again. Hopefully, you will be luckier this time and fall asleep easily.
- Try to relax and don’t become anxious even though it might be very difficult for you to sleep. The more nervous or anxious you get, the longer it will take for you to fall asleep. The next morning you will feel totally wrecked because you just couldn’t sleep enough the previous day.
- If none of the above – mentioned tips haven't helped you sleep better during the night, take naps during the day. Take a nap whenever you have the chance, so you can compensate as much as possible the lack of sleep. However, keep in mind that long naps can interfere with your night sleeping schedule.
If you are worried about your sleep problems, or if you are constantly dealing with insomnia during pregnancy, you can consult your medical practitioner. However, keep in mind that insomnia is a common problem during pregnancy and that you are not alone. Perhaps this is just a way of how your body is getting prepared for all those sleepless nights once the baby is born.