It’s 4am and for some unknown reason you’re wide awake. Never mind the fact that you have an important meeting, or need to get through the working day pretending that pregnancy hasn’t rendered you unemployable - YOU NEED YOUR SLEEP! 😴 🧟♀️
Sadly, we’ve all been there. Succumbing to insomnia during pregnancy is all too common and can happen anytime from the first trimester onward.
While friends will reassure you that it’s just your body’s way of adjusting to your new-life (yeah thanks), science has a different theory.
According to experts, insomnia during pregnancy can mean “difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both”, and there’s a host of reasons why it may occur.
Needing the bathroom more frequently or having heartburn are common pregnancy gripes. These may wake you up and you may find it harder than usual to get back to sleep due to changing hormones among other factors.
Then of course, there’s the small matter of the growing bump. Since pregnant women aren’t allowed to sleep on their backs during the second and third trimester, it can be harder to find a comfortable sleeping position.
Later in gestation you might find you suffer from carpal tunnel and/or leg cramps – some are more prone to this than others. Although this might not specifically cause insomnia during pregnancy, the cramps themselves may inhibit a good night’s sleep. in which case you may find comfort in arm splints. Not going to deny you’ll look like Keith Lemon, but it’s worth it for the extra zzzzzs!
From 16-25 weeks in pregnancy, you might even start to feel the baby kick, and they aren’t considerate house guests either. Expect a prod or foot in the gut as you nod off to sleep, or before the alarm goes; it’s just their way of saying hello. Yeah, thanks for that!
Getting some Zzzs 😴😴😴
Since insomnia during pregnancy is nothing new, we have the benefit of helpful tips and insight to learn from.
☕ According to the NHS, limit your intake of caffeine based drinks and try not to eat too late. Use relaxation techniques such as meditation and guided breathing before going to bed, as these might help get your body in the zone.
📱 Much has been documented about the correlation between blue screens from smartphones and disrupted sleep. If possible, try and avoid tech at least half an hour before going to bed.
🚶♀️ During the day, try and go for a light walk Exercise has been known to help too, so get a daily dose of fresh air, even if it seems counterproductive
🛏 If you’re suffering with discomfort, then a pregnancy pillow might help. Especially popular with women who aren’t used to sleeping on their side, it may ease some of the challenges of not lying on your back.
🌿 Some women also swear by herbal remedies to help with insomnia during pregnancy. A generous splash of lavender oil on your pillow or eye mask works for some.
On a final note, occasionally insomnia during pregnancy is due to other medical reasons, such as depression. If you feel that this may be the case, or you’re suffering more than you’re able to cope with, book an appointment with your GP to talk over the issue.
(photo Juan Silva / Getty Images)