You might feel that you’re lying awake in the dark all alone, but according to the American Pregnancy Association, pregnancy insomnia is common, and affects up to 78% of women.
Why can’t I sleep?
If you’re getting insufficient or poor quality sleep, waking up too early, or having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep you might be suffering from insomnia.
Reasons for pregnancy insomnia include:
- Feelings of stress and anxiety
- Pain, swelling or cramps in the legs
- Back pain
- Frequent trips to the loo
- Feeling your baby kick and move constantly
- Vivid dreams
- Hormonal changes, which could affect body temperature.
So how can you overcome pregnancy insomnia and ensure you get a good night’s rest?
1. Practise prenatal yoga
Studies have proven that there are many benefits to practising yoga during pregnancy. Firstly, it relieves physical and mental stress, as it helps to clear the mind, relax the body and release any muscular tension. This in turn will help you feel more rested and alleviate pregnancy insomnia. Using gentle exercise together with deep breathing has also been shown to reduce high blood pressure and ease depression.
2. Use natural tissue salts or Bach flower remedies
During pregnancy, your body goes through many changes, and this can cause restlessness at night, due to stress and anxiety, according to health practitioners at the Bach Centre in the US. Walnut can help pregnant women cope with change, while impatiens helps to relax and calm the body and mind. If you’re going to use Bach flower remedies during your pregnancy, speak to a healthcare practitioner first. Tissue salts are also safe during pregnancy. Tissue salt no. 8 magnesium phosphate can help to alleviate cramps and ease pain and tension. Tissue salt no. 10 natrium phosphate can help with anxiety as well as insomnia, mental fuzziness and memory loss.
3. Soak in a warm bath
There’s nothing quite like a warm bath to unwind and let your tense, aching muscles relax at the end of the day. Want to add a few drops of calming lavender to your bath? Good idea, but speak to a homeopath about the correct dosage to use during pregnancy. Use a body brush while you’re lying in the bath to gently massage your legs in an upward motion, from your ankles to your belly. This will help to boost circulation and reduce water retention.
4. Meditate before bed
Take a few minutes at night to meditate. This simple practice will help you let go of the tensions of the day and reconnect with yourself and your unborn baby. Studies have shown that the combination of soothing music and visualisation techniques can help you cope with physical and emotional stresses, including labour itself. So it’s a good idea to start meditating throughout your pregnancy.
5. Drink camomile tea
Also known as the calming herb, camomile tea is believed to act as a natural sedative, which will help you relax at night and sleep well. Plus, the act of sitting quietly while sipping on a warm drink is also a calming pre-bedtime ritual. But if you’re waking up to go to the loo frequently, try to limit your fluid intake at least an hour before bedtime.
6. Find a safe sleeping position
Sleeping on your front or back during pregnancy is not only uncomfortable, it’s unadvisable too, according to the American Pregnancy Association. This means you’ll need to find a way to get comfortable sleeping on your side. The weight of your baby and uterus is then not pushing directly on your major abdominal blood vessels, which would slow the blood supply to you and your baby. Lie on your preferred side, put one or two pillows between your legs and rest your upper leg on the pillows. You may also need a pillow under your bump for added support and comfort.
Tammy is a wife, mom and freelance writer with 15 years’ experience in the media industry. She specialises in general lifestyle topics related to health, wellness and parenting. Tammy has a passion for fitness and the great outdoors. If she’s not running around after her daughter, you’ll find her off the beaten track, running, hiking or riding her bike. Learn more about Tammy Jacks .