Insomnia during early pregnancy is very common. Insomnia is known as difficulty going to sleep or difficulty staying asleep. Even though you may have had the opportunity for enough sleep, it can leave you not feeling refreshed and very irritable the next morning. It can impact on your day, and you may find it very difficult to function throughout the day. Insomnia tends to be more common in woman, and as you get older, can occur more often. There are three main parts to a normal nights sleep. The first is the quiet sleep, which can also be called the deep sleep. The next is the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, where your brain is very active, your body is limp but your eyes are moving rapidly. This is the stage where dreams occur. The last stage is short periods of waking during sleep, which is normally 1-2 minutes.
(Fig 1.0, watching the time on your alarm clock, not a good idea)
It is very common in early pregnancy (the first 12 weeks) to feel extremely tired/exhausted. This is known as early pregnancy insomnia. The National Sleep Foundation found 78% of woman reported disturbed sleep during pregnancy than any other time. In the first trimester, early pregnancy insomnia can be due to hormonal changes, which can also leave you feeling emotionally low and nauseous. Feeling tired can’t harm you or your baby, but in the first 12 weeks, it can have a big strain on your life, especially in the early days where you haven’t told people about your pregnancy.You may be feeling anxious, fearful, worried or excited about the future, which can kick off early pregnancy insomnia, along with you feeling physically uncomfortable. Backache and tender breasts may make it very hard to sleep.
(Fig 2.0, 5 weeks into pregnanacy)
Many women also dream quite intensely, which can wake you up with a start. Your bladder may not help the situation, as you may require frequent visits to the bathroom. Luckily, needing frequent visits to the bathroom occurs more often in the first trimester, and resolves itself in the second trimester as the uterus grows.
As early pregnancy insomnia can’t harm you or your baby, it is important not to worry about the lack of sleep you are getting, however unpleasant it may be.
There are a few natural remedies that can be done for early pregnancy insomnia: – Avoid caffeine, especially late in the evening. Replace your usual coffee with non-caffeinated drinks such as milk or camomile tea.
Avoid very heavy meals in the evening; this can leave you feeling very uncomfortable. Your body needs time to digest food before you sleep. Keep your meals rich in vitamin B, as a lack of vitamin B can contribute to insomnia. This can be foods such as; grains, fish, yeast and green vegetables. Also avoid spicy foods.
Set regular times to wake up. Get your body into a good sleeping pattern by going to sleep at the same time every evening.
Have naps throughout the day if you can, which will help you top up on the sleep you lost throughout the night. If you’re at home with young children, sleep when they are sleeping. If you are working, go for walks on your break with a good, healthy lunch.
Try ways to avoid waking up. This includes; using thick curtains or blinds, earplugs and an eye mask so light and noise doesn’t wake you up.
Relax. Try taking a warm bath about an hour before sleeping. Also listening to calming music can help. Rest as much as you can throughout the day. Your antenatal classes may teach relaxation techniques. Aromatherapy is also a great idea. Use two to three drops of lavender, camomile or ylang ylang essential oil before you sleep. In your first trimester, lavender oil must be used with caution, so use no more than three drops at a time.
Try fitting in exercise in your routine. Even if it’s just a simple walk. Check out swimming or pregnancy classes. Plan exercise earlier on in the day (the morning is the best time), and not too close to your scheduled bedtime.
Sleep in positions you find most comfortable. Use as many pillows or cushions you need. Another tip to make your sleep more comfortable is to turn your mattress over, or replace it if you’ve had it for quite a few years.
Keep your bedroom well ventilated and not too warm.
Talk to your midwife or doctor about any pregnancy symptoms that may keep you awake.
Before you know it, your little one will enter our world.