What to Do If You Are Pregnant and Can't Sleep

If you are pregnant and find it is hard to fall asleep, you are not alone. This is an issue that a lot of women experience during their pregnancy. Lack of sleep during pregnancy has been associated with preterm labor and an increased likelihood of depression. Here is what you need to know.

Why Can’t You Sleep During Pregnancy?

1. Sore Breast

You may develop swollen and sore breasts due to hormone changes during pregnancy. This is your body's way to prepare for breastfeeding; however, the discomfort can make it hard to fall asleep.

2. Frequent Bathroom Visiting

If you are pregnant and can't sleep, this may well be the culprit. The blood volume inside the body increases by as much as 50% during pregnancy; therefore, the amount of urine being filtered out increases. Besides, the increased pressure on the bladder can also increase the urge to urinate during the night, thus disturbing your sleep.

3. Nausea

Although many people call it "morning sickness", nausea can actually happen throughout the day. For those people who suffer from nausea during the night, their sleeping pattern will be disturbed.

4. Heartburn

An increase in the acidity and heartburn felt by pregnant women can be attributed to the increased amount of progesterone in the body. This hormone is responsible for relaxing the esophageal opening and thus allowing the contents of the stomach to flow back upwards.

This is particularly bad at night and thus affects sleep.

5. Snoring

Snoring can become an issue during pregnancy due to the increased weight and the swollen nasal passage. Snoring can be really disturbing and make you wake up a few times during the night.

6. Nap

If you are pregnant and can't sleep at night, the reason may be you sleeping too much in the daytime! A nap longer than 1 hour can really cause you to be awake during night.

What to Do If You Can’t Sleep During Pregnancy

1. Sleep on Your Side

The best position to sleep when you are pregnant is on the side; this way your breasts will feel less stress. You may also need to wear a special bra as your breasts start to grow. Some women may like the comfort of hugging a pillow while they sleep to help support their breasts. If your breasts are comfortable, you will get a better sleep.

2. Adjust Your Way of Drinking Water

If you are pregnant and can't sleep because of frequent urination throughout the night, then reduce the amount of water you drink before you go to bed, but you have to make sure that you drink adequate liquids during the day time.

3. Deal with Nausea

Nausea can be hard to deal with, but for most women, things will start to improve after the first trimester. It is advised to eat smaller meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar steady and to decrease the incidence of acidity. Having a small protein snack before bed can also help reduce nausea and lead to a better sleep.

4. Avoid Heartburn

Heartburn during pregnancy is mostly triggered by a heavy meal at night time. Try to have your dinner early and keep it light. Making sure that you are eating in a nutritious manner does not mean that you have to eat large quantities of food. Sleep with your head raised so that the contents of the stomach do not flow backward. You can also ask your doctor about heartburn medications if symptoms do not improve.

5. Treat Snoring

If snoring is the main reason why you are unable to sleep at night, then try to solve that problem through the use of nasal strips or even a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine.

6. Nap Properly

Nap for no more than 20 minutes at a time before 3 p.m.

Note: If none of these remedies seem to work, then you may want to talk to your physician and investigate the underlying cause for your insomnia.

Other Mothers’ Suggestions

"It is extremely stressful if you are pregnant and can't sleep. I try to divert my mind by listening to something boring on the radio and concentrating on my breathing. This is something I learned during antenatal yoga and I can vouch for its efficacy personally."

"One of the things that my grandmother told me was to have a glass of warm milk and a banana if I could not sleep. I am not sure what the science behind it is, but I followed her advice during pregnancy and it worked every time."

"I try to surround myself with pillows so that I am well supported from all sides. I also keep a duvet between myself and the mattress underneath. It helps me with sleeping although getting up to go to the bathroom can take a little more work!"

"My recipe for falling asleep involves a nice hot cup of chamomile tea and a few thin slices of apple. I always fall asleep within a few minutes afterward."

"I think the worst thing about trying to fall asleep is the pressure that you put on yourself to do so. If I get up in the middle of the night, I try to watch a movie or a TV show or do some work on my laptop until I feel tired and want to go to sleep."

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