Treating Insomnia during Pregnancy

grayscale photo of sleeping woman lying on bed

What to do if you have sleep disturbances during your pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time when huge hormonal, physiological and emotional adjustments are happening. Mothers share that their sleep is often interrupted throughout pregnancy, which only adds to the fatigue they feel during the first and third trimesters. Having a lack of sleep during your pregnancy can make everything seem worse at the start of your day.

Are you noticing that your sleep is disrupted because of your vivid dreams? It is not uncommon for mothers to share that their dreams are extremely graphic or bizarre during pregnancy. While we don’t know the exact cause of this more vivid and disturbing dream state during pregnancy, we can assume that it may have its roots in hormonal changes.

Another reason you might not be able to sleep well is because you need to empty your bladder more often. Frequent urination is a common symptom of pregnancy and by the time you reach your due date, you might discover that you have to get up several times during the night simply because your bladder is uncomfortable and feels fuller.

Add to the sleep problems the fact that no matter what you do, you cannot get comfortable. Tossing and turning to try to find a comfortable position, it is nearly impossible to sleep well in those last few weeks of pregnancy when every part of you seems to be hurting! Back pain and hip discomfort can be common problems and make your nighttime sleep efforts less productive.

What are some ways to cope with insomnia and sleep disturbances during pregnancy?

  • Be sure to avoid caffeine late in the day
  • Use a body pillow for nighttime comfort
  • Try a cup of chamomile tea to relax you before bed (do not drink this in your first trimester)
  • If your vivid dreams wake you up, do some journaling before you try to do back to sleep
  • Try a cup of milk (an old wives’ tale yes but it can work!)
  • Eat foods that contain tryptophan, magnesium and/or melatonin (all known to induce sleep), examples include potatoes, turkey, almonds, oatmeal, cheese, fish, eggs, honey and bananas
  • Some mothers sleep better upright (as in using a recliner)
  • Try using a warm rice sock or hot water bottle (or an ice pack) for back or hip discomfort

Remember that getting used to your sleep being interrupted now may in fact help you after you have your baby. Don’t be tempted to induce your labor early because of your insomnia, since it is likely you will have even less sleep taking taking of your newborn 24 hours a day.

Are you suffering from pregnancy-related insomnia? What have you done to sleep better? Tell us about it.

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