Insomnia during pregnancy is a very common problem. There are many reasons for insomnia in expectant mothers, from changes in the body and activity of the baby to a violation of the regimen. These are the most frequent. When it is uncomfortable to sleep, you often have to get up to go to the toilet, the child kicks, and during the day you manage to grab an hour and take a nap, sacrificing a walk — the reasons for sleep disturbance are obvious. But there are also anxiety, nervousness, not allowing sleep. What to do about insomnia during pregnancy?
Is it dangerous for expectant mothers to sleep badly at all?
Lack of sleep during pregnancy is even more dangerous than without pregnancy. In addition to fatigue and poor health, insomnia during pregnancy can cause depressive disorders, including depression after childbirth.
But that’s not all. Studies in 2018 and 2019 showed that there is a clear link between sleep disorders and the development of gestational diabetes in pregnant women.
So, if you sleep less than five hours or more than ten, then the risks increase. And if lack of sleep can serve as a provocateur of diabetes, involving the body in a series of endocrine disorders, then excessive sleep is considered a predictor of the disease: drowsiness indicates its onset.
But almost everyone does not sleep well. Especially pregnant women in the third trimester suffer from sleep disorders, and the reasons are both in physiology and in the emotional sphere. And most often affects sleep all together. What to do?
Basic ways to improve sleep
Here is a checklist: what can interfere with sleep?
- Uncomfortable posture: the stomach is big, the back hurts, the legs swell … Check how you sleep. The best option is on the right and left sides with a pillow between the knees. If you often toss and turn, it is appropriate to take two pillows or use a special long version for expectant mothers — it is convenient to place the tummy on it. If you put it under the arm that is on top, part of the load is removed from the spine.
- Not enough fresh air and high temperature in the bedroom are the enemies of healthy sleep. Especially for pregnant women: due to hormonal changes and an enlarged uterus, it is difficult to breathe, sweating is increased. Check how you breathe at night, open a window, change your blanket.
- How much do you sleep in total? This is an important question. It may be that a woman rests during the day, dozing off for 15–20 minutes a couple of times, or even arranges a daytime sleep. If this is your option, then most likely it is not about insomnia, but about a shifted mode. In this case, you should not wait for a long and sound night’s sleep, but if the rest suits you, fill it up during the day. Just try to get up no later than 4 pm.
- Try not to read disturbing news before bed and generally stay away from gadgets. Better a warm shower or foot bath, self-massage and other relaxation methods than various forums or studying possible complications. If anxiety continues to rise and keep you awake, see a specialist. This is a common pregnancy problem for which there are solutions.
In general, pregnant women are not allowed to use most sleeping pills. An exception is some herbal teas, which you should not get carried away with either (mint, which is often included in such teas, is especially dangerous). Look at those sets of herbs that can be used in young children, if necessary, you can resort to them one-time.
Sleep medications are prescribed only by a doctor. Do not take risks and go to the pharmacy.
Another popular question is whether melatonin can be used for insomnia during pregnancy? Although there are many studies on the benefits of melatonin during gestation, they were conducted on animals and were not associated with sleep. But the opinion of doctors is this: if it is possible to do without it, then it is better to do so. If there is a clear need, then you can use a dosage of 0.2 grams per hour before bedtime.