The first trimester of pregnancy is a time of big changes. Your hormones are wonky, your moods are all over the map and no one told you constipation was a symptom of pregnancy. You’re only a few weeks in and your breasts hurt, you can’t stand the smell of your favorite food and you’ve never been so tired in your entire life.
SO WHY CAN’T YOU GET ANY SLEEP?
Insomnia is commonly thought of as a third trimester problem but many people also experience insomnia in early pregnancy. Your body is working overtime getting ready to support the tiny human being you are growing. You’ve never needed rest more than you do at this time and for some reason you just can’t get any sleep.
WHAT IS INSOMNIA?
Insomnia is when you struggle to fall asleep, have difficulty staying asleep or both. Stress is a common cause of insomnia but during pregnancy it could be related to your changing hormones, or physical changes and discomforts that you are experiencing.
WHY CAN’T I SLEEP?
First, it can be helpful to resolve the cause of your insomnia. If you’re lying awake trying to sort out how you’re going to fit an unplanned baby into your already settled life, how you’ll balance your career and family or worrying about other stressful subjects, you need to talk it out. Whether you have your therapist on speed dial or having a heart to heart over coffee with a good friend is more your style, you’re going to rest easier if you get your concerns off your chest.
Perhaps your physical discomfort is the issue. It’s not exactly easy to fall asleep and stay asleep when you have to pee every two hours and you can hardly move in bed because your breasts are so tender. Some of these ailments will only be resolved with time but it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor about any discomfort you are having that is effecting your sleep. Your doctor may recommend medication to give you relief. Common symptoms of pregnancy that cause sleep disruption are:
- back pain
- breast tenderness
- frequent urination
- leg cramps
TIPS FOR FINALLY GETTING SOME SLEEP
If you’ve been working through the stress that might be keeping you up, have sought relief for the physical ailments of pregnancy that can be treated and sleep still eludes, you we have 5 tips for getting to the rest you desperately need.
1. START WITH A BEDTIME ROUTINE.
This is also the first tip for eliminating bed time struggles with young children… so take note! Creating a relaxing routine for yourself to follow each evening can help you fall asleep easier. Snack, bath, read a book, off to sleep. Whatever works for you. Additionally, a consistent bed time can be key to getting to sleep. (Are you feeling like a 5 year old yet?)
2. NO NIGHTTIME DEVICES!
Avoid watching television, playing with your phone or working on your tablet for two hours prior to bed time. The light can interfere with the hormones your body makes to help you get to sleep and stay asleep. We recommend you plug your phone in and set the alarm as the first step of your bedtime routine, not looking at it again until morning unless absolutely necessary.
3. EXERCISE. EVERYDAY.
We know. We know. How can you possibly exercise when you’re so exhausted you can barely make it through the day? The evidence is there, not only does getting regular exercise help you sleep more soundly at night, you’ll also have more energy during the day. How’s that for counter intuitive?
4. HAVE A BEDTIME SNACK.
Munching on a small snack that’s high in protein can help your blood sugars to stay stable through the night, keeping you snoozing soundly. Try cottage cheese with a little fruit, a boiled egg, or dipping apple slices in peanut butter.
5. GET SOME OF THAT GOOD LOVIN’.
Of course, all the bloating, breast tenderness, and nausea has you feeling like a super sultry goddess but a bed time romp can help you get to sleep faster. Studies have shown that sex increases oxytocin production (the loooove hormone that also helps you give birth when the time is right) and decreases the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. This intoxicating hormonal combination leaves you relaxed and ready to drift off. Bonus: We like to think sex counts as our daily exercise, too!
We hope these suggestions can help you feel a little less fatigued.
What’s your favorite trick for falling asleep or getting a better night’s rest?
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