As I start to write this, my phone clock reads 01:28 and I’m lying in bed with absolutely no hope of falling asleep any time soon. Pregnancy insomnia is in full swing here!
Before I fell pregnant, I had always been a bit of an up and down sleeper. Never the best at falling asleep, and there have certainly been high stress periods in my life where insomnia has struck, but I hadn’t considered what pregnancy might do to my sleep patterns.
My first trimester was actually a godsend in terms of sleep, possibly because I was worn out from feeling so rubbish. I was asleep by 10pm every night and for once in my life, I was sleeping all the way through the night – in spite of ever more strange pregnancy dreams!
Ever since the middle of my second trimester though, my sleep patterns have totally changed and pregnancy Insomnia has well and truly set in. I’m lucky enough to work from home and for myself, which means I can fit my work schedule around my erratic sleep patterns (hence writing this at gone 1:30am!), But I can’t pretend that it isn’t taking its toll on me!
Now, you might think that pregnancy Insomnia is your body’s way of getting you ready for sleepless nights once the baby arrives, but it is still important that you’re getting plenty of rest!
That being said, there are a few things that I’m already putting in place and some that I’m about to start trying, to help deal with this pregnancy Insomnia and help me get more rest before this baby turns up in just a few short weeks time!
Tips and Tricks to Deal With Pregnancy Insomnia
1. Lavender Pillow Mist
This year one of my most useful Christmas presents was a bottle of lavender pillow mist (available from Neal’s Yard). This is a solution that contains natural lavender essential oils that are proven to aid in relaxation. Whilst you should always consult with your medical professional before using essential oils during pregnancy, lavender is on the NHS list of safe things to use.
From my own experience, I can tell you that the first night I used it, it felt like someone had knocked me out with drugs! It doesn’t necessarily keep me asleep (hip pain and constant toilet runs see to that) but it makes a huge difference when falling asleep and getting back to sleep after I wake up.
2. A Good Pregnancy Pillow
Being pregnant is physically exhausting and often quite painful. It’s a wonderful experience but let’s not pretend that it’s all sunshine and rainbows! If you’re anything like me, one of the biggest causes of your pregnancy Insomnia is physical discomfort at night.
Getting a good U shaped pregnancy pillow (there are lots to pick from on Amazon) has made a big difference for me. Some people prefer the long single side ones, but for me having support around my bump and my back has been essential to getting a better night’s sleep.
3. Hypnobirthing techniques
I’m about to start my online Hypnobirthing course from The Positive Birth Company, so hypnobirthing breathing techniques will undoubtedly become part of my bedtime routine very soon.
The course includes downloadable MP3s to listen to and I’m planning on using them to help deal with sleepless nights in the run-up to my birth, as well as for relaxation during the event itself!
4. Don’t eat before bed (and avoid sugar and fat!)
Heartburn has been a huge factor in keeping me up at night and making my pregnancy Insomnia worse (I just had to run to the loo to be sick from tonight’s heartburn attack!).
Although I’m not always brilliant at sticking to this advice, if you’re experiencing the same thing then avoiding fatty and sugary foods is a good idea. It’s also worth leaving plenty of time between eating and sleeping and finding a way to sleep propped up slightly to let gravity save your stomach.
I recently asked for advice from my Instagram followers to help with my heartburn and got some great advice including everything from peppermint cordial to refresher sweets…so if you are suffering there are ways to help.
5. Tire yourself out before bed
Again, this is something I need to make a point of doing more, but it makes sense that exercise will help you sleep better during pregnancy.
As long as your pregnancy is continuing healthily and you haven’t been advised against it by your midwife or doctor, then light exercise during pregnancy is very healthy for you and for your growing baby. Whether it’s a pre-bedtime stroll around the block, or a gentle pregnancy yoga session, exercising can be a big help with pregnancy Insomnia.
If you’re like me and find walking uncomfy (34 weeks pregnant with a very low baby equals lots of pelvic pain!) then ask your midwife about other ways of exercising that might be more enjoyable.
6. Let’s get physical!
Sex is also a great way to tire yourself out before bed, so if you’re feeling up for it, then a romantic session with your partner might be just what you need to nod off more quickly!
Orgasms release all the right endorphins and the sex itself will most likely physically tire you out…so go for it! By all accounts, it’s off the table for a while after birth anyway, so it’s time to make the most of your pre-baby vagina and baby-free nights!
On that note, I’m going to spray my pillow with lavender and do some breathing exercises in the hope that I can drift off before 3 am tonight. I really hope this has given you some inspiration to help deal with your own pregnancy Insomnia, and if you have any other suggestions then I’m all ears… so let me know in the comments!