Title: Pregnancy Insomnia: Causes and Ways to Cope | The Juna Blog
Pregnancy Insomnia: Causes and Ways to Cope
“Sleep while you can,” they said. “You’re gonna need it,” they said.
Then as you snuggle up with your bump for a full night’s sleep, your hip starts to ache. So you turn over, and after about a minute, that hip feels like fire. You can’t flip onto your back or stomach, so you spend the night rotating like a rotisserie chicken instead of catching those precious zzzs.
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Pregnancy insomnia is very common, and affects most women in the first and third trimesters. Given the physical and emotional pressures of pregnancy, a lot can come between you and a decent night’s sleep. But there’s also a lot you can do about it.
Here are some of the most common causes of pregnancy insomnia and how to cope with them.
Stress and Anxiety
While general stress and anxiety can lead to insomnia, becoming a new parent or adding another child to your family can amplify these issues.
Ways to Combat Stress and Anxiety During Pregnancy
- Exercise: Getting 30 minutes of pregnancy-safe exercise at least three times a week has shown to dramatically improve anxiety levels. Juna’s trimester-specific workouts are a great way to sweat out the stress.
- Eat right: Some foods like sugar, processed carbs and artificial sweeteners can actually create stress and anxiety —especially the ones you reach for while you’re stressed (I’m talking about you, Double Stuff Oreos). Eating a balanced, nutrient-dense diet will help alleviate anxiety. Fun fact: Juna can help with that, too.
- Clear your mind: Do something every day to put your phone down and give your brain a rest, like taking a walk, cooking a leisurely meal, relaxing in a warm (not hot) bath or swinging in a hammock.
In some cases, chronic sleep disturbance can be a sign of depression. If you’re experiencing a number of sleepless nights in a row, contact your provider for a screening. Source: MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health
Nausea, Gas Pain, and Heartburn (thanks, hormones!)
Ah, the classics: nausea, gas and heartburn. These symptoms are all thanks to fluctuating hormones, which can make it hard to sleep in the first and third trimesters.
Here’s what you can do:
To quell nausea:
- Snack often to keep your blood sugar stable (even if saltines and cheese are all you can keep down).
- Stay hydrated.
- Try ginger chews and teas.
- Consider pregnancy smoothies like Bumpin’ Blends.
To get rid of gas:
- Exercise. Physical activity can help speed up your digestive system that’s been slowed by an uptick in progesterone.
- Eat more fibrous foods like flax, prunes and oats to help speed up digestion. While they may cause more gas in the short term, they may work wonders in the long term.
- Cut out trigger foods like beans, broccoli and brussels sprouts that can exacerbate gas; try removing them from your diet slowly and monitoring the difference in your body.
To help heartburn:
- Cut out triggers like spicy and deep-fried foods, processed meats, mint and citrus.
- Eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of three large meals.
- Try almonds, papaya and milk, which have been shown to relieve heartburn in some women.
- Talk to your doctor about safe OTC medications you can take.
The preggos-always-peeing stereotype is based in truth. So much truth. During the first trimester, the rise of progesterone and human chorionic gonadotropin put pressure on the bladder, leading to middle-of-the-night bathroom runs.
While those hormones tend to chill out after the first trimester, by the third, baby has gotten big enough to do handstands on your bladder, making those sprints to the loo feel even more urgent.
Not to mention, you’re hydrating for two, and you’re supposed to drink eight to ten full glasses of water each day. Super helpful!
What to do about constant peeing during pregnancy
- Limit the amount of water you drink right before bed, as long as you get your ounces in for the day.
- Get a good pee in before you turn in for the night.
- Try not to let it stress you out. It’s a normal part of the process.
The root cause of leg cramps during pregnancy remains a mystery. Between the swelling, weight-gain and fluctuating hormones, it’s no wonder our legs might protest.
Ways to Minimize Leg Cramps During Pregnancy
- Hydrate: Dehydration is the main cause of leg cramps in general, so be sure to get those eight to ten full glasses in (sorry, bladder).
- Stretch before bed: Giving your calves a good stretch can help stop cramps before they start. Juna has a selection of stretching exercises that can help.
- Magnesium, calcium and potassium: Eat a nutrient-rich diet with these vitamins that promote circulation.
Vivid Pregnancy Dreams
Vivid dreams are another mysterious side effect of pregnancy, which may be blamed (partially) on the same hormones that make you cry over the tininess of a mini muffin. These heightened emotions can sometimes lead to anxiety dreams or nightmares that may affect your quality of sleep.
While we can’t completely control our dreams, minimizing stress and getting enough physical activity may help prevent anxiety dreams and nightmares.
Ways to Manage Pregnancy Dreams
- Talk about your dreams. Recapping your dreams to your partner or someone you feel close with can help you work through those thoughts, feelings and fears while you’re awake.
- Create a relaxing, screen-free bedtime ritual like reading a book, journaling, taking a warm bath or doing a pregnancy-safe mask.
- Exercise! Do we sound like a broken record yet? Regular pregnancy-safe workouts helps almost everything during pregnancy.
Sleep in pregnancy can be a struggle, hopefully you’ll