6 steps to beat pregnancy insomnia

Quit tossing and turning, and overcome pregnancy insomnia with these 6 easy steps. By Tammy Jacks

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Everyone’s telling you to get more sleep now before the baby arrives, but what if you can’t? We share these tips and tricks to beat pregnancy insomnia.

What causes pregnancy insomnia?

You might feel that you’re lying awake in the dark all alone, but according to the American Pregnancy Association, pregnancy insomnia is common, and affects up to 78% of women. This is because insomnia, which is characterised as having insufficient or poor quality sleep, waking up too early, or having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep can be caused by a number of factors during pregnancy.

These include:

    • Feelings of stress and anxiety
    • Pain, swelling or cramps in the legs
    • Back pain
    • Heartburn
    • Frequent trips to the loo
    • Feeling your baby kick and move constantly
    • Vivid dreams
    • Hormonal changes, which could affect body temperature.

So how can you overcome pregnancy insomnia and ensure you get a good night’s rest?

1. Practise prenatal yoga

Studies have proven that there are many benefits to practising yoga during pregnancy. Firstly, it relieves physical and mental stress, as it helps to clear the mind, relax the body and release any muscular tension. This in turn will help you feel more rested and alleviate pregnancy insomnia. Using gentle exercise together with deep breathing has also been shown to reduce high blood pressure and ease depression.

2. Use natural tissue salts or Bach flower remedies

During pregnancy, you can experience numerous changes, and this can cause restlessness at night, due to stress and anxiety, according to health practitioners at the Bach Centre in the US. Walnut is a suggested remedy to help pregnant women cope with change, while impatiens helps to relax and calm the body and mind. If you’re going to use Bach flower remedies during pregnancy, speak to a healthcare practitioner first. Tissue salts are also safe during pregnancy. Tissue salt no. 8 magnesium phosphate can help to alleviate cramps and ease pain and tension. Tissue salt no. 10 natrium phosphate can help with anxiety as well as insomnia, mental fuzziness and memory loss.

3. Soak in a warm bath

There’s nothing quite like a warm bath to unwind and let your tense, aching muscles relax at the end of the day. Want to add a few drops of calming lavender to your bath? Good idea, but speak to a homeopath about the correct dosage to use during pregnancy. Use a body brush while you’re lying in the bath to gently massage your legs in an upward motion, from your ankles to your belly. This will help to boost circulation and reduce water retention.

4. Meditate before bed

Take a few minutes at night to meditate. This simple practice will help you let go of the tensions of the day and reconnect with yourself and your unborn baby. Studies have shown that the combination of soothing music and visualisation techniques can help you cope with physical and emotional stresses, including labour itself. So it’s a good idea to start meditating throughout your pregnancy.

Click here to buy your copy of Meditations for Pregnancy by Dr Michelle Leclaire O’Neill.

5. Drink camomile tea

Also known as the calming herb, camomile tea is believed to act as a natural sedative, which will help you relax at night and sleep well. Plus, the act of sitting quietly while sipping on a warm drink is also a calming pre-bedtime ritual. But if you’re waking up to go to the loo frequently, try to limit your fluid intake at least an hour before bedtime.

6. Find a safe sleeping position

Sleeping on your front or back during pregnancy is not only uncomfortable, it’s unadvisable too, according to the American Pregnancy Association. This means you’ll need to find a way to get comfortable sleeping on your side. The weight of your baby and uterus is then not pushing directly on your major abdominal blood vessels, which would slow the blood supply to you and your baby. Lie on your preferred side, put one or two pillows between your legs and rest your upper leg on the pillows. You may also need a pillow under your bump for added support and comfort.

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