Sleeplessness during Pregnancy

Creative Commons License photo credit: Fairy Heart ♥

Sleeplessness is a common problem during pregnancy. Until recently, however, there has been little research into what causes it to be difficult for expectant moms to sleep. Fortunately, that’s changing.

Dr. Robyn Stremler of the University of Toronto’s nursing faculty is studying the causes of sleeplessness during pregnancy. Her study, called Sleep TYME aims to address and offer potential solutions for sleeplessness during all stages of pregnancy.

A Variety of Causes for Sleeplessness

There are many changes going on in your body during pregnancy, many of which can contribute to sleeplessness. Some of the major identified causes include:

  • Frequent urination. When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. Even if you’re sleeping. The best thing you can do for yourself is to make sure you go to the bathroom before going to bed. It won’t ensure that you won’t need to get up during the night, but it might buy you a little time.
  • Discomfort. Let’s face it, carrying a growing baby in your tummy makes it hard to find a comfortable sleep position, especially if you’re normally a back or front sleeper. Try using extra pillows and sleeping on your side. Position pillows to ease the strain of your baby bump.
  • Restless Leg Syndrome. This is common later in pregnancy and can make sleeping difficult. It is believed to be caused by a deficiency in iron levels. Make sure you are taking your prenatal vitamins and talk with your doctor about increasing your iron intake.

When Sleeplessness Doesn’t Have an Obvious Cause

There are many times expectant moms simply can’t fall asleep. There isn’t an obvious reason and if there is, it’s been addressed. So what do you do?

One option is to just lie there until you fall asleep. Sleep experts suggest, however, that might not be your best option. Sometimes it’s better to go ahead and get up for a few minutes before giving sleep another go.

You can feel free to try most non-medicinal “sleep cures.” Warm milk is fine (good for you, in fact). Do some stretches, talk your partner into a massage, or try deep breathing exercises. Avoid sleep medication unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

What have you tried to help you get that all-important rest during pregnancy? Has it worked?

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