Babies steal your sleep. That’s a fact. We may not like it much, but we expect it and are prepared when it happens.
What can come as more of a surprise, is that the little munchkins start their sleep-stealing habits long before they’re born.
So what causes pregnancy insomnia?
We’ve identified the top 6 reasons for loss of sleep in pregnancy:
1. Difficulty getting comfortable
2. Nighttime bathroom breaks
3. Vivid dreams
4. Congestion & snoring
5. Baby kicks
Read on to discover why you’re losing sleep through pregnancy & what you can do about it.
1. Difficulty Getting Comfortable
Many women struggle to find a comfy sleeping position while pregnant.
What with backache, pelvic pain, heartburn and difficulty supporting the bump it’s little wonder – especially if you’re not used to sleeping on your side.
Extra pillows – lots of them! Try a pillow between your knees to take some of the strain away from your hips. Another one under the bump will provide extra support.
Specialist pregnancy pillows are a great option if you’re struggling to settle down at night. You could try a full body pillow or something a little more discreet like the Ardega 4 in 1 Pregnancy Support Pillow which is ideal for tucking under the bump, and will also help with breastfeeding after baby is born.
Of course, the right maternity nightwear, specifically designed for pregnancy will also work wonders. If you’re struggling with sore breasts at night, we recommend trying a maternity sleep bra for a little added support.
Our Sleep Kit offers all you need when it comes to maternity nightwear – with a comfy bra, a soft nightie & a matching dressing gown.
2. Night-time Bathroom Breaks
A classic pregnancy symptom with a more involved explanation than you might think!
Hormonal changes in your body during pregnancy cause blood to flow more quickly to your kidneys, causing them to work faster than usual.
On top of this, you’ll have up 50% more blood pumping around your body than normal, which means more fluid for them to process. And of course let’s not forget the growing baby curled up comfortably, pressing on your bladder!
Cut down on drinks before bed. It sounds obvious, but it really is the best way to combat the situation. Try to drink plenty during the day, then stop right after dinner.
3. Vivid Dreams
Dreams reflect your mental state, so with all the life-altering changes & natural worries that come with expecting, it’s hardly surprising that vivid dreams during pregnancy are common.
Vivid dreams may, in fact, be as much a side effect of your interrupted sleep as the cause of it.
Dreams typically happen during the REM phase of sleep. If you’re waking up several times per night anyway, interrupting an REM cycle mid-dream becomes ever more likely.
4. Congestion & Snoring
If you suddenly find yourself snoring for the first time during pregnancy, hormonal changes are the culprit again.
Increased levels of oestrogen & progesterone can cause the blood vessels in your nose to dilate, resulting in congestion and all the embarrassing side effects.
If you aren’t already sleeping on your side, switching could make a big difference – snoring is worse when you lie on your back. You could also try elevating your head (this can also help with heartburn).
If these don’t work, there are always over the counter anti-snoring aids such as nasal strips.
5. Baby Kicks Through the Night
You may have noticed the pattern – you sit down to relax & your baby starts to kick.
Babies love to move around in the womb when mum is still, so it’s no surprise that lying down to sleep at night can often trigger a dance party in your belly…
There’s not a lot you can do if your little one happens to be a night owl… just try to relax and enjoy the fact that baby is alive and kicking… as it were.
6. Anxiety in Pregnancy
Anxiety is one of the most common causes of pregnancy insomnia.
Any number of things could be keeping your mind ticking over into the wee small hours: The birth, becoming a mother, work-related or financial issues, your changing relationship with your partner… take your pick!
There’s no fool-proof solution here, but optimising your nighttime routine can make a big difference.
First, banish all screens from the bedroom and try to wind down before bedtime – take a warm bubble bath, read a book – do whatever it is that helps you to relax.
If your mind is buzzing with worries or ideas, try keeping a notebook & pen by the bed to jot things down. Whether it’s a full diary entry, random thoughts or even a to-do list for the next day – purging it out onto paper may help to calm your restless mind.
If you are suffering with pregnancy insomnia we hope you’ve found these tips helpful. If you’d like further information check out the NHS’s online guide to tiredness in pregnancy.
And don’t forget, if you’re worried you can always speak to your GP or midwife.