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5 Ways to Cope with Pregnancy Insomnia

Pregnant and Can't Sleep

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Updated May 16, 2014

Pregnant woman sleeping on bed.
B2M Productions/Photodisc/Getty Images

Insomnia is just a fancy way of saying that you are having trouble sleeping. In pregnancy, that can be that you have trouble falling asleep when you try to go to bed or that if you wake up in the middle of the night you have trouble going back to sleep. Some unfortunate pregnant women suffer from both.

Since medications are not a good idea for combating insomnia in pregnancy, you need to develop a list of tools that help you without medication. Here are some tips on getting to sleep, falling asleep or just dealing with sleeplessness in general.

  1. Go to bed drowsy.
    Sometimes the issue is that you are going to bed wound up and not able to sleep because you are not physically or mentally ready to sleep. By entering your bed, only when truly ready to sleep, you increase the likelihood of actually succeeding. To help with this avoid caffeine after early afternoon, don't exercise vigorously past late afternoon, and don't have heavy discussion before bed or in bed. Doing relaxation alone or with your partner can be helpful.

  2. Try a sleep inducing snack.
    Comfort food isn't always bad. There are some snacks that might actually be helpful in promoting sleep. The warm milk or turkey can do the trick. The key when pregnant is to not overdo it and wind up giving yourself heartburn which keeps you awake.

  3. Warm water.
    A bath or shower can not only relax you and soothe soreness that accompanies pregnancy, but it can also help you prepare for sleep. This works before bedtime as well as in the middle of the night. For a double dose, trying reading in the tub to help clear your mind.

  4. Reading or other mindless work.
    Reading, doing small craft projects or even a tiny bit of mindless television can help you shut down your brain. In pregnancy you may feel like your mind is racing with all you need to do and think about. By giving yourself a chance to shut it off you can help prepare yourself for sleep. Avoid reading tense novels, mysteries or scary books if that upsets you in anyway. I also do not recommend pregnancy books for this time period, though baby name books seem to do well.

  5. Get up.
    When all else fails, don't lay in bed. Get up, do something, even if it's just changing locations. Set a time limit of 30 or 60 minutes that you'll stay in bed trying to fall asleep or back to sleep. Fighting it can only be more frustrating. And sometimes you can be very productive in the middle of the night alone. Some say that this helps you prepare for the sleepless nights in parenting ahead.
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Sleep Well During Pregnancy
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