Insomnia During Pregnancy:
Keys to sleep
During pregnancy women want to be even more careful what they take, so certain drugs are out. I want to dig a bit deeper into why you may not be sleeping and what you can do to help, even during pregnancy.
What is stopping sleep?
Ideally we should hit the pillow and be out in 5-15 minutes. Longer is classified as moderate to severe sleep onset insomnia. Reasons for sleep onset insomnia include pain or discomfort, anxiety, stimulants (caffeine, alcohol), hormone dysregulation, and blood sugar issues.
Physical pain or discomfort is a major cause of insomnia. Here are some natural things to try before taking pharmaceuticals:
- Inositol is a B vitamin and can be bought in powdered form for better absorption. It supports brain and liver health, is involved in mood regulation and nerve signal. It is involved in mood regulation and nerve signaling and it mobilizes calcium. It is knows to have a pain relieving effect in the body.
- Chlorophyll capsules can relieve pain in the body. One study said they work as well as Tylenol for body aches. Take one to two capsules.
These two are both safe in pregnancy and safe for children.
Anxiety is another major cause of insomnia. Pregnancy can increase anxiety.
- I am a huge fan of counseling or seeing a life coach. We were not created to do life alone. We need each other and sometimes we need experts. Anxiety might be in a specific area. Money, for instance, may be a huge stress that causes anxiety. No matter what area, there are people that want to help.
- A nightly routine is a powerful way to relax. This can include a warm bath. Warmth stimulates natural melatonin.
- Try aromatherapy, especially lavender and chamomile. A diffuser is a great way to use it.
- Practice breathing exercises that help you relax. My favorite is to breathe in through the nose for five seconds, hold for ten seconds and breath out through the mouth for five seconds. Repeat three or four times. Why not take a moment to try it now?
Stimulants are a huge cause of insomnia. Your coffee may perk (pun intended) you up during the day, but may rob you of sleep at night. Even decaffeinated coffee has some caffeine in it. Stimulants cause the adrenals to ramp up and then crash. Then late at night your adrenal glands regain some strength and can go into overdrive keeping you awake for hours.
- Try removing alcohol, sugar, caffeine, and chocolate from your diet.
- Try to record what you eat in a health notebook and then how you sleep and you will be convinced of this.
Blood sugar irregularities are a major reason for insomnia. When our blood sugar drops it signals our cortisol level to rise, which wakes us up.
- Avoid eating foods high in sugar and simple carbohydrates with in two hours of going to bed. This would include bread, cereal, and grains.
- Instead, eat food high in protein and good fats. Eating a protein right before bed can keep your blood sugar stable longer.
- If you wake up in the middle of the night try drinking some juice and eating some nuts or a bit of apple with nut butter. This will raise your blood sugar and help it stay up.
- Blood sugar issues may be more serious. You may need to support your blood sugar with a supplement that helps to regulate blood sugar levels. I recommend GTF Chromium to support blood sugars and it is safe in pregnancy.
As you can see, not sleeping is an intricate issue, but you can figure out the root and address it in a natural way. I hope these ideas help you to sleep better, and I encourage you to dig deeper into your sleep issues. A good night’s sleep is worth it, especially when pregnant.
You can get any of the supplements I mentioned from my sleep page right here:
If you want to take a more in-depth look at your sleep from a natural perspective please make an appointment with me.
Angela Haywood, ND Fertility Specialist. Notes from talk on sleep.
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