Pregnancy and Sleep
Insomnia While Pregnant
Having difficulty sleeping during pregnancy?
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7 things to do to help sleep during pregnancy:
(applies to any trimester)
- Wake up at the time that you should wake up and open the curtains or turn on the lights to get some morning light. Having exposure to some light upon awakening is helpful to train your brain.
- Stay active during the day, taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Take a short walk during lunch hour. Try to walk 10,000 steps a day. And if you do some light abdominal exercises, yoga, or pilates, you can regain your figure faster after pregnancy.
- Eat small meals many times throughout the day. This prevents heartburn, reduces cravings, and keeps blood sugar levels more constant.
- Tylenol (acetaminophen) is one of the safest medications known for pregnant women. If you have pain interfering with sleep, taking some every now and then is fine. If it's back pain or leg pains, it may be due to insufficient support for all of the new weight. You may consider maternity pillows (e.g., BellyRest)
- Fatigue is normal during pregnancy. Taking naps is fine, but limit naps to 20-30 minutes so they do not interfere with sleeping at night.
- For an occasional severe night of insomnia during pregnancy, plain Benedryl (diphenhydramine) is safe. It can cause some hangover effects the next morning, however, so try a low dose first.
- Restless legs is common in pregnancy and often has to do with the way that your body uses iron now that there is someone else using your iron. Make sure that you are taking a multivitamin with iron if it really bothers you. And let your obstetrician know that you have restless legs so they can review your blood counts.
- For more frequent insomnia while pregnant, I recommend a more natural solution like SleepPhones.
Written by Wei-Shin Lai, MD. This should not substitute for medical advice from your doctor. Please call your doctor if you have questions while pregnant.