Pregnancy and Anxiety: How to Manage Your Mental Mayhem
There's no need to suffer.
As pregnant women, we’ve all been there.
Even if you’re the deepest sleeper in the world, sometimes nature plays a cruel trick on us when we need the sleep the most.
8 out of 10 women will suffer from insomnia at some point during their pregnancy, and if you’re one of them, it’s one of the most frustrating parts of the whole experience.
I hope that this guide will help you conquer your insomnia and get some well-deserved sleep.
The most obvious causes of pregnancy insomnia are ones you’re probably well acquainted with by now if you’re looking for help for your insomnia.
Having to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom countless times is enough to interrupt your natural sleep cycle. And the further along your pregnancy gets, the harder it becomes to even get comfortable in the first place.
On top of that, it’s easy to get excited and anxious about all of the new scary and wonderful things you’ll be experiencing in the coming months and years.
Insomnia tip #1: Get comfortable.
First things first, get comfortable. If you’re not comfortable, getting good sleep is next to impossible.
A good pregnancy pillow can do wonders, believe me. They’re meant to support all of the places that need it the most, in whichever way makes you the most comfortable. Once you use one of these suckers, you’ll wish you tried one sooner.
Insomnia tip #2: Avoid caffeine and dark chocolate.
You should probably be avoiding caffeine in the first place, but if you aren’t, now is the time.
Coffee in the late afternoon or evening can wreck havoc on your ability to fall asleep. And you might be surprised to learn that dark chocolate has a significant amount of caffeine! The typical milk chocolate doesn’t have much, but the darker the chocolate, the more caffeine it has.
Insomnia tip #3: Ban electronic devices from the bedroom.
If you’re anything like me, you’re hustlin’ around on Pinterest and Facebook on your phone before bed.
That’s a BIG no-no when you’re having trouble sleeping!
Pregnant or not, electronic devices and bright screens stimulate the mind, and what you need most during the wind-down time before bed is to relax.
Not to mention that more than once, I’ve had my phone go off in the middle of the night due to a Twitter alert or even worse, ringing because of a wrong number. I’m not sure there’s anything as frustrating as that.
Insomnia tip #4: Don’t drink fluids before bed.
If you find yourself having to get up in the middle of the night to pee, keep your fluid intake to a minimum before bed.
Insomnia tip #5: Get some exercise in every day.
It’s always a good idea to exercise every day, especially if you’re having trouble sleeping. Studies have shown that exercise has a huge impact on people who suffer from chronic insomnia.
Even something as simple as going for a walk each day can make a huge difference. In fact, some experts believe that medium-intensity exercise is better for insomnia than hardcore aerobics or running. Lucky for us!
Insomnia tip #6: Practice relaxation techniques.
Techniques like stretching, yoga and deep breathing or meditation can really work wonders. Also, try having a nice, warm shower or bath right before bedtime. I know it makes me relax and helps me get more into sleep mode.
Insomnia tip #7: If you can’t sleep, forget about it for now.
If you’re laying in bed for half an hour and you don’t feel like you’re going to fall asleep any time soon, give up for now. Get up out of bed, and do something for 10 or 15 minutes. If you can handle a small task during this time (like washing a few dishes) then even better.
It might just do the trick in tiring you out enough to fall asleep.
Insomnia tip #8: Get a massage to help with cramps (and to relax).
If you’re suffering from cramps and aches or just want to relax, ask your partner for a massage.
Let’s face it: they can’t really say no, so you’re golden. Just get them to massage whichever areas need it the most, whether it’s your neck and back, or your sore sore leg muscles.
Insomnia tip #9: Eat a balanced diet and get all of your vitamins.
If you’re suffering from leg cramps in the night, it might just be because you’re lacking in essential vitamins like potassium and magnesium.
Consider taking a prenatal vitamin, but be sure to check with your doctor before taking anything.
It’s also important to make sure you eat a healthy, balanced diet to ensure you’re getting all of the things your body needs.
Insomnia tip #9: Make a to-do list (and keep on top of it).
If you find yourself lying awake at night anxiously thinking about all of the things you need to do, make a to-do list.
Being organized and having a list of tasks you need to complete can make things much easier. Start with the most important ones, and you’ll find that you feel much more in control and worry a lot less.
Insomnia tip #10: Try going to sleep at different times.
If insomnia is really plaguing you, try going to sleep at a different time, or even break it up with naps during the middle of the day.
Sometimes this makes a big difference, and it might just work for you.
Insomnia tip #11: Open up to your partner.
If stresses and worries are on your mind at night, opening up to your partner about them can really help. Being open and honest can help get your stress levels under control, leading to better sleep.
Try to do this during the day rather than when you’re in bed, which might make things worse.
Insomnia tip #12: Make sure the room is comfortable for sleeping.
Is the room dark enough? If not, consider putting heavier curtains up. Is the temperature comfortable? Opening a window if it’s too hot, or getting a space heater if it’s too cold can really help.
If noise is a concern, a white noise sound machine can help mask and drone out the sound, leading to much better sleep.
As much as you might be tempted, taking sleep aids when you’re pregnant just isn’t a safe idea. As of right now, the FDA has not found any sleep medications to be completely safe for pregnant women.
Personally, I’m a fan of the natural sleep aid supplement melatonin, which is a naturally-occurring hormone in the human body, involved in regulating the sleep-wake cycle.
However, like you might guess, there is no concrete proof or studies saying that melatonin is safe for pregnant women to take.
Before taking melatonin or any other kind of herbal sleep aid, please ask your doctor.
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