Pregnancy Insomnia: 6 Causes (& Natural Remedies)

Pregnancy insomnia can be caused by hormonal changes, uncomfortable positioning from belly changes or increased urination at night.

Insomnia can happen at any point in pregnancy, but is most common during the first and third trimesters of pregnancy. This is because during the second trimester of pregnancy, hormonal levels become more balanced and the belly is not yet big enough to interfere with sleeping.

To combat insomnia and improve sleep quality, women can place a pillow between their legs to get more comfortable, avoid stimulating drinks after 6 pm, sleep in a quiet environment with little to no light, avoid very noisy and bright environments at night, and engage in relaxing activities, such as Yoga. stretching or meditation.

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What causes pregnancy insomnia?

The main causes of insomnia during pregnancy are:

1. Hormonal changes

Changes in hormone levels, particularly progesterone and estrogen, are normal as the pregnancy develops.

Increases in progesterone levels at the beginning of pregnancy can have a sedative effect on the nervous system, which can make woman feel more sleepy during this time. It is common for sleep to not be as restful and to be interrupted throughout the night, as this hormone can also act on the muscles in the urinary tract. Progesterone increases can also cause nausea, which can cause you to wake up several times during the night.

Increases in estrogen can also be associated with insomnia, because this hormone has a stimulating effect. High levels can make it more difficult to fall asleep, and also make the woman wake up more often during the night, without being able to fall asleep again.

2. Increased urinary urgency

An increased urge to pee is one of the main causes of insomnia during pregnancy and is due to the fact that the baby's development increases the pressure on the bladder. This means that just a small volume of urine is enough to increase the urge to go to the bathroom and can wake you up at night.

Furthermore, increased progesterone levels can also act on the muscles in the urinary tract, resulting in more trips to the bathroom at night.

3. Heartburn

Heartburn is also common pregnancy condition that is often related to increased progesterone levels.

This hormone acts by reducing intestinal flow and relaxing the esophageal sphincter, which can cause gastric acid to return to the esophagus and throat. This leads to the appearance of heartburn during pregnancy.

Also recommended: How to Get Rid of Heartburn During Pregnancy Fast (6 Methods)

4. Anxiety or stress

Anxiety and stress are common pregnancy conditions and can also contribute to pregnancy insomnia. It is often difficult to relax and rest in these situations, and sleep can be unrefreshing and lead to the woman waking up several times during the night.

5. Belly size

The size of the belly, especially at the end of pregnancy, can also cause insomnia, because it is more difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position that helps you relax.

6. Numb arms or legs

It is common for arms or legs to become sleep during pregnancy, which is often a consequence of the sleeping position. Malpositioning can compromise blood circulation in the area, causing limbs to become numb. This can be uncomfortable and interfere with a good night's sleep.

What to do to sleep better during pregnancy
Some tips to combat pregnancy insomnia and to sleep better include:

  • Go to bed at the same time every day to create a sleep routine that makes it easier for your body to relax
  • Sleep on your side, preferably, placing a pillow between your legs and resting your neck on another pillow, as insomnia during pregnancy is often caused by uncomfortable sleeping positions
  • Drink a soothing tea, such as lemon balm tea, chamomile tea or passion fruit juice 30 minutes before going to sleep to relax the body and help promote restful sleep
  • Avoid very bright and noisy environments, such as shopping malls and concerts at night
  • Use a small lavender pillow that can be heated in the microwave and  sleep with it close to your face. You can also place about 5 drops of lavender essential oil on the pillow, as lavender helps to trigger drowsiness.
  • Take a shower with warm water before going to sleep to promote relaxation
  • Perform yoga, stretching or meditation to relax your body, as anxiety, which is generally present during pregnancy, is one of the causes of insomnia during pregnancy.

Furthermore, it is important for women to maintain healthy eating habits and to exercise regularly as recommended by your OB. Pregnancy insomnia can be treated with medication, however, its use should only be used a prescribed by your OB.

Can pregnancy insomnia harm the baby?

Pregnancy insomnia does not interfere with the baby's development, however recent studies have shown that reduced sleep quality in pregnant women can increase the risk for premature birth. Low sleep quality is associated with increased levels of stress hormones, like cortisol.

Pregnant women who experience persistent insomnia should consult their OB, who may refer them to a psychologist and provide other lifestyle tips that can help promote optimal sleep and rest.