Insomnia and pregnancy should not be in the same sentence together. A very tired body, craving sleep, combined with sleepless nights does not make for a very happy expectant mother. Our daughter experienced insomnia in the early stages of her pregnancy with all three of her children. You may be one of these "unlucky" mothers-to-be and find that although you are extremely tired, falling or staying asleep is alluding you.
There are many physical and psychological changes going on in the bodies of a pregnant mom. There is no doubt that a good night's sleep helps one to feel more energized physically and more positive mentally.Surging hormones can wreak havoc in a pregnant body - emotionally and physically.
Increased amounts of progesterone, estrogen and prolactin all play a role in sleep cycles and patterns and can disrupt REM sleep. One of the "side effects" of these hormone fluctuations can include the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Worries or anxiety about being a new mom, managing your finances, or your adjusting your career can lead to a restless mind. Disruptive and non-calming thoughts can prevent moms-to-be from quickly falling asleep.
Nausea is not limited to just morning sickness. Many new mothers-to-be experience it morning, noon and night. This feeling of sickness can make falling asleep more difficult, wake you up in the middle of the night or get you up too early in the morning. Eat something before going to bed and keep crackers by the bedside for a quick snack to help reduce that nauseated feeling.
Frequent urination begins in the first trimester. Getting up frequently to go to the bathroom is of course a sleep disrupter and can make it difficult for some women to fall back to sleep. Reduce the amount of fluid you drink starting in the early evening. Use a small night light and don't turn on bright bathroom lights which can affect our melatonin secretions.
Finding a comfortable sleep position can begin in early pregnancy. Hormones often cause breasts to be tender making it difficult to sleep on one's stomach. Most doctors recommend that a pregnant mom sleeps on her side and more specifically the left side. According to Jodi Mindell, PhD, the author ofSleep Deprived No More: From Pregnancy to Early Motherhood-Helping You and Your Baby Sleep Through the Night, "This position will become more important later on to improve the flow of blood and nutrients to your fetus and uterus and to help your kidneys get rid of waste and fluids."
Waking up at night to throw off the covers is a sleep disrupter. Try to avoid these disruptions, especially if you have trouble falling back to sleep. One way is to keep the room cooler by turning down the temperature of your central air or heat.
A lot of pregnant moms find that a fan helps to keep them cool and more comfortable while sleeping. Get a fan that is tall enough to blow on the bed and not just on the floor.
Depending on what is most calming to you, there are fans that are super quiet like this one pictured, and there are fans that have a louder hum that can also act as a white-noise machine. Oscillating fans can be adjusted so that the air flow is directed right on you.Rowenta VU5551 Turbo Silence 4-Speed Oscillating Pedestal Fan with Remote Control
Hormone imbalances are so prevalent in women, and not just because of pregnancy. Environmental exposure to pesticides, plastics, hormone fed beef, and personal care products can lead to over production or underproduction of hormones and contribute to thyroid disease, infertility, diabetes, weight gain, and endometriosis.
Very small amounts can be more harmful because it mimics our real hormone production and "tricks" the body into using these hormone disrupters to attach to our hormone receptor sites.
Did you know that only about 10% of the 10,000 chemicals found in your personal care products have safety data? The United States only bans 11 ingredients while the European Union bans 1400 chemicals. As a nurse I was surprised to find out the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate this industry so harmful chemicals, like lead, formaldehyde, parabens, an sulfates are being absorbed through the skin affecting you and your growing baby. Especially avoid these ingredients:
Buy "fragrance free" not unscented. Companies can legally hide many harmful ingredients under the term, "fragrance" so you really don't know what's in your shampoo, lotion or body wash.
Parabens are used as a preservative in products that contain water to prevent bacteria from growing. However, this chemical mimics estrogen and is a hormone disrupter. Avoid products that list methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben.
3. Sodium Laurel or Laureth Sulfate
This chemical is commonly found in shampoos and body washes - products you use almost every day.
According to Dr. Mercola, "Although SLS originates from coconuts, the chemical is anything but natural. The real problem with SLES/SLS is that the manufacturing process (ethoxylstion) results in SLES/SLS being contaminated with 1,4 dioxan, a carcinogen by-product."
Use a sulfate free body wash and shampoo. But just because it has a label of "sulfate free" or "organic" doesn't mean the product is safe.
According to the Environmental Working Group, (www.EWG.org), "The Organic Consumers Association released a report today that details the presence of 1,4-dioxane, a carcinogenic contaminant, in 47 of 100 so-called natural cleaning and personal care products, including popular brands as Jason, Kiss My Face, Alba, Seventh Generation and Nature's Gate Organics."
If you want to use products that you can trust are safe for you and your growing baby, you would benefit from choosing a company that is committed to using only safe products. Beauty Counter has banned 1500 ingredients from their list of chemicals. All of their products rate a 1-2 (10 being the worst) on the Skin Deep Database by the EWG. They are also high performing. I've made the switch to all of their products. If you want to eliminate the confusion and feel good about what you are putting on your skin check out Beauty Counter here:Safe Personal Care Products by Beauty Counter
Minimize your toxic exposure by eating organic, cleaning with non-toxic cleaners, and using safe personal care products.
Get a list of how to reduce your chemical exposure during pregnancy here:
It may not be getting up to go the bathroom that interrupts your sleep, but rather the bathroom light. Richard Hansler, Ph.D, author and researcher of blue light, writes, "If you turn on an ordinary light when you get up to go to the bathroom, the light will suppress your production of melatonin (the sleep hormone), and it may be hard to fall asleep again."
Two types of sleep aids that help stimulate melatonin production that Richard Hansler has developed are light bulbs that do not emit blue light and blue light blocking glasses.
What makes these sleep aids so great for pregnant moms is that you are not taking any prescription drug, over the counter sleep aid or sleep supplement.Melatonin suppressing blue light comes from not only your light bulbs but all of your electronic devices as well - televisions, cell phones, iPads, Kindle Fire, iPods, etc.
While there are blue light blocking shields you can apply on all of these devices, the easiest and least expensive option is to wear blue light blocking glasses like these - for less than $10.
Orange or amber colored lenses block blue light. I've been wearing mine in the evening for over a year. It is incredible how after a short time of putting them on, I feel sleepy. Although I may check my text messages on my phone or take a quick look at a website in the evening, I do try to stay away from the mental stimulation that comes from researching something on the web, placing an order or checking on the news.
Watching a TV show that's not too stimulating or disturbing while wearing my blue light blocking glasses is a good way to relax in the evening.Uvex SCT-Orange UV Anti-Fog Lens
Finding natural ways to help you overcome your insomnia while pregnant will certainly help you not only enjoy your pregnancy but will enhance your overall health as well.
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