I was thinking of waiting until this pregnancy insomnia haze passes before writing another blog post, for fear of writing things not worth reading, but then I decided this is only beginning of sleeplessness – might as well write about that too. Plus, odds are, I will become fairly more entertaining as the hormones mount, then dismount.
I’m 30 weeks tomorrow, and I am realizing what this pregnancy insomnia is all about. (80% of pregnant women experience at some time in their pregnancy, most likely in the third trimester.) There is no better education than experience. Please allow me to vent to you, internets, because venting about sleep to Daddy MD, who worked all day from 6:30 am - 6:30 pm, then reattached a thumb at 9pm until 3am, and then reported back to duty at 6:30am (three hours later), just doesn’t seem reasonable. Yeah, not much room for pity for me in the sleeping department.
Anyway, tired as I may be, I lay in bed (as comfortable as possible with my awesome Snoogle pregnancy pillow) and I just cannot turn off my brain and fall asleep. How many times have I counseled patients about the same? Hundreds. I think it’s a cycle really. I can’t fall asleep, then I start thinking about how early our energetic Peanut will be up in the morning and how much I need to sleep ASAP, so then, you know, it’s just too much pressure to sleep. And, I hate wasting time. I think that’s what gets me the most. If I am just going to be lying in bed, I think I should be using that time more wisely, so I start making a mental list of what I should be doing instead. Note: making mental to-do lists is not compatible with falling asleep.
I do eventually fall asleep a couple hours past my intended bedtime, usually. On a good night, Peanut, aka Insomniac Jr., doesn’t wake up just after I fall asleep. And if it’s a really good night, Daddy MD’s pager doesn’t go off either.
Here is some general sleep advice that is kind of working:
- If you can’t fall asleep in fifteen minutes, get out of bed and do something mindless in a different room for a while, then try to sleep again.
- Leave the electronics in another room. We’ve seen studies on teens sleeping more poorly due to sleeping with their phones. It goes for adults too. I, too, have been guilty of just checking one more thing on the phone before sleep.
- Exercise during the day, but not within a couple hours of bedtime.
- Eat a lighter dinner.
- No caffeine after 2 pm. The half-life of caffeine is about 6 hours – that means that If you drink a cup of coffee at 2:00pm, then half of the caffeine you drank will still be in your system at 8:00pm.
- Practice some relaxation techniques. One effective technique is progressive muscle relaxation. Here is a link to how to do this.