Body, Mind & Soul: How to Cope with Pregnancy Insomnia
When expecting, the running joke and basis for almost all unsolicited advice is; "Enjoy your sleep now before the baby comes. Because (🤣😂🤣) you will never sleep again once the baby arrives." And, yes, sleep becomes a distant memory when you have a newborn. However, let’s be honest, for many women pregnancy insomnia starts months before baby even arrives.
Largely not spoken about, until you are there, pregnancy insomnia is real!!
Needed bathroom breaks throughout the night.
The constant re-positioning to get comfortable.
Annoying leg cramps.
Your overactive metabolism that feels like you are in an oven.
Anxiety and worry about motherhood.
Pregnancy insomnia is no joke. It can hit the hardest during the third trimester; however, since it can also be hormonal, insomnia can arrive at any time during pregnancy.
For those that are suffering from pregnancy insomnia here are a few steps to put in place to support a better night’s sleep. To make adding these practices to your routine easier we have framed them within the context of Body, Mind & Soul, an approach to your holistic self-care.
Body | Mind | Soul
Move your body daily. Whether you have a set exercise routine or you simply go on a daily walk, the benefits of exercise are plentiful for your body, mind, and soul. Exercise can curb fatigue, enhance your mood, and keep you feeling great. Moving your body and investing in exercise, even if you don’t feel up to it, helps release endorphins. Whether you go hard and exercise for 45 minutes or do a 15 minute walk around the block adding movement to your daily routine can ensure a better night’s sleep.
Use a Pregnancy Pillow:
As your body grows, supporting optimal positioning is key to a good night’s sleep. Investing in a good pregnancy pillow can make all the difference in keeping you asleep for longer periods of time. It’s specifically important to support your knees and hips during pregnancy. Having a large pillow between your legs will help elevate the aches and pains that lead to waking up often in order to re-position throughout the night. Your body will thank you!
Minimize Screen Time:
While not always practical, minimizing screen time 2 hours before bed can help your mind understand that it is time for sleep. Melatonin is released when your body is ready for bed. Screen time, right before bed, can stimulate your mind and interrupt melatonin receptors. Turning off the phone and/or TV will help your mind prepare for sleep. Maybe add 30 - 45 minutes of causal reading instead.
Have a Night-Time Ritual:
Set yourself up for success and have a night-time ritual/routine to help your body, mind and soul unwind. Aim for the same time every night when starting your practice. This will help you be more consistent. The following practices will approach your sleep routine for body, mind and soul.
Here are good things to add to your sleep ritual:
Prepare for sleep:
Take a nice shower or bath inviting your body to release the stress and tension of the day. This alone time can help your mind process your day. Let your mind replay and unpack any thoughts, ideas or emotions that occurred so that you aren’t replaying them throughout the night.
Wrap yourself in comfy and cozy pajamas. As your belly grows certain clothing becomes less comfortable. Allow yourself the luxury of soothing nighttime wear. How your body feels is paramount. Comfy pajamas are key to a good night’s sleep and your body's comfort level.
Adding a warm cup of tea can be so soothing to your soul. Again, this is a practice that will help signal your body, mind and soul to unwind. A nighttime time tea can help cue your central nervous system that it is time to rest. We LOVE 8 Sleep Organics Bedtime Tea with a hint of honey. It contains organic Chamomile that naturally promotes deeper sleep. The tea can also help nausea, constipation and indigestion. The process of preparing tea for the night is also part of your sleep ritual, closing up the kitchen and the rest of the house for the night.
If needed keep a journal next to your bed to “Brain Dump” before you try to fall asleep. Sometimes you have to get it all out! Release your desires, to do list for tomorrow, your thoughts and worries, your daydreams … This will help with the constant thought train that sometimes is hard to stop. Getting all those thoughts out of your head will help you sustain sleep.
Leg or Hand Massage:
Massaging your body is a great way to appreciate all the hard work it is doing! Spend some time acknowledging everything your body is creating. Growing a baby is tremendous work and your body does it all on its own. Massage can support a more restful sleep especially if you have leg cramps or restless legs. We love 8 Sheep Organics Sleepy Lotion that is made for pregnancy insomnia. It smells divine and has the added bonus of magnesium that supports sleep. Sleepy Lotion can also help ease lower back and hip pains and aches. It comes in many scents even though my favorite is the lavender and eucalyptus. I still use it even though I am not pregnant! I still have restless legs!!
Now this is luxurious and envelops all your sleep senses!! An herbal pillow spray can help your body, mind and soul embrace sleep by signaling relaxation in your entire body. It is like wrapping your body in a warm snugly blanket. Again, we LOVE 8 Sheep Organics Unwind Pillow Mist. The sleepy properties in this herbal mixture promote sleep, rest and relaxation.
Adding 5-10 minutes of meditation can greatly improve your anxiety, mood, relaxation and body. Adding a simple relaxation practice can help you unwind, go inward and focus on calming your central nervous system and overactive mind. Add a sleep meditation to your night-time routine to invite a more restful night. Check out Amazon Music, Audible or the Calm app for resources.
If done habitually, these practices will help you invite more rest and sleep into your life to cope with pregnancy insomnia. Your body, mind and soul will thank you with (hopefully) a full night's rest. I am sending you sleepy wishes and hope this has been helpful.