Posts Tagged ‘insomnia’

Pregnant in the heat – can I get some sleep?

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

sleepingAs your belly is getting bigger, and the temperatures get hotter, your hours of sleep may be getting smaller. Lack of sleep is a common complaint we hear from pregnant women. Trying to get comfortable, rearranging pillows and having to get up to use the bathroom are only a few of the culprits that can cause lack of sleep.

But getting a good night’s sleep is crucial– just as important as eating nutritious food and drinking enough water. Eating, staying hydrated and sleeping are the foundations to good health and a happy pregnancy.

Trouble sleeping doesn’t just happen late in pregnancy; sleeplessness can happen right from the beginning. And if you’re experiencing hot summer temperatures and don’t have air conditioning, you may be feeling the heat, literally. No only that, the same pregnancy hormone that causes fatigue during the day can disrupt your sleep cycle at night. And if you have added anxiety or stress, this will only increase the problem.

So what can you do? here are a few tips to help you sleep through the summer heat:

  • The basement or bottom level of houses are usually the coolest – try setting up a temporary bed when the temps rise.
  • Wet a washcloth in cool water and place it around your neck.
  • Sleep with light, breathable sleepwear and sheets.
  • If you don’t have air conditioning in your house, use one or more fans to help you stay cool.

Between heat, bathroom trips and rearranging pillows, try to catch up on sleep where you can. Here are more tips on how to get your sleep in before baby comes.

For more information on how to get a restful night’s sleep, and when to see a doctor regarding possible sleep problems, see this handy guide.

Have questions?  Email or text AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Snooze, catch some Zzzs, sleep

Monday, March 5th, 2012

sleepIf you’re pregnant, sleeping may be a bit of a sore subject. Since this is National Sleep Awareness Week, I thought I’d give you a few tips on how to catch up on some shuteye.  Pregnancy is an amazing time in a woman’s life where all sorts of changes pop up. Some are thrilling (that first kick), some are less that perfect (stretch marks anyone?), and some are really annoying (you’re exhausted but you can’t sleep.)

Whether your problem is falling asleep, waking up often, not being able to go back to sleep, it’s taking a toll on how rested you feel and the amount of energy you have during the day. And the hormones surging through your body are going to make you feel sluggish, too. And that lovely bulging baby belly makes it hard to find a comfortable position. So what can you do?

Suggestions:
• Take a warm shower or bath at bedtime (don’t slip!) Candles in the room are a nice touch.
• Reduce stress with yoga or relaxation exercises.
• Take naps whenever you can – seriously. 10 minutes can be a huge help.
• Don’t sleep flat on your back – it’s not good for you or the baby. Try to get used to sleeping on your side, particularly on your left side. This position can improve your circulation and help reduce swelling in your feet.
• Pillows are your friends. Check out all sizes from small to body-sized. Tuck one between your legs, use more to support your back and belly or lift your upper body to help with shortness of breath.
• Don’t have the TV on in your bedroom.  Try soothing sounds (music, waves, crickets chirping, white noise…) instead
• Don’t drink liquids for 2-3 hours before bed (but lots during the day!)
• Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day, but not before bed

Check with your doc before taking sleep aids of any kind.

You can get lots more sleeping info and tips through the National Sleep Foundation.

Insomnia

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

bed-rest1If you’re pregnant and having difficulty sleeping, know that you’re not alone. Why? All the surging hormones in your body are conspiring, along with your growing uterus, to keep you up.  And just when you’re about to doze off… it’s time to go to the bathroom, again. Then there are your buddies heartburn and leg cramps who often throw in their two cents during the night.

As tough as it is, it’s important to remember not to sleep flat on your back – it’s not good for you or the baby right now. Try to get used to sleeping on your side. Some providers will encourage sleeping on your left side because this position can improve your circulation and help reduce swelling. But if your left side doesn’t work for you, don’t panic, your right one might. Lying on your side takes the pressure off the vein that feeds blood from your feet and legs back up to your heart. It also reduces stress on your lower back, a big plus right now.

Pillows can be tremendously helpful.  They come in all shapes and sizes, from fluffy down that’s nearly flat to full-size body pillows.  I have one that’s shaped like a candy cane that’s pretty neat. Tuck one between your legs, use more to support your back and belly or lift your upper body.  Some mattress stores sell a variety of pillows that you can test drive in the store for comfort.  It may be worth investing a little of your time to find the one that’s right for you and will help you get your Zzzzzs.

We’ve got lots of suggestions for helping you cope (from naps to warm baths to exercise or meds) on our web site.

Sleep deprivation – amazing what it can do to you

Monday, April 13th, 2009

tired-yawnAside from making you feel like you’ve been dragged behind a submarine for a few days or that you have only three functional brain cells left in your body, prolonged sleep deprivation can really mess with your health.  But, according to the director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health, getting enough rest at night can work wonders by reducing your risk of diabetes, hypertension and obesity.  Sounds good to me.

A recent study showed that people who sleep less than seven hours a night are three times more likely to develop a respiratory illness after exposure to a cold virus than those who sleep eight hours or more.  Hmmmm, maybe we should turn off that late night TV.

Some people (about 40 million of us!) have a form of insomnia, or difficulty falling or staying asleep.  Some others, like my husband, have sleep apnea with symptoms that include snoring, gasping for air when waking up and excessive daytime sleepiness or morning headaches.  Sleep apnea is associated with a two-fold increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.  No thank you!  My husband went for a sleep study and now sleeps like a baby with the help of a funky little machine that we have nick-named “the snorkel.”  Great little gadget!

Did you know that a cooler body temp is associated with better sleep?  So it’s best to finish any aerobic exercises at least three hours before you hit the sack.  A dark room usually is a better sleeping environment because it helps your body with the secretion of melatonin, a chemical that helps you sleep – another reason to keep that TV off.  For more healthy sleep tips, click here.