Insomnia and pregnancy

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Pregnant women often struggle to sleep. The big bump makes it difficult to get comfortable and waking up constantly in the night to go to the toilet interrupts sleep patterns and makes it difficult to get enough rest.

What should you do if you are pregnant and can’t sleep?

1. Have a warm bath or shower before sleeping if it is winter. The warm water will relax and soothe your muscles and make you more comfortable. If it is summer and you get too warm to sleep, try a bath in luke-warm water to cool and refresh your body (don’t go for water that is too cold, it will simply shock your muscles). Dusting your body with talcum powder after the bath should also help keep your body cool in summer.

2. Try a milky drink before going to bed – hot chocolate, ovaltine or horlicks. Don’t drink any caffeine as caffeine is a stimulant that will keep you awake.

3. Get your partner to give you a massage before you sleep – this helps to relax muscles and soothe you enough so you get drowsy.

4. Make sure your bed linen is cool and fresh and remember to get your partner to turn the mattress frequently when making the bed. Often we find it hard to sleep simply because the mattress has succumbed to the pressure from your body plus gravity, and has sunk a little. Turning the mattress means that you sleep on the firm side, which should support your body better. Caution: don’t turn mattresses yourself, they are simply too heavy for pregnant women and you will injure your back. Instead get your partner to do it – he only needs to turn the mattress once a week. Fresh bed linen too helps us sleep better – there is nothing better than getting into bed with cool fresh sheets.

5. Get a maternity pillow (also known as total body pillows) to help you sleep. these are giant long pillows that curve round your entire body and thus support the baby bump and your back while you sleep.

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