The ol’ insomnia can rear its head all too frequently through pregnancy. It is to be expected when bub arrives, but leading up to that point it can be an annoying foe. Sleeplessness can be largely due to the discomfort of a growing belly placing extra pressure on the lower back, diaphragm, stomach, and bladder.
This can cause chronic pain, muscle aches, heartburn and increase the need to pee during the night. Restless legs can also be a common contributing factor that often arises in the second and third trimesters. In medical lingo, this is called “Pregnancy Associated Sleep Disorder”.
In this blog, I’m going to share some very simple tips to naturally and safely manage pregnancy insomnia. It’s amazing how a couple of habit changes, wise food choices and gentle herbal remedies can make you feel a whole lot more rested and energized.
#1 Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary
Remove all tech from the bedroom. Make sure you have plenty of pillows and cushions to prop yourself into the comfiest position possible. There are some companies that specialise in pregnancy pillows. Have good air flow, warm lighting and ensure your room is comfortable and clean. Your bed is for sleep, sex and inspirational reading only (a.k.a no work-related documents ladies!). A diffuser with a sleepy oil blend and an indoor plant or two can make a huge difference.
#2 Keep a snack next to your bed
Your baby goes through growth spurts particularly at night as this is the optimal time for generating new cells. As a result, this increases your nutritional requirements. Restless sleep can often be the body communicating that it simply needs more fuel for all the growing a small human its doing!
Keeping some snacks next to your bed is sa great strategy to give the body what it needs and allows you to drop back into slumber. A banana, some cheese or nut butter, and crackers, almonds or organic yogurt are all good choices.
#3 Avoid caffeine
Keep the tea, coffee and soft drink away mumma. Even chocolate later on in the day is not the greatest idea and is a very common cause of insomnia. Keep to herbal tea options and caffeine free snacks.
This is a luxuries remedy! Add some lavender or chamomile essential oil (5-7 drops) and soak for 30 minutes before sleep. Listen to some relaxing music. Read a novel. You can even add a herbal infusion to your bath using any of the suggested herbs below.
15 minutes of gentle stretching after your bath and before bed is particularly good if you are having trouble sleeping due to physical discomfort. There are plenty of YouTube videos out there with asana sequences specific for pregnancy and sleep.
#6 Sleepy-time herbals
There are many herbs that are very useful for aiding sleep that are gentle, safe and effective. Two of my favorites are chamomile and milky oats.
Chamomile’s sedative qualities settles the mind and body into a calmer gear. Oat straw deeply nourishes and restores function to the nervous system, providing minerals and vitamins needed for optimal functioning. It uplifts the spirits, and reduces anxiety – swathing the whole nervous system in a protective, soothing embrace.
If you are experiencing restless legs or back pain, you can add 2ml of cramp bark extract* to 1 cup of Chamomile or Milky Oats tea. Drink 30-60 minutes before bed or in the bathtub!
Sweet slumbers mummas!
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