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by Donna Harvel Balo ARNP, CNM, MS
Q. I have recently started to have really bad pregnancy insomnia. I am drag down tired all day (like get-coffee-tired or take-a-nap-tired) and fall into bed at 9 pm - but then wake up at 2 or 2:30 (sometimes 3:00) a.m. every night and lay there awake for 2 - 3 hours. Is there anything I can do to get this to stop? It STINKS to have awake time in the middle of the night when what I really need is more of it during the day. Is it a pregnancy hormone thing?
A. OOOOOOh, I am sorry about the insomnia. Sometimes it can be a vicious cycle, the worry that it is going to happen, then it happens and the worry that it is happening and you are not getting the sleep you need, how are you going to function without sleep, all the things you have to do the next day . . . etc! For many people sleep time is a time they work out lots of things in their lives, whether they know it or not. Don't allow yourself to think about anything to do with the pregnancy, or anything in your life that might be a stressor. By the way, for some having sex right before they go to bed is a relaxant, but sometimes it is a stimulant.
Some suggestions that might help: have a nighttime ritual which may include a nice warm bath or shower, aromatherapy (lavender), relaxing music, dim lights, comfy pjs, a good book, warm milk, etc. If you wake up get up to go to the bathroom, don't let your mind start to wander; just think relaxing thoughts (Carl Jones has a book about relaxation). If any negative thoughts (oh no, not again, I can't get to sleep) try to sneak in, push them out with relaxing thoughts. Then, if you are not able to sleep, get up. Do some laundry, dishes, something mundane, but don't check your email or the internet which could be a stimulant. After a little while, slip into bed again, repeating the relaxing thoughts, etc.
I hope this is a little helpful.
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