Waking Up At 3 am Every Night During Pregnancy! (Dealing With Pregnancy Insomnia)

Pregnancy can be difficult where insomnia is a natural part of it, and waking up at 3 am each night is quite a typical experience. The first and third trimesters are the most difficult and leave you with a disturbed sleep schedule. During the first trimester, your elevated levels of hormones and mild discomfort in the body affect your sleep schedule. By the time of your third trimester, it’s a pain in different parts of the body, leg cramps, urge to urinate often, heartburn, and even vivid dreams, to name a few. To attain proper sleep, you can make many short-term changes to maintain sleep hygiene and long-term changes in your lifestyle. 

For those who love to sleep, pregnancy can be a difficult time, for it’s when you get familiar with the concept of “pregnancy insomnia.”

Pregnancy can be hard, be it the first, second, or third trimester.

Research shows that between 20% and 60% of pregnant people experience insomnia at some point during their pregnancy.

It can be defined as waking up in the middle of the night, finding it difficult to fall asleep, to begin with, or waking up at a very particular point of time each night, such as 3 am.

A pregnant person goes through various issues during each trimester, making it difficult to catch the required 8 hours of sleep every night.

Sometimes, the issues waking you up can be understandable, but sometimes you just get up at a certain time even if you’re sleeping comfortably.

There’re various reasons behind your insufficient sleep, which leave you yawning all day.

Let’s look at the reasons causing sleep issues and what you can do to get the proper rest you deserve.

Pregnancy insomnia

Before we jump into why you’re losing sleep during your pregnancy, there’s a need to understand what insomnia pregnancy means. 

We’re all aware that insomnia does not just mean staying awake the whole night, but it also means finding it challenging to fall asleep, stay asleep, or both.

Usually, during the pregnancy, the hardest trimesters to find it difficult to get sleep are the first and third trimesters, which means the second trimester is your safe spot and your comfort zone.

Conclusion: there’re all kinds of hormones involved, plus the last stage difficulties in pregnancy that take a toll on your body, making the first and third trimester to watch out for. 

Insomnia during first trimester

A pregnant woman in her first trimester is exhausted the following morning after poor sleep.

Although you don’t have a visibly pregnant belly yet, making it uncomfortable for you to sleep, the first trimester has its own challenges.

During the first three months of pregnancy, hormones play a key role in changing your life, affecting almost everything in your life. 

Many changes are taking place emotionally, and it’s due to changes in your hormone levels. This can affect your sleep cycle, too, in a big way.

There’s a rise in progesterone levels, which supports your pregnancy and makes you feel more tired and uncomfortably warm. 

Many people experience morning sickness, starting from the early weeks of pregnancy which makes it more troublesome.

Not everyone might experience this nausea in the morning; for some, it could also be at 3 am in the middle of the night. 

Some other changes taking place are:

  • Headache
  • Tender breasts
  • Frequent bathroom visits
  • Bloating and constipation

There’s a significant shift in your body clock.

During this time, pregnant people feel more fatigued during the day and have trouble sleeping at night. So, the quality of sleep is poor.

Insomnia during second trimester

Many people find the second trimester to be a little break from pregnancy.

Not everything feels like it’s back to normal, but there are lesser things to worry about and issues that take a toll on your body.

As the baby bump starts to show, which in itself is a milestone, there’s also some relief as some quality of sleep is achieved.

Your hormones are somewhat stabilized, giving you a break from a rollercoaster of emotions, morning sickness, and tender breasts. 

There’re lesser bathroom visits as your uterus adjusts and the baby isn’t big enough yet to cause some discomfort.

This time is close to nesting when pregnant people can just sleep and store up energy for the third trimester.

Of course, it’s not all rainbow and sunshine as a few new problems grip you such as:

  • Leg cramps
  • Swollen feet
  • Weight gain
  • Lower back pain
  • Vivid dreams 
  • Headaches 
  • Snoring 

So, if you are troubled getting some much-needed sleep during this time, it’s because of the issues mentioned above during your second trimester. 

Insomnia during third trimester

As lovely as entering into the third trimester is for the anticipating parents, the difficult it’s to manage these last few months of pregnancy. 

A baby’s growing size is one factor that makes it uncomfortable for you to sleep.

More issues are added to the list, like pain in various parts of the body or sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea.

Following things might be waking you up in the middle of the night:

As the body prepares for the delivery of your baby, there’s also added stress and anxiety about birthing your baby, and if everything’s ready for their arrival, you start feeling.

Due to the stress levels rising, attaining proper sleep becomes difficult.

9 ways to prevent insomnia during pregnancy

Insomnia, as we have seen, is a much broader term, and it doesn’t only mean that you’re awake the whole night but more of how irregular sleeping you’re getting due to various issues.

But thankfully, there’re some steps you can make a part of your routine to improve your sleep habits during this delicate time.

1. Caffeinated beverages

Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages and mostly avoid them entirely from the beginning of your pregnancy.

Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others because even though it’s fine to intake 200 mg each day, your restful sleep might still be getting affected.

So, if you see this pattern developing, stop your coffee intake at once. Even other beverages contain caffeine, so watch the ingredients before drinking anything. 

2. Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is one of the essential keys during pregnancy, and it also helps with your cramps.

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So, water is your new best friend, and it helps immensely with constipation and bloating.

Try drinking lukewarm water but if you’re experiencing heartburn, avoid warm water and just stick to cold water.

3. Exercising 

Try taking some form of physical activity and doing it every day to reduce the chances of muscle cramping and pain.

It will also elevate your mood and keep your body moving and healthy during pregnancy. A lot of people prefer doing yoga.

If you can’t exercise on some days, make sure you walk for about half an hour, which should do the trick too.

In fact, meditation and relaxation exercises are also beneficial for pregnancy. On the days you want peace, choose this method to calm your nerves. 

There’s even a cognitive behavioral therapy program for insomnia that improves sleep patterns during pregnancy, and you might want to look into that. 

4. Avoid electronics 

Take yourself away from electronic devices about 2 hours ago before bedtime.

Blue light is harmful and doesn’t let people achieve their best and most profound sleep cycle.

Since pregnancy is taxing, make sure you lose this habit of scrolling on your phone hours before bed. 

5. Sleeping position

Avoid sleeping on your back as it restricts the blood flow. The optimum sleeping position is on your left side to promote blood flow.

Buy a body pillow or include enough pillows to make your position as comfortable as possible. 

6. Warm bath

Sometimes, taking a warm bath helps your body relax, and it helps your muscles relax and prevents cramping.

So, when you feel stressed, take a warm bath but only briefly.

Taking long hot baths should be avoided during pregnancy. If you want some muscle relief, choose to place a hot water bag wherever necessary.

7. Read a book

Sleeping can be tricky for a person during pregnancy, so put your efforts and time into reading a book.

Whatever makes you happy, but anything too exciting might make you want to finish the whole book in one go, especially if you’re a reader.

So, choose something light but also not so tense or exciting that you might want to finish it in one go. 

8. Depend on your partner

It’s hard to do this all by yourself, and this is a crucial time for your partner to step up and help you out.

Especially if you have an older child already, a lot of help is needed to make sure your older child is taken care of while you handle the pregnancy issues. 

Talking with your partner and planning out in advance is a big step towards getting enough rest during your pregnancy.

A lot can become easier if roles get divided, with time management being a crucial key in making sure the household runs smoothly, so many burdens are taken off. 

9. Control the hunger pangs

A pregnant woman is in the kitchen eating pickles that she was craving

Sometimes, waking up at 3 am could be because of your late-night hunger pangs, which won’t let you sleep until you eat something tasty.

Pregnancy hunger pangs are real as the baby starts demanding and deciding what they want to eat and when they want it.

It could be in the middle of the night, and so you need to be prepared because, at this rate, you might gain a lot of weight which will be so much harder to lose after the baby is born. 

Snacking smartly, staying hydrated, choosing fruits and vegetables over junk food, and eating a small snack before bed can do the trick.

If you still cannot control yourself, it could be a medical condition, and it’s better to consult with your doctor, who will help you out and get that required sleep during the night. 

FAQs

Does pregnancy insomnia go away?

Insomnia you experience during your pregnancy could be due to several uncomfortable issues.

This is when your hormones are all over the place, and you’re physically uncomfortable with the baby growing in size, making for an uncomfortable sleeping position. 

But this doesn’t last forever and goes away when you deliver the baby. Your hormones start going back to normal, and you’re able to get tired and go back to sleeping 7 to 8 hours during the night.

Only now the newborn needs care and attention, so you’ll have to wake up every few hours to tend to their needs.

How can I fall asleep fast while pregnant?

There’re plenty of ways to help you fast asleep faster. While some are just short-term solutions, others are more long-term which takes a change of lifestyle and adopting a healthy one. 

You can read a book but not so interesting that you stay up more to keep reading it. You can try some breathing exercises to get rid of your stress and calm down your nerves.

Maybe you can drink something warm to take a brief warm shower to relax. These are a couple of short-term solutions.

Is melatonin safe in pregnancy?

Melatonin intake is considered safe for short-term usage, but there might be some long-term side effects that haven’t been thoroughly studied yet.

Going overboard with melatonin intake could harm the baby, such as tempering their weight and mortality. There’s a potential side effect of drowsiness.

Can I sleep on my stomach while 8 weeks pregnant?

Sleeping on the stomach could be okay if your belly isn’t grown yet.

As your belly starts showing, you’ll have to turn to your sides and depend on it for the rest of the pregnancy.

Until then, it’s okay to sleep on your stomach unless your doctor says so.

It’s better to consult with your doctor because, in some cases, doctors strictly tell you to only sleep on your side position. 

When should I start using a pregnancy pillow?

There’s no strict rule as to when you can start using a pregnancy pillow, and you can buy it as early as you know you’re pregnant.

The pillow’s purpose is to let you find comfort in the sleeping position and sleep soundly.

It becomes harder to find a comfortable sleeping position as the baby grows, and the pillow helps.

Some parents even keep the pillow and use it after the birth of their baby.

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To summarize

Sleep deprivation is a real thing during pregnancy, and it could be due to various reasons making it difficult to fall asleep in the first place, wake up in the middle of the night, or get proper deep sleep.

All three trimesters have their own hurdles for the parents to handle, and it’s from the first trimester only that you could experience an incomplete sleep. But various ways can help you better your sleep and get some much-required rest. 

The important thing is to plan ahead with your partner and maybe keep track of your habits and sleep schedule. Consistency is the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle with good practices. 

So, say bye-bye to waking up at 3 am because even if you can’t follow it every day, try your best to do it on as many days as possible, and you’ll see a definitive change in how better you’re sleeping then. In the comment section below, let me know how you deal with your sleepless pregnancy nights. 

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