Hi all. I am new to the mothering community. I am due at the end of October and am horribly uncomfortable at night. I have been trying the whole sleeping with a body pillow thing, but my hips still ache and I'm still sleeping fitfully even when I am reasonably comfortable. This is my second pregnancy, and I don't remember experiencing this at all with the first pregnancy. Just wondering if anyone else has insomnia, and what you do. I work full time and go back to school full time with a child to shuttle to school and after school activities, so naps aren't really an option.
I am not far enough along yet (19 weeks) really feel uncomfortable, but insomnia has been a big issue for me. That's nothing new for me, pregnant or not, but it is extra frustrating now as I really need the rest. For me the issue is not so much falling asleep as sleeping poorly and waking up a lot and just generally not feeling rested. I get a "decent" night's sleep maybe once or twice a week. By decent I mean 7+ hours, sleeping soundly, with only 1 or 2 wakeups in the night.
When not pregnant I take trazodone, which does help me sleep more soundly. Now I have taken benadryl, magnesium, melatonin, and now unisom (doxylamine succinate) at my midwife's suggestion. The Unisom seemed to work better at first but now I'm not noticing much difference. The only thign I haven't tried is upping my SSRI (I'm on a minimal dose) to calm my rampaging mind at night.
Even exercise doesn't seem to make a huge difference, though I am definitely not getting enough with a 2-year-old, an impending move, and a full-time job.
Sorry to whine! In the past, other things that have helped are listening to relaxation/meditation podcasts--I like Relaxation by Inner Health Studios and Meditation Oasis (there is a nice pregnancy one in there).
Here's what has helped me at different stages:
Temperature: I really can't sleep when I'm too hot. A window fan or AC, light clothing and light covers are a must. If I wake up and can't get back to sleep, sometimes I'll just try changing my sleep shirt or adjusting the AC a degree or two down. And as much as I love my pets and DW I can't have them sleep too close in the bed or their body temp will warm me up.
Hydration: every time I wake up to pee or just can't get back to sleep, I drink at least half a glass of water. Dehydration makes me restless and achy, and also can contribute to feeling too hot.
Hunger: always keep a protein-rich snack on my bedside table. Hunger is difficult to sleep through, so a granola bar with good stuff in it, like nuts or something, can take the edge off.
Position: pillows or no pillows? The answer changes frequently as I said before. Just have to experiment. Feet propped up? Pillow between knees? Full body pillow along side? My midwife also suggested the following positions which haven't yet worked for me but I may try as needed:
1. If you like sleeping on your back, try propping up one hip with a pillow underneath. This will tip the baby off your vena cava, which is the reason why side-sleeping is usually recommended, but not force you all the way over which puts a lot of weight on your hips.
2. Some women find it easier toward the end to sleep semi-upright, with lots of pillows to support the back.
Distraction: we are typically "fall asleep with the TV on" people. I know, I know, but it works for us. Sometimes all I have to do at 3am is put on a movie that I've seen hundreds of times and I'm back asleep in minutes. I also keep my iPhone on my nightstand. Catching up on a few games of Words with Friends or checking in here on MDC mobile can make my eyes heavy.
Stretching: gentle stretching before bed helps me with restless muscles.
Daily activity: the heat, the feet swelling, the belly getting so large, all of these have caused me to be less active in my days. Which is good, I need to take it easy, but I am noticing that my easier days turn into the more sleepless nights. So finding a balance of tiring myself out during the day without going overboard has been important.
This is probably the most important thing for me: I will add that being pregnant has screwed with all of my bodily sensations. Hunger, feeling over-heated, needing to go to the bathroom, none of these things feel the same as they used to. So a quick body scan when I wake up at night can really help. I might have I think for a good 30 seconds, "am I hungry?" Sounds odd, but it can really take a while to realize how simple my problem might be. And sometimes when I wake up I will just try some of the suggestions above even if I don't feel a strong need.
I also try really hard not to get frustrated when I wake up. If I'm up, I'm up. Thinking about all the reasons why I'd rather be sleeping is not going to help me sleep. Eventually I will either go back to sleep or just get out of bed. But the vast majority of the time I do fall back asleep.