Pregnancy: Is it normal to have sleep issues?

The hormonal and physical changes can lead to sleep disturbances. Here's what you can do to improve the quality of your sleep.

A pregnant woman goes through various hormonal and physical changes which can affect the quality of her sleep. As her pregnancy advances, these sleep disturbances keep changing. Some of the common sleep disturbances during pregnancy include:

  • Disturbed sleep due to the emotional and physical stress of pregnancy

  • Needing to visit the bathroom frequently due to increased progesterone levels

  • General discomfort, aches and pains, due to the growing fetus

  • Increased daytime sleepiness due to the lack of good sleep at night

  • Cramps in the legs from general fatigue and having to carry the extra weight

  • Acidity and heartburn which happen more often at night while lying down

  • Nasal congestion due to the increased volume of blood being circulated, including to the nasal membrane

  • Restless Leg syndrome (RLS) caused by a constant tingling feeling in your legs urging you to move them

  • Sleep apnea and snoring which is caused by the nasal congestion

  • Insomnia due to heightened anxiety

What you can do to improve your sleep

If you are suffering from a severe lack of sleep or other sleep problems, consult your doctor regarding the same. Some strategies that might help you sleep better are:

  • Exercise can help you improve the quality of your sleep, but avoid exercising close to bedtime.

  • Avoid caffeinated products as they interfere with your sleep

  • Sugar also increases your energy levels so avoid it at night

  • Try to relax a little before bedtime. This could include a warm bath, some light music, or anything that helps you wind down.

  • Drink a lot of fluid during the day and decrease the intake closer to bedtime

  • If you nap during the daytime, make sure it is early in the day and not too close to bedtime

  • A light snack before you sleep can ensure that you do not have hunger pangs in the middle of the night

  • Extra pillows can help ease the stress on your back and abdomen

It is important to keep your doctor informed about any issues you might be experiencing. Avoid any medication without your doctor’s advice.

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