Insomnia in pregnancy can be tough. Unfortunately, with a growing bump, back aches, leg cramps, baby worries, and frequent visits to the bathroom, it is common to struggle with sleep during pregnancy. The following recommendations are designed to help you sleep more soundly and get the good night’s rest you have been craving.
Eat tryptophan containing foods before bed
Have you noticed yourself feeling particularly sleepy after christmas dinner? That is because the amino acid tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin – a hormone that plays an important role in helping you to sleep. Excellent sources of tryptophan are:
- Dairy products
- Soy beans
Drink camomile tea
Camomile tea is a traditional home remedy that has long aided with relaxation and sleep. Research has shown that it not only has anti-anxiety effects, but it can help stop the mind racing and prepare you for a good night’s sleep.
Lavender is known for both its soothing scent and helping induce relaxation. You could try using a lavender spray on your pillowcases just before bed, putting lavender oil on your wrist, or buying a potted lavender plant for your room.
Get enough magnesium
Magnesium is a calming mineral needed for deep sleep, the absorption of calcium, and hormone productive. Rich sources of magnesium include:
- Green vegetables
- Lima beans
- Most nuts
- Sesame and sunflower seeds
Using epsom salts in your bath and/or a magnesium oil, is another excellent way to get your daily dose of magnesium, as it is easily absorbed through the skin.
Develop a sleep time routine
Getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle is one of the most important strategies for achieving a good night’s sleep. If you maintain a regular sleep schedule – going to bed and getting up at the same time each day – you will feel more refreshed and energised than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times.
Have a small snack before bed
Many of us wake during the night because our blood sugar drops. Usually, a glass of water can help restore balance and get you back to sleep, but the fact that your deep-sleep has been disturbed will influence how you feel the next day.
To balance blood sugar through the night and keep early morning nausea at bay, have a small protein based snack before you go to bed, such as:
- A hardboiled egg
- Peanut butter on an oatcake
- Greek yoghurt
- Humus and carrots
Do not watch TV before bed
Not only do the blue lights from the TV screen, or in fact any mobile device, suppress melatonin production (which you need for sleep), but TV stimulates the mind, rather than relaxing it. Try listening to music or audio books, or reading a book instead.
Your bedroom is a sleep sanctuary
For the best sleep quality your bedroom should be quiet, cool and dark, and your bed must be comfortable. You may need to try ear plugs, blackout blinds or even a new mattress if you believe it could aid your sleep. Your bed should be reserved for sleep and sex only. When you bring in mobile devices and complete errands from bed, you begin to associate your bed with work and this will affect the quality of your sleep.
If you suffer from leg cramps, stretching your calf muscles before bed and in the morning can help decrease their frequency. This can also be achieved by increasing your calcium and potassium intake by eating a banana for example.