Doctor gives 8 foolproof tips to avoid insomnia in pregnancy

Pregnancy is a period of joy for many women, but it can bring specific difficulties in terms of food and sleep. Sleeping problems are very common, and even more frequent when pregnancy is nearing the end.

According to one University of California study, in the United States, changes in sleep habits during pregnancy may be related to hormonal, physiological, metabolic, psychological and postural changes. The work showed that women used to sleeping less than 6 hours a night are more likely to have a longer labor and are 4.5 times more likely to have a cesarean section.

Changes in sleep begin early in pregnancy and are related to rapid hormonal changes. “Pregnant women tend to have hypersomnolence, mainly due to the increase in progesterone, a hormone that can also cause a decrease in muscle tension and lead to sleep apnea, snoring and sleep interruptions”, explains the gynecologist and obstetrician. Carlos Moraes.

Total sleep time decreases further in the second and third trimesters. Night waking in this phase is usually caused by discomfort, back pain, increased urinary frequency, fetal movements, shortness of breath and leg cramps.


According to the expert, patients with insomnia have high pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are also seen in postpartum depression, preterm birth and other complications of pregnancy. Cytokines are proteins related to the body’s immune responses, and serve as a warning against inflammation. Although beneficial, when they are high, they can cause metabolism disorders.

“Doctors should treat sleep disorders immediately, as they increase the risk of complications, such as depression at the end of the third trimester or after the child is born,” says the gynecologist.


What to do to prevent insomnia in pregnancy

  • Use dim night lights in the bathroom, as the bright light can make it difficult to get back to sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine and chocolate, especially in the late afternoon or evening. They leave the organism in a state of alert;
  • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, but limit your intake after 5pm to decrease frequent urination.
  • Avoid fried, spicy and fatty foods at night. In addition to causing heartburn, they make digestion heavier, impairing sleep;
  • If clinically appropriate, exercise 30 minutes every day, preferably 4 to 6 hours before bed. Physical activity has a positive impact on sleep;
  • Once you’re in bed, avoid screen time at least an hour before bed. The light from the TV or cell phone can affect the body’s circadian rhythm, in addition to decreasing melatonin, a hormone that regulates the moment of sleep;
  • Sleep on your left side, with your legs bent and with pillows between your knees, below your abdomen and behind your back. This will reduce pressure on your lower back;
  • To reset your internal clock, go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.

Behavioral therapies can also help. Some of them are progressive muscle relaxation and cognitive therapy, which is recommended for those with anxiety. The use of medication by pregnant women is not advised to assist sleep. Alternative medicine options are soothing teas such as chamomile, valerian and lemon balm.

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