When sleep just won’t come!
Dealing with pregnancy insomnia
Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep is common in pregnancy. While fatigue can grip all pregnant women, insomnia is most common during the third trimester. This is when you are constantly getting up to pee, struggling to manoeuvre into a comfortable position, or simply because you might be lying awake worrying about the things you have to do before your baby arrives. No matter what the cause, this can be helped with massage from a trained pregnancy masseur.
Massage helps increase our levels of the ‘feel good’ hormones: serotonin and dopamine. It also decreases levels of the ‘stress hormone’: cortisol. This leads to an overall improvement in mood. It will optimise a better night’s sleep and promote relaxation which will help you enjoy your pregnancy.
Pregnancy massage is different to regular massage as posture and anatomical changes in pregnancy are considered by the pregnancy masseuse. This means you will not be lying on front or back, but lying on your side propped up with pillows. Your masseuse will help with setting you up to be comfortable.
Pregnancy massage is gentler than regular or deep tissue massage as joints, tendons and ligaments are influenced by pregnancy hormones making them vulnerable. So, expect long, flowing and gentle movements. Some will benefit from a little more pressure than others – this is negotiated with each pregnant client at the start.
For pregnancy massage, it is recommended that your appointments mirror you midwife/doctor visits. This means once a month until 27 weeks, then twice a month until 36 weeks. After that it is recommended that you transition to weekly appointments until you give birth. This way you are in the best condition for childbirth and those feel good hormones are maximised. Don’t hesitate to inquire about pregnancy massage today by ringing 02 9211 3811 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Some other tips to improve sleep
Along with the changes to the body that occur during pregnancy, there are also changes in sleep patterns. These are quite normal. As the pregnancy progresses, women have less deep sleep and wake up more often during the night. Sleep is less refreshing, which is why expectant mothers should spend more time in bed asleep. Sometimes an afternoon nap of an hour or two will help.
If falling asleep is the problem, a warm bath, soothing foot massage, or gentle stretching exercises, even a glass of hot water may help you feel sleepy and ready for bed. Try to go to bed at the same time each night. The body has an internal clock and hormones that control sleepiness and wakefulness. This clock works best if there is a regular sleep routine. When working well, you will feel sleepy at bed time. Try not to ignore this by staying up, as this is a window of opportunity for sleep. Going to bed too early can disturb your sleep.
In the hour before going to bed, it is important to have a relaxing sleep routine. Although this will vary from person to person, some things that you may find relaxing include having a warm bath, reading quietly or a warm milk drink. Going to the toilet is important to avoid having to get up in the night. It is also recommended to turn off all screens (e.g., computers, mobile phones) 1-2 hours prior to bed, and if possible, do not have them in the bedroom.
Sleep is not something that you can force. If you are not asleep within 20 to 30 minutes of going to bed you could get up. Go to another darkened room and sit quietly. Do not have screen time (e.g., television, mobile phone or computer). Do not eat, drink or do household chores. When you feel tired and sleepy again go back to bed. This helps your mind link bed with sleep – not with being frustrated and not sleeping. Rest is good – it does not have to be sleep.
Don’t label yourself as an insomniac as this will increase your worry and frustration. Activities that are stimulating should be avoided in the hour before bed. This includes moderate exercise, computer games, television, movies, having important discussions, using social media and responding to emails and text messages. Being in a brightly lit environment or the blue light of the computer can reduce evening levels of the sleep-promoting hormone, melatonin. Don’t fall asleep on the couch during the evening as it reduces your sleep pressure and makes it harder to fall asleep when you go to bed.
If these tips are not working and you find your mind racing, try using a guided relaxation app to settle these thoughts. Our thoughts continue all the time, so try to make them calmer through the application of a guided relaxation or simply replacing these racing thoughts with a favourite holiday destination.
Relaxation apps such as:
may assist to reduce the stress around falling asleep when sleep won’t come and help to train the mind to calm those active thoughts.
I hope this is helpful. Sweet dreams…
By Kyla Mayer – Red Tent at Wholistic Medical Centre, Surry Hills
B.Hlth.Sc.TCM, Cert.TCM (Beijing), B.Nursing, Grad. Dip. Midwifery, Lactation Consultant, Adv. Dip. Rem. Mass.