Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How Do I Get to SLEEP?

It isn't easy to get comfortable, turn off the voices in your head and actually get to sleep when you are pregnant. You are exhausted, find yourself nodding off at your desk but when it's time to actually get into your bed, you can't fall asleep. In the first trimester along with all the discomforts of low back pain, nausea and deep pelvic cramps that set the panic button to miscarriage, your body is producing huge amounts of progesterone that "jacks-up" your metabolism. So you are naturally beat. Increasing blood volume necessary for maintaining the pregnancy along with a lower blood pressure makes you feel listless and without any energy. If you are working outside the home and/or have other responsibilities like other children or aging parents or just a husband who expects you to be "like you always are" you may feel overwhelmed to the point of exhaustion.

And then again, exhausted in the third trimester with all the travails of a normal late pregnancy and carrying around a big baby and perhaps thirty extra pounds, you are at your wit's end. You are up every two hours to urinate, your back hurts, the baby's feet are under your ribs and those kicks when you finally lie down are killers. Your legs cramp, you can't take a breath and heartburn is a constant. The baby keeps moving ( thank heavens ) and just as you settle down, junior as at it again. Not to mention the anxiety of all you have to do and how it's going to be.

Is there no relief for a pregnant woman who can't sleep? Set up a sleep routine for yourself. If you must take a nap ( and are lucky enough to have the time ) try to do it earlier in your day. Go to sleep at approximately the same time every night and wake up around the same time too. Have bedtime rituals of your choosing. A warm glass of milk, a relaxing bath, soothing music, less stimulation in the bed: don't read or watch TV where and when  you are going to sleep. SET the MOOD for sleep. Dark, quiet, cool.

For pain associated with all those aches and pains, it is safe to use Tylenol or even Tylenol PM. Use lots of pillows and sleep with several under your head so that you are elevating yourself to minimize heartburn and that feeling that you can't get a deep breath. Saline nasal sprays or even a pan of water near your bed can help with that feeling of dryness in the atmosphere. It's fine to sleep in a recliner or any way that you are most comfortable. If you wake up on your back, it's perfectly fine. You do not need to be on your left side all of the time. If necessary move the snorer, or move yourself. It's temporary.

Exercise during your daytime hours, not right before bed and continue to eat the healthiest diet. Stay away from acid- producing foods especially for dinner and get lots of fluids during the day, so you can cut down on fluids closer to bedtime so that you aren't up in the bathroom all night. Stretch before bed, Loosen up those leg muscles that tend to cramp up in the night. Take enough calcium and potassium and if you do cramp DON'T point your toes toward the opposite wall, point them towards your head: DORSIFLEX

Learn to relax. Deep breathing techniques,"in" with safety and security and out with  "stress". Count up with "in" breaths and down with exhalations. Start at the top of your head and do a body scan commanding yourself to let go of tension in all of your "parts" as you move down your anatomy. Do a visualization meditation that promotes comfort and safety. Do the same one every night.

Don't set yourself up for failure with thoughts of never being able to get to sleep. Make the last hours of your evening peaceful and serene. No scary movies or domestic spats. Get a good night's sleep. Sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite.