How to beat pregnancy insomnia

Khloe Kardashian is pregnant with her first child – and suffering from pregnancy insomnia [Photo: Instagram/Khloe Kardashian]
Khloe Kardashian is pregnant with her first child – and suffering from pregnancy insomnia [Photo: Instagram/Khloe Kardashian]

Khloe Kardashian has opened up about the pregnancy insomnia she has been suffering from on social media.

The 33-year-old reality star, who is expecting her first baby with her partner Tristan Thompson, took to Twitter to explain that she has been suffering from sleepless nights since becoming pregnant.

Sharing a screenshot about pregnancy-related insomnia, the mum-to-be wrote: “The things no one tells you hehe. At least I’ll be good at the no sleep thing.”

Before adding: “I am so excited to meet our little love bug.”

While there are many well-known side effects of pregnancy – morning sickness, swollen feet, er, piles – pregnancy insomnia is a less-discussed, but still common pregnancy condition.

“Sleep problems during and after pregnancy is a common occurrence,” sleep expert for high-tech mattress maker, Simba.

“The National Sleep Foundation recently reported that 80% of women report neonatal sleep disturbances.”

So why does pregnancy have such an impact on our sleep habits?

“During pregnancy, our body is working doubly hard to create new life so its no wonder our sleep demands alter as a result,” Hope explains.

“However, there feels like a tug-of-war is happening inside our body; while our sleep requirements increase, specific processes interfere with this essential demand. Several functional changes such as hormonal changes, increases in core body temperature, and significant physical discomfort all interfere with a restful night’s sleep.”

80% of pregnant women suffer from insomnia [Photo: Getty]
80% of pregnant women suffer from insomnia [Photo: Getty]

What’s more not sleeping can have a knock-on effect on overall health.

“Chronic insomnia has been found to cause mood disorders and significantly impinge upon regeneration,” Hope continues.

So how do pregnant women overcome their insomnia to get a good night’s sleep?

Keep it Cool

“Sleep experts agree that sleeping with a room temperature of 16 degrees centigrade or less significantly regulates temperature related sleep disturbances experienced by pregnant women,” explains Hope.

“In addition, research shows that wearing natural fabrics, like cotton, bamboo, silk, satin, absorb excess moisture thus regulating body temperature – whereas, synthetic fabrics trap moisture and therefore doesn’t regulate body temperature during the night.

If our temperature spikes during the night we are innately programmed to wake up so doing all you can to avoid this is a must!

Cuddle yourself sleepy

Can’t sleep? Might be time to ditch the PJs. “There’s a lot to be said for sleeping in the nude when the pregnancy furnaces are firing for two reasons: temperature regulation and getting your sleepy-happy hormone fix!” says Hope.

“Research reveals that touch from your loved ones sees a spike in the luscious love hormone, oxytocin, which is not only nature’s antidote to insomnia but wonderfully natural analgesic. So bumping bodies in the night might not be a bad thing!”

Don’t curb the carbs

The whole carb-crash thing can affect pregnant women too! “During the third trimester, pregnant women crave carbs so make sure you curate a complex carb loaded dinner to not only induce the carb coma but also combat the night-time sugar lows that might wake you up in the night hungry,” Hope explains.

Getting a good night sleep while you’re pregnant is important [Photo: Getty]
Getting a good night sleep while you’re pregnant is important [Photo: Getty]

Beat the bounce

Physical comfort during pregnancy is vital, particularly when you’re trying to get a good night’s kip. “Get a mattress that supports your body and natural spinal alignment,” suggests Hope. “You’ll also find it easier to drift off laying on your left side propped up by a giant body pillow or two! This position activates the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest and digest physical state, aids the clearance of toxic byproducts in the brain and body, and also supports circulation throughout the body.”

Meditate your way to ZZZs

Another inducer of pregnancy insomnia is the stress of hurtling towards motherhood and the anxious thoughts that brings with it. According to Hope in 2008, and 2012 UCLA found that pregnant women who took part in the eight-week mindfulness course experienced significant reductions in stress levels, anxious thoughts, and mood modulation – all enemies of sleep.

“Meditation also has been found by the Wake Forest University and the John F Kennedy Institute significantly elevate our natural pain relief responses, endorphins and dopamine, by an attractive 65% giving us the ability to handle pain 27% better than control groups,” she continues.

“Participants also reported a feeling of greater connection with their unborn child during pregnancy and a calm child after birth.”

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