Photo by Feliciano Guimaraes
The hardest issue I've dealt with during my pregnancies has not been heartburn, nor a growing waistline, nor strikes of extreme hunger pains at times, although each of those has been unpleasant. Before the stork brings the baby, as the saying goes, it brings me many sleepless nights. There's really nothing on my mind keeping me awake, I just can't sleep.
During my first pregnancy, I was anchoring and producing the morning news for our local NBC station. I had to be up at 2AM to be in at 3AM. I just chalked the inability to sleep up to a crazy schedule. Fortunately, I often napped in the afternoon (but I didn't have any kids then either).
With pregnancy number two, the problem returned. This time, I knew it was a real problem, since I was now on a regular sleep schedule. Same thing with pregnancy number three, and now with pregnancy number four.
My body is sleepy; it just forgot how to actually fall asleep.
My doctor explained to me that my insomnia results from the way my body is reacting to all the hormones. Some nights, no matter how tired I truly am, I feel like I am on an adrenaline high, or like I drank three shots of espresso. I lay down and rest, but most nights, I don't sleep. On about night three or night four of no sleep, I may try to take a Unisom (although I generally try to avoid it). Unfortunately, it doesn't help.
Although my day is pretty active anyway, I've experimented with seeing if extra exercise during the day helps me sleep at night. It doesn't. I've tried the hot-bath or shower-before-bed idea. Nope. A glass of warm milk or peppermint tea makes me drowsy; but the drowsy feeling doesn't translate into inducing my body into sleep. So I don't really know.
When your body forgets how to sleep, it can make you anxious.The good news, though, is--whatever hormones are keeping me up at night are also carrying me through the day. I think it's God's mercy.
Eventually, my body will adjust, and I'll sleep again. Until then, I'm curious:
Have you ever dealt with pregnancy insomnia, and what did you do about it?