Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sleep, Oh Sweet Sleep

I'm writing this at 3:30am not because I was up late after a wild night of partying. I'm writing this at 3:30am because during this entire pregnancy sleep has been a bit elusive for me. I hate to complain because I've had a pretty great pregnancy and no morning sickness. I'll be honest though, the insomnia is rough.

The hardest part for me is I am truly a sleep lover! I am one of those people who functions best at 9-9.5 hours of sleep. If you aren't one of those people who needs a lot of sleep you probably think that is crazy but those who are sleep lovers know what I'm talking about. Of course I can function on 5-6 hours of sleep but it isn't pretty. I walk around in a bit of a haze most of the day, only to collapse at the end of the day craving the sleep I missed.

The pregnancy insomnia started around 8 weeks pregnant. With both my pregnancies first trimester brought the fun, "I have to pee all the freaking time" symptom. I assume this is hormonally related and it is different from the third trimester, "I feel like I have to pee all the freaking time but really it is just the baby's head smashing my bladder" symptom. Totally different but equally annoying. So early in my pregnancy I was waking to pee 3-4 times per night. A bit annoying but I lived with it. I am a bit of a water-o-holic which doesn't help but as long as I can fall asleep within 10-15 minutes at bedtime and can fall back asleep within 5 minutes of getting up to pee it really doesn't bother me. I can almost get a restful night sleep getting up 3-4 times if I can fall back asleep immediately. Of course the nights I only get up 1-2 times are much better.

The insomnia part that makes me even more crazy is the waking up and being unable to fall back asleep. I've seen 1am-3am more times this pregnancy than even when I was 21 years old. I wake up, go pee, lay back down, and lay there wide awake unable sleep, thinking, "again?!" "why me?". Eventually after 30 minutes or so of tossing and turning and listening to my stomach grumble I go try a snack. My midwives suggested something with protein so usually I just grab a cheese stick and head back to bed.

I first realized maybe hunger was waking me up around 12 weeks pregnant. After weeks of horrible insomnia I put two and and two together and tried to ward off the problem by having a healthy snack right before bed. It seemed to make sense since I have been super hungry this entire pregnancy. At first it did work some. Adding a snack before bed cut back the long, middle of the night awake periods to 2-3 times per week which seemed more manageable albeit annoying.

I tried asking women in my baby group from Baby Center that are due around the same time as me for suggestions. I even asked my midwife for suggestions. I did receive some good ones, though not all worked for me. Some were: cut back on evening water intake, stick with a relaxing bedtime routine/allow unwinding time, exercise but not in the evening, and try a over the counter remedy such as Unisom. While the midwife said Unisom was safe after the 1st trimester I still don't want to try it. Hubby thought it was a bad idea and having to take medicine to make me fall asleep seems like a bad idea.

Since starting my Hypnobabies child birth preparation in mid-January the self hypnosis and relaxation techniques have also helped me sleep better and have less nights with long awake periods. It just seem to alternate between a very restful night of sleep followed by an extremely crappy one. I was beginning to think going to bed earlier helped but last night I was in bed early and still have been awake for about 2 hours.

I am definitely taking this in strides. It is all worth it in the end and in about 2 months (hopefully a little less) I'll be meeting my precious new baby. I wonder if pregnancy insomnia is God's way of preparing the mom-to-be for all the middle of the night feedings and lack of sleep that the newborn phase entails?


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