Irregular sleep habits, an inability to fall or stay asleep, and frequent awakenings are all symptoms of insomnia, which can develop in the last trimester of pregnancy. Your abdomen has grown so large that a comfortable position is hard to find, plus the anticipation of the new baby might keep you awake at night. Pregnant women are most likely to have trouble falling asleep and are likely to wake up more frequently in the middle of night, often because of the increased need to urinate.
In contrast, after the baby is born, new mothers report they have no trouble falling asleep, but either do not sleep soundly or are awakened frequently in the middle of the night by the new baby. Either way, many women yearn for mornings when they awaken refreshed, energized, and free from fatigue.
What is Insomnia
Many people assume that insomnia refers only to chronic sleeplessness. They’re wrong. Insomnia is any sleep problem, from occasional difficulties falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night to awakening too early or sleeping too lightly. While insomnia is a complex issue with numerous causes, sometimes the answer to your sleep problems might start at the dining table.
While most women cut back or eliminate coffee and other caffeinated beverages during the early months of pregnancy, they sometimes resume drinking colas later in pregnancy. Not only are these soft drinks a source of caffeine, But they could contribute to sleep problems. People eat chocolate or drink a caffeinated soda pop during the day and then wonder why they can’t sleep at night. Even small amounts of caffeine can affect sleep architecture, especially in caffeine-sensitive people.
Watch your Eating Habits
What and how much you ate for dinner could be at the root of your insomnia. Big dinners make you temporarily drowsy, but they also prolong digestive action, which keeps you awake. Instead, try eating your biggest meals before mid-afternoon and eat a light evening meal of 500 calories or less. Small, low-fat meals also will help curb the heartburn that might trouble you during the last trimester. Include some chicken, extra-lean meat, or fish at dinner to help curb middle-of-the-night snack attacks.
Spicy or gas-forming foods also might be contributing to your sleep problems. Dishes seasoned with garlic, chilies, cayenne, or other hot spices can cause nagging heartburn or indigestion, while the flavor-enhancer MSG (monosodium glutamate) causes vivid dreaming and restless sleep in some people. Gas-forming foods or eating too fast cause abdominal discomfort, which in turn interferes with sound sleep. Try avoiding spicy foods at dinner time. Limit your intake of gas-forming foods to the morning hours and thoroughly chew food to avoid gulping air.