If you’re expecting and feeling overwhelmed by fatigue, you’re not alone. Many women experience this during pregnancy, but there are ways to combat it. In this article, we'll show you how to recognize signs of a sleep disorder during pregnancy and ways that you can prevent them in order to stay healthy. With a bit of effort on your part and some helpful tips from us, you can fight fatigue and win!
What are Sleep Disorders During Pregnancy
It's no secret that fatigue is a common symptom of pregnancy. But is your exhaustion so severe that it could be a sign of a sleep disorder? It's possible, and with the right treatment and lifestyle changes, you can fight fatigue and protect your health during this important time.
When pregnant, your body goes through physical and mental changes that can affect how you sleep each night. As a result, common sleeping disorders can arise, including insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome. Insomnia is caused by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. Sleep apnea is when you experience shallow breathing during sleep, snoring, and difficulty concentrating during the day due to interrupted breathing during the night. Lastly, restless leg syndrome causes an uncomfortable urge to move your legs while asleep or awake due to a feeling of tingling in them.
If you experience any combination of these signs of sleep disorder while pregnant, it's important to take action soon to prevent further symptoms from developing.
Common Types of Sleep Disorders During Pregnancy
You're not alone if you find yourself struggling with sleep during your pregnancy. So many of us go through this, so it's important to learn the common types of sleep disorders you may experience and what you can do to prevent them.
Here are the three most common types of sleep disorders during pregnancy:
- Insomnia: Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep and can be associated with a number of factors, including hormone fluctuations and physical discomfort. To counteract this, make sure you stick to a consistent sleep routine by going to bed at the same time each night and avoiding activities like work that could keep you up late.
- Restless leg syndrome (RLS): This disorder is usually characterized by a strong urge to move or kick your legs when trying to fall asleep. It can also cause sensations like burning or itching in your legs. To combat RLS, try taking regular breaks throughout the day to move around and stretch, as well as dietary changes such as avoiding caffeine or alcohol before bedtime.
- Sleep apnea: This disorder is caused by a narrowing or complete blockage of the airways while sleeping and can lead to fatigue during the day, headaches, anxiety and depression. To help fight off sleep apnea, try using pillows that are designed for pregnant women so they provide more support while sleeping in various positions throughout the night.
Symptoms of Sleep Disorders During Pregnancy
We all face fatigue at some point during pregnancy, but how do you know if it's something more serious like a sleep disorder? Knowing the common symptoms can help you recognize any potential problems quickly.
Trouble Falling Asleep
The most common symptom of a sleep disorder is difficulty falling or staying asleep. You may find yourself lying in bed, tossing and turning, or waking up frequently during the night.
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
Another sign to watch out for is excessive daytime sleepiness. If you find yourself fighting off tiredness even after a good night's sleep, this could be a sign of an underlying sleep issue.
Anxiety and Nightmares
Sleep disorders can also cause other issues such as anxiety and nightmares that can affect your quality of restful sleep. You may experience either one or both of these symptoms which can lead to further health issues if not addressed properly.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, it’s important that you seek medical advice soon to ensure you get the treatment you need for optimal health before, during, and after pregnancy.
How to Prevent Sleep Disorders During Pregnancy
If you do find yourself feeling sluggish during the day, it's time to take action to prevent any underlying sleep disorders during pregnancy. Here are some steps you can take:
Get Enough Sleep
This should be your number one priority. Try to get at least 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. You may also want to take a midday nap if you feel like it, or incorporate other power napping techniques into your bedtime routine.
Exercising helps your body produce endorphins, which can help reduce fatigue and improve sleep quality. Take a brisk walk around the block or join a prenatal exercise class where you can learn exercises specifically designed for pregnant women.
Eat Healthy Foods
Eating healthy foods helps ensure that your body is getting all the essential nutrients it needs, which can help reduce fatigue and increase energy levels. Fill your diet with plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Caffeine can disrupt your sleep cycle and make it harder for you to get a good night’s rest. Try to limit your caffeine intake or avoidit altogether if possible. Also steer clear of alcohol before bed - it can cause insomnia and leave you feeling tired during the day.
Seeking Medical Treatment for Sleep Disorders During Pregnancy
It's important to realize that even during pregnancy, signs of a sleep disorder aren't something you should ignore. If you’re having difficulty sleeping or staying awake, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor or a sleep specialist for evaluation and treatment.
Your doctor will take a detailed medical history and examine you for physical factors that might be affecting your sleep. They might also ask questions about your lifestyle, medications, eating habits and other things related to your wellbeing to better understand what’s causing the problem. Depending on the results of the evaluation, they may recommend medications, lifestyle modifications or supplements to help.
Here are some things you can do to help prevent sleep disorders during pregnancy:
- Get regular exercise throughout the day
- Avoid eating late at night
- Avoid caffeine later in the day
- Establish a consistent daily sleep/wake schedule
- Develop a healthy sleep environment by avoiding television and screens before bedtime
- Practice relaxation techniques such as yoga or deep breathing
Ways to Combat Fatigue With Maternity Pillows and Accessories
During pregnancy, your body is in a state of flux, which can take its toll on both your mental and physical health. And that includes fatigue. If you're feeling exhausted all the time, you probably have a sleep disorder, and there are several ways to fight fatigue and win back a good night's rest.
If tossing and turning at night is driving you crazy, consider investing in a maternity pillow to help support your back and neck. These contoured cushions are designed with your changing body shape in mind, plus they provide extra cushioning for nearly any sleeping position you can think of such as side sleeping, which is especially helpful for reducing acid reflux during pregnancy.
If hormones have been wreaking havoc on your sleep cycle, there's no shame in enlisting the help of technology to make it easier to stay asleep. Specifically speaking, wearable accessories like sleep trackers allow you to monitor key aspects of sleep (like depth and duration), then use that information to make adjustments that help your sleep become more restful.
Maternity pillows and wearable accessories go hand-in-hand when it comes to fighting fatigue during pregnancy:
- Maternity pillows provide extra cushioning throughout the night. They’re especially important if you're sleeping on your side.
- Wearable accessories monitor key aspects of your sleeping pattern so you can make adjustments (like waking up earlier or avoiding caffeine) that lead to better-quality rest.
In the end, getting quality rest during pregnancy isn't just important for your energy levels and emotional wellbeing. It's important for the health of your baby, too. Take the time to make a few changes to your lifestyle, get yourself a maternity pillow, and take a few naps throughout the day to help you get the rest you need.
If you can prevent or manage any sleep-related disorders, you can truly fight fatigue and increase your focus and energy during this precious time. Don't let fatigue get the best of you and your baby. Be proactive and take the necessary steps to ensure you're getting the rest and relaxation you both need.