Don’t lose sleep over that.

“Don’t lose sleep over that”, is common advice for a good reason.  Sleep deprivation has emerged as a significant risk factor for many diseases, from diabetes to high blood pressure and heart attacks.  How about pregnancy?   What are the causes and consequences for mother and baby, and what are the solutions?

There are many reasons for lack of sleep during pregnancy. The most common are:

    • Discomfort and pain
    • Snoring, more common in overweight women and over the age of 35
    • Excessive caffeine consumption in coffee, soda and energy drinks
    • Fluid retention during daily activities causing excessive nighttime urination
    • Restless legs syndrome (RLS)
    • Rhinitis and sinusitis

Physicians now realize that sleep loss is a significant risk factor for many diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes.  Poor sleep during pregnancy has been associated with:

    • Pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure
    • Gestational diabetes
    • Excessive weight gain
    • Mood disorders including postpartum depression

How to reduce insomnia in pregnancy:

    • Wear support hose to limit fluid retention
    • Use sterile nasal saline irrigation and nasal strips for nasal stuffiness
    • Hypoallergenic pillows and a soft mattress
    • Moderate daily exercise like walking and yoga
    • Vitamins and iron to reduce RLS
    • A cool dark bedroom used only for sleep and sex
    • Go to bed with a print magazine or book instead of a phone or iPad
    • Ask your OB about using 3 mg of melatonin per night

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