Sleep is something that every body (especially a pregnant body) craves, but also something that everybody struggles with periodically. You've tried to cure it the right way. You stopped drinking caffeine late in the day; you didn't eat a heavy meal right before bed; you made sure that the lights were off; you've tried to keep a definite bedtime schedule consistently. And yet, as you lie in bed sleepless and frustrated, none of this really seems to matter. When insomnia hits, you could spend hours stressing, or try a few new things to ease you into a peaceful slumber.
Difficulty falling (and staying) asleep is a common problem for pregnant women. As an important source of fuel for the body, sleep is a valuable commodity. If you have been lying in bed for a while and can't sleep, get up. Don't just stay in bed and worry about not having enough energy to get all you need to get done the following day. Do something tonight to encourage the Sandman to appear a little sooner:
Go for a soak
Go relax in the bathtub. This soothes both body and mind. Don't make the mistake of taking a shower. This can actually awaken your body. Opt for a warm bath instead. Couple this with some candles and calm music and you'll be set.
Drink it up
Have a glass of warm milk. You thought this was just an old wives' tale, but it actually works! Heating up milk really does have a tranquilizing effect on the body that can calm you down and prepare you for sleep. In fact, the same amino acid that gives turkey its reputation for causing drowsiness is also found in milk, and it causes more serotonin to be released in the body. Can't stand the idea of warm milk? Add a drop or two of vanilla extract. .
Find an activity
Do something relaxing out of the bed. Try some light reading-although an action thriller probably wouldn't be the best choice for these purposes. Watch something a little boring on television at low volume (think the Learning or Home Shopping Channels). Don't watch anything that will wind you back up. Looking for other ideas? Sew, scrapbook, write a letter, or add to your pregnancy journal. The activity you choose should be easy, nothing that will key your nervous system back up. Once your eyes get droopy again, hit the sack.
The worst thing you can do is sit in bed and think about everything you didn't get done today, and all of the work you'll have the next day. Worrying about it won't get any of it done, so let it leave your mind. If it helps, make a to-do list so that you don't forget anything the next day. But leave it at that; once it is on the paper, forget about it. Another trick for troubled sleeping is to turn the clocks away from your bed so that you can't count the passing minutes. If you focus on the fact that you are not sleeping, you'll make your problem worse.