Are Sleep Problems In Pregnancy Common?

Sleep Problems While Pregnant

During pregnancy, hormonal, physical, and emotional changes can disturb sleep.

Based on the research of Dr Helene A. Emsellem, Director of the Center for sleep & Wake Disorders, 84% of pregnant women report one or more of the symptoms of insomnia at least a few nights a week. Some 30% of pregnant women report that they rarely or never get a good night’s sleep.  As a result of the different hormonal levels in different trimesters, pregnancy can either increase or decrease sleepiness.  Pregnant women are more likely to complain of disrupted sleep in the first and third trimesters. There may be hormonal effects, including the role of progesterone in sleep fragmentation.

What Are Some Of The Factors Which Lead To Disrupted Sleep For Pregnant Women?

Hormonal changes can wreak havoc on sleep. In turn, sleep deprivation can affect hormone levels in a sleepless vicious cycle. So when hormone levels spike or drop — such as during and after pregnancy women may be more vulnerable to sleep problems.

Hormonal Changes - Sleep deprivation

There is also the physical side which can contribute to insomnia. These include back pain, joint pain, heart burn, leg cramps, more pressure on bladder and forced body position in bed.

Sleepora - Happy SleeperMany people who insomnia symptoms have an increased level of arousal. Pregnancy may enhance this tendency. When scientists look at how the body functions while pregnant, they find that the systems seem to be in overdrive. There is an elevation in the heart rate and body temperature. The body’s use of energy, or metabolism, is enhanced. There may be increased muscle tension. In addition, emotional distress may manifest as anxiety or depression, especially as the time for delivery approaches.

Add to this hormonal changes and the physical side then it is probably no surprise that when a woman becomes pregnant she is more likely to suffer from insomnia symptoms than a woman who isn’t pregnant.

There is also an impact after the birth as well. In addition to the following months where a crying baby at night will disrupt sleep patterns there is also (some would say inherent) an awareness difference which tends to disrupt sleep patterns. In other words mothers (and also many fathers) become more alert at night just in case they need to attend to their baby. Or to put it another way they are in a more heightened state of alert. This means they may more trouble reaching the deep delta stages of sleep or if they do reach it and are woken frequently they find it harder to get back to delta stages of sleep.

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