Sleep Disorders/Insomnia and Night Waking
QUESTION: Hello, I am 9 weeks pregnant and so far all is going well except that my progesterone levels were low and I was prescribed 400mg prometrium (progesterone) and a vaginal cream. I also have a toddler who sleeps with me in my bed. While my toddler is not always a great sleeper, I used to be able to fall asleep easily between 9-10 and wake the next day around 6:30 and only wake during the night if he woke me but then I would go back to sleep. However, in about the past 3 weeks I've begun having some major sleep problems. I don't think they began until a couple weeks after taking the medication but I started feeling very tired in the evening and falling asleep with my son around 8PM. Then it began that I would fall asleep early but wake up in the night around 1-2AM and thereafter would be awake for a while or "lightly sleep" where it seems like I've just had a short dream and then awaken. Then I began not being able to sleep at all with my son in bed with me and have had to sleep by myself. I can't get comfortable with him next to me. In such situations when I am able to get to sleep, I wake up after about 5 hours and can't seem to get back to sleep. I'm exhausted during the day. I've heard that the medication may be causing it but it seems more like I've developed a bad sleep habit that I can't break. It's like this every night. You'd think otherwise I would have periodic days where I slept. Appreciate advice.
ANSWER: Hormones, all hormones, sleep disturbances happen when you get your period, when you go into menopause, and especially when your pregnant and for at least 5-6 months after. The vaginal cream can do it too. However, all of this will subside. Im a respiratory therapist with a sleeping disorder and did try the hormone cream myself and it upset my cycle. However in your case, its toppled with the pregnancy, a small child who want s to sleep with you. I suggest you try these steps. It may improve as you get longer into the pregnancy, but then start up again when youre closer to deliver. If it gets so bad you might want to mention the cream to your gyn. However since your levels are low, that also adds to the mix. If he is giving you the cream to bring up your level then of course you need to stay on it. The key is to get the hormones back in sync when they are going topsy turvy which is normal in pregnancy. Of course do not take any sleep aids. There are tees at night you can try, like sleep time valerian tea. However ask your gyn first. Its over the counter. The scent of lavender promotes good sleep. A scented lavender candle by the bed can help. as well as a hot bath which is in my tips. Im sure all this will level off once you pass 3 months, and your levels level off. In the meantime try to relax. If you need to take cat naps do it. Do try however to go to bed and awaken the same time every day. In other words if you didn't sleep that night, do not over sleep that morning but rather wake up as usual, yet take naps 20 minutes no more. No naps after 3pm as this would interfere and not make you sleep at night. see the tips below. feel free to email again. Meanwhile. Relax, enjoy the pregnancy, and the best of luck to you.
here are the tips.
TRY THESE TIPS RELIGIOUSLY FOR AT LEAST 4-6 WEEKS BUT MANY HAVE SEEN RESULTS IN AS LITTLE AS TWO.
3 HOURS BEFORE BEDTIME, STAY AWAY FROM, CAFFEINE, ALCOHOL, CHOCOLATE, EXERCISE, CARAMEL COLORED SODA LIKE COKE AND PEPSI AND GINGER ALE. ALL THESE MAKE FOR RESTLESS SLEEP.
30 MINUTES BEFORE BEDTIME TAKE A HOT BATH. LATEST RESEARCH FROM JOHN HOPKINS IS THAT PUTTING THE HANDS UNDER THE HOT WATER, PALMS UP, SENDS IMPULSES TO THE BRAIN THAT IT IS TIME TO RELAX FOR SLEEP.
15 MINUTES BEFORE BEDTIME, DRINK A GLASS OF WARM PLAIN MILK. MILK WHEN HEATED CONTAINS TRYPTOPHAN, A NATUAL AMINO ACID SLEEP INDUCER.
WHEN YOU GET INTO THE BED TAKE A FEW DEEP BREATHS, YOU ALSO CAN SET YOUR RADIO FOR SOFT MELLOW MUSIC HOWEVER,PUT IT ON A TIMER FOR 20 MINUTES. DO NOT TWIST AND TURN FOR MORE THAN 20 MINUTES. IF SO GET OUT OF BED,GO INTO ANOTHER ROOM AND READ A BOOK OR MAGAZINE, NO TV OR COMPUTER. WHEN YOU START TO DOZE, IMMEDIATELY GO BACK INTO THE BED. THIS RETRAINS THE BRAIN INTO THINKING THAT THE BEDROOM IS FOR GOOD RECUPERATIVE SLEEP. DO THIS AS MANY TIMES AS YOU AWAKEN THRU THE NITE. IT WILL LESSON AS THE WEEKS GO ON.
IF AFTER 6 WEEKS, NO IMPROVEMENT IS SEEN YOU SHOULD CALL YOUR LOCAL HOSPITAL AND ASK FOR THE NEAREST SLEEP DISORDER UNIT TO HAVE YOUR SLEEP MONITORED.
YOU CAN ALSO GO TO SLEEPNET.COM FOR MORE SLEEP FORUMS.feel free to email again Karel
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thank you for your response. Two follow up questions please. First, since I'm consistently waking after 5 hours, is it possible that I've done something to throw off my sleep cycle such as when I was falling asleep very early and also taking longer than 20 minute naps during the day? If so do you have any suggestions to get me back on track? Secondly, what should I do about the anxiety I have now about sleeping? I feel like because I'm so tired and know how much I need sleep that I get myself worked up when I'm lying there not sleeping? Like I say to myself you're still awake you need to sleep you'll feel awful tomorrow and it perpetuates the not sleeping. Any advice for this? Thanks so much!
No you have not done anything. These are your hormones. Because you are pregnant you must just relax and let nature takes its course. I suggest you simply stop thinking about sleep. When it comes into your mind. watch tv , or read something. Also about waking up after 5 hours, try the tip where you go into another room and read until you get tired again. Once again. its your hormones. but try the tip with going into another room and reading. it does work. You also should make note of the time of day you get tired for example lets say you get tired at around 11am. You should try taking a schedule nap one hour before. so you would take a 20 minute nap at 10am . whether you are tired or not. Even if you don't fall asleep, make it a point to literally lie down close your eyes and just rest. set the clock for the twenty minutes. also you should ask your md if you should have your blood count checked as well as thyroid, just to rule out if you are not anemic or thyroid. But like I said you just have to stop dwelling on it, and during your pregnancy if your tired, then sleep, just try to not nap after 3pm because that does interfere with the nighttime sleep and stay away from the foods I suggested in the tips at least 3 hours before your bedtime. and try to get to sleep and awake the same time every day. take care, Karel. You did not do nothing, this is not permanent. it will level off just don't dwell on it and enjoy the pregnancy.