Ouch, here’s a statistic to give you nightmares.
78% of women suffer from some form of insomnia while pregnant.
Personally I have had issues with all four versions of insomnia listed in this article, but the main one for me has been number two on the list:
- Waking up frequently during the night
As you would expect, insomnia was much harder to deal with while I was still at work. The three o’clock blood sugar plunge became a large chasm to fall down that had little or nothing to do with my daily diet. It was becoming a little ridiculous towards the end. I took at least one day off mid-week, just to catch up on the lack of sleep that had been taking its toll for the previous seven days. Boy, did I feel better for it and my ability to do a full day of work returned too.
As I have finished work now it has become less of an issue for me. If I don’t manage to sleep through the night it doesn’t matter, as I can sleep as late into the morning as my body wants to. No alarms to wait for, and even the other half getting up for work is only a minor blip in my otherwise warm morning oblivion of sleep.
I have tried, and still use, the relaxing routine idea that is often recommended for settling young babies. I run a warm bath, have a hot milky drink, sit in bed and read for a while (actually this usually includes doing at least one crossword to completion) and then, when I am feeling appropriately sleepy, turning the light off and drifting off to sleep.
To a greater or lesser extent this works for nodding off.
Around midnight or 1 a.m. and all the routine in the world makes no difference. I’m awake, and I’m taking a trip to the bathroom. If I’m really lucky and it is a good night, this will only be a 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. ritual. If I’m not, then this could go on the hour, every hour for four hours in a row.
Good nights, at the moment, involve a final trip between 2 and 3 a.m., followed by a glorious three to four hour sleep.
That three to four hour stretch seems to be enough to keep me sane most days. Any less than that and I am the archetypal haggard pregnant woman. Jobs around the house get ignored, small tasks are magnified into the proverbial mountains, and the general impression you would get if you visited me would be one of a walking zombie.
I now completely understand how it is possible to end up suffering as one of the 10 – 15% of women with post-natal depression. As this article indicates, it can be tough to see the wood for the trees:
“A lot of the early symptoms of depression can be very similar to those of sleep deprivation, which we know is very normal in early mothering, in early parenting,” says parenting expert Jane Barry.
I’m fairly certain that if I end up living on four or five hours sleep a day I could see myself heading down this path too. Scary thought, possum.