Praise the Lord I have been able to sleep well the last two nights, thanks to some helpful tips from some of my readers and my midwife. These are helpful suggestions for those who deal with insomnia in or outside of pregnancy. The top two suggestions are what I have been doing primarily and seeing a vast improvement!
1. Calcium/Magnesium – regulate relaxation, especially with muscle tension and physical restlessness. Take approximately 2000 mg of calcium and 1000 mg of magnesium before going to bed (they are usually balanced properly in a cal/mag supplement). Best in a liquid combination form. If you take in tablets you will have to drink a large glass of water to swallow that many pills which results in an increased amount of times having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night (at least for the pregnant ladies).
Foods rich in magnesium include: legumes and seeds, dark leafy green vegetables, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, and whole grains. Food rich in calcium include: dairy products, canned fish with bones, nuts, fruits, vegetables, dried beans, rice beverages, molasses, and some leafy greens.
2. Chamomile tea - a wonderful relaxing tea to take before night time. Aaron picked me up some Traditional Medicinals Organic Nighty Night Tea which has a combination of chamomile, passionflower, and linden flower. It even has a bit of the hops herb described below. It is a delicious tea that promotes nighttime relaxation. Take 1/2 hour before bed. Chamomile is a particularly good choice for younger children whose insomnia may be related to gastrointestinal upset.
3. Hops – a herb that is actually added to beer as a relaxant. This is debate over the safety of consuming hops herb during pregnancy, but my midwife recommended it, although I have not tried it yet. Dose: Tea, 1 cup 2-3 x daily; Tincture, 30-40 drops 2-3 x daily.
4. Honey – Honey is said to have sleep inducing properties. Dark honey contains more antioxidants than light-colored honey. It can be used in herbal teas or mixed into warm milk.
Milk and Honey Sleep Remedy
1 glass warm milk
1 drop vanilla extract
1 teaspoon honey
Use this just before going to bed. Mix, then drink while it is still warm.
Recipe found here.
5. Take a relaxing bath with a bit of lavender oil. The oil is calming and can be helpful in some cases of insomnia. Oil may be inhaled, massaged into the skin (use 10 drops essential oil per ounce of vegetable oil), or added to baths (3-10 drops).
6. Lack of exercise can contribute to poor sleep, although avoid exercising at night, as it can increase adrenaline levels. Limit exercise to the first portion of your day. Read more about exercise and insomnia here.
7. Avoid eating within an hour or two of bedtime, if possible. If necessary, eat a light snack (for the pregnant ladies).
1. Write down your thoughts! I have found that I can often lose sleep because I am distracted with my to-do list for the next day. Plan for your next day by writing it all down before you go to bed. This helps get your mind at ease and undistracted.
2. Pray! – I have so greatly appreciated the prayers of my husband for me before going to bed. This has helped me greatly in just relaxing and focusing in on trusting the Lord for the gift of sleep. What a blessing! Don’t be afraid to ask someone to pray for you before bedtime and if you do wake up in the night, use it has an opportunity to pray for others.
3. Cover the clock! This was very helpful for me! It just increased my worry and anxiety about lost sleep as I stared at the hours ticking by …2am…4:30am…etc.
I pray these ideas might help assist anyone else going through this struggle!
Sources & Further Reading