Insomnia During Pregnancy: How to Make the Most of It

The exact day I celebrated my third trimester, I also welcomed one of the more annoying pregnancy symptoms: insomnia. It's been one week and, without fail, each morning I spring up at almost exactly 4:30 a.m. from out of what feels like a deep and relaxing sleep. I listen to my husband breathe loudly for a few minutes. I switch positions a hundred times and tell myself it's all in my head and I can easily get back to sleep if I would just let myself calm down.

Then I finally admit defeat, tiptoe out to the living room, and try to come up with something to do to fill up the next three hours. Instead of viewing insomnia as a curse, I've decided to see it with new eyes this time around and consider it a blessing


First of all, it helps to think about all of the many other pregnant women who are out there losing their minds every time they wake up four hours before their alarm is set to go off. It's a sucky experience, but many of us are in the same boat. No, you aren't the only one:

Having convulsions each time you let your mind drift to labor and labor pain.

Waking up from hunger pangs and an intense desire to wrap a pickle in bread, slather it with mustard, and inhale it whole.

Waking up every hour on the hour because your 7-month-old fetus is kicking the hell out of your bladder.

Getting overheated because the temperature in your bedroom hasn't been acceptable in months.

Suddenly remembering things you HAVE to do before baby is born, like pay bills, wash and fold all his new clothes, buy a baby food blender before all stores run out of them.

If you're going to be up for a few hours while the rest of the world sleeps, you might as well view it as an opportunity to do something fun and productive. Instead of cursing the next time insomnia strikes, why not ...

1. Get a headstart on work, assuming you have the type of job that allows you to toil a bit in front of your laptop. With hope, this will free up your actual work day and allow you to relax later in the afternoon, when chances are high you're going to crash from being awake for so long.

2. Throw in a load of laundry. Get all of your ironing done for the week. Exciting? No. But it won't be any more fun if you stretch it out across five days.

3. Create a list of classic movies you've always wanted to see and watch one each night. The worst thing that can happen is that you will fall asleep on the couch as Bogie kisses Bacall.

4. Make a list of books you want to read and get to it. Lord knows the amount of free time you'll have to pore over the classics once baby is born will dwindle significantly.

5. Learn a new language or brush up on one you already know. With so many free and inexpensive foreign language apps at our disposal, you don't need to spend a fortune to do this.

6. Write letters or emails to your unborn baby and/or husband. Document this amazing time in your life. You may think 4 a.m. is a great big bore, but in 10 years, you'll read over your writing and realize how special it was.

Do you have pregnancy insomnia? What do you do to pass the time?

Image via Alyssa L. Miller/Flickr

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