It’s 4 am and I can’t fall back asleep.  Quarantined & Pregnant Insomnia has hit.  I’ve tossed, I’ve turned, I’ve scrolled.  What to do next?  I realize by 5 am I need to get up and do things, that I am not going to fall back asleep this morning.  You’ll never believe how much I accomplished in 3 hours when everyone else was still sleeping.

I couldn’t believe that I was up so early.  Past me would be so proud.  There was once a time I set my alarm clock for 4 am so that I could get up and work out and start my day bright eyed and bushy tailed.  Those days I dreaded.  Today I have already accomplished so many things on my to do list.  I may even start on tomorrow’s list.

This is such a new experience for me.  Being pregnant everyone says you will get up a million times in the middle of the night to pee.  I don’t find that happening, thankfully.  Once in a blue moon I do get up but that isn’t the norm for me.  To go to bed at 10 pm and wake up with wide eyes at 4 am is appalling.  I LOVE to sleep.  I hate napping though.  Seriously, I’m always good for 8-10 hours a night.  Last night it was a quick 6 for me.  I stayed in bed for an extra hour tossing, turning, and scrolling through my phone for things to do.

Finally, I see it’s 5 am and it seems like a more reasonable time to get up; I make this assessment based on the birds chirping.  Apparently they sleep in until exactly 5 am.  Their internal clock is amazing to me.

What my first hour looked like

I jump out of bed, bring down a basket of laundry, the baby monitor and my phone.  I bring the laundry to the washer and start it.  Then I make coffee (VERY important in the Lattimer household), and unload the dishwasher.  Pouring myself a cup of coffee and I think this would usually take me 30 minutes because I have an adorable monkey pulling on my leg or asking for breakfast.

We had defrosted chicken and ground beef the night before to prepare for the next couple of days.  I grab the Crock-Pot and get the chicken all set up.  Then I pull out the Kitchen-Aid and get the Cheeseburger Meatloaf going (future Mangia post).  I clear the counter tops and Lucy runs downstairs.  We clearly need to go outside RIGHT NOW!  When we come back in she wants her breakfast, which is a pill mixed in applesauce with cheerios.  Sounds gross; she devours it.

Then I proceed to frost cupcakes that I made the night before, because Pregnancy Cravings.  I’m able to switch the laundry over and realize I now have some free time.  So I start this post around 6 am.  By the time 7:15 rolls around I need to pause because Walter is up and ready to go.  I walk up the stairs and remember that I got so much done, I can actually enjoy my time with him today.  Which is an overall peaceful feeling.

Insomnia

According to the Mayo Clinic, treatment for Insomnia is self care.  Treatment for insomnia consists of improving sleep habits, behavior therapy, and identifying and treating underlying causes. Sleeping pills may also be used, but should be monitored for side effects.

Insomnia symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Waking up during the night
  • Waking up too early
  • Not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep
  • Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
  • Irritability, depression or anxiety
  • Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering
  • Increased errors or accidents
  • Ongoing worries about sleep

Quarantined & Pregnancy Insomnia

Being pregnant has many side effects.  Having sleep issues is one of them, hence why I am talking about it this week.  If you look at the list above you’ll see that there are a few problems that I have like irritability, anxiety, and waking up during the night.  These are insomnia problems, not necessarily pregnancy problems.  I also hear a lot of people that are not pregnant and not an insomniac normally are showing a few of the above as well, but from being quarantined.  It is a hard time for all of us.  How can I tell the difference?

It’s odd because a lot of the same indicators exists for all three: being quarantined, pregnant, or an insomniac.  You do not want to fall hard on these symptoms because they can quickly turn into heavier things.  Things that will sneak up on you; such as turning anxiety into depression, or changing your sleep habits inside out (meaning you’re awake during the night and fall asleep during the day).

Some common causes are stress, travel or work schedule, poor sleep habits, or the one I favor, eating too much late in the evening.  I may have figured it out!  Last night, once Walter was down, I made cupcakes.  Then I proceeded to eat a minimum of a dozen mini cupcakes.  Which felt right at the time, not so much at 4 am.

Complications

Complications of insomnia may include:

  • Lower performance on the job or at school
  • Slowed reaction time while driving and a higher risk of accidents
  • Mental health disorders, such as depression, an anxiety disorder or substance abuse
  • Increased risk and severity of long-term diseases or conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease

This pregnancy has changed me, a lot.  Not for the better.  I am starting to see that my anxiety and insomnia may have a lot to do with one another.  My appetite changed and my demeanor changed more than anything.  Stresses of the job? Possibly.  I am sure it is a mixture of these two and more.

Week 2: Gratitude

If you are up, then you can find the time to reflect on life and find things you are grateful for.  Which brings me to my next point and week 2 of my 8 week series on coping with anxiety: Gratitude.

Gratitude is something I learned from many people.  My parents, friends, my counselor, etc.  As discussed last week with structure, you have to remember to do things every day.  If you need to write this on your list of things to do on a daily basis, than you should.  It is extremely important.  It’s not meant for everyone to see, it can be in a small notebook you keep for yourself.  Remember that you not only need to write in it every day, but reflect back and read through it every day.

Gratitude towards small things to much larger things.  Write them all down.  They are all important and usually get pushed to the way side because we take a lot for granted.  Usually, you don’t remember or show how grateful you are for things until someone gets hurt, sick, or dies.  That is when you remember what is important to you.  That’s when things slow down for you, unconcerning items are put on the back burner.  Having this journal reminds you on a constant basis what should be in the forefront of your mind.  What is actually important.  Water YOUR grass!

Anxiety Coping Skills by Week

1: Structure

2: Gratitude

3: Work / Life Balance

4: Appreciation of Others

5: Resiliency

6: Adaptability

7: Stop. Keep. Change.

8: Moving Forward

As I work through each week and each item my counselor has taught me, I hope it will help you guys too.  I don’t want to write a doctorate sized paper on each in this post, so I will be setting up a weekly email to go over each of them.  Even though I will be emailing these out, if you feel like you want to work on them 1-on-1 I would be more than happy to assist.  Above is the beginning of Week 2: Gratitude.  But I will dive into the topic more in the actual post.

There is a lot of information for each topic, if you are interested in signing up for the weekly emails or working 1-on-1, let me know and I can add you to the group.  My email address is: monicalattimer@gmail.com.

Have you ever had a time that you couldn’t fall back asleep?  What time was it and what did you do?

Any medical information on this page is from the Mayo Clinic.