Temporary insomnia is a sleep disorder that may affect you during your pregnancy. If you find it increasingly difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep during the night, there are ways to lull you into a healthy sleep routine. A comfortable environment and the use of supportive maternity pillows may help you sleep better, and relaxation techniques may help as well. Proper eating habits may also help ward off insomnia.

The following are a few simple techniques to beat insomnia during your pregnancy:

1. Use a Maternity Pillow

Sometimes all you need for better sleep during your pregnancy is a comfortable pillow with support where you need it. Look for specialized pillows that offer this support and promote better sleep. One option includes a wedged pillow for extra back and lumbar area support. The wedge provides a "lift" to relieve some of the pressure that may be felt on your back during pregnancy. If you're a side sleeper, you may use a wedge pillow under your tummy for support and comfort.

Another option is a contoured total body pregnancy pillow. A total body pillow will gently cradle your entire body in cushion and comfort. The unique design of a total body pillow may also prevent heartburn, a common occurrence during pregnancy that may interfere with your sleep.

A memory foam knee pillow placed between the legs may also relieve pressure and keep your spine in proper alignment. When the spine is properly aligned, back aches may not be an issue. Using a memory foam knee pillow may also relieve hip discomfort and pressure, which are also commonly experienced during pregnancy.

2. Relax

Feeling tense or anxious during pregnancy is not uncommon, although it may cause sleep disturbances. To help you combat the anxiety that may be causing your insomnia, try a few relaxation techniques. With your doctor's approval, you might want to enroll in a yoga class for pregnant women, or simply learn a few gentle stretches to do an hour or so before bedtime. Mediation may help as well.

Another way to relax and ease into better sleep is to establish a nightly routine and stick to it. Read a book in a dimly lit room 20 minutes before going to sleep. You might enjoy a warm bath before bedtime as well.

3. Consider Your Diet

You probably know the importance of good nutrition during pregnancy, but did you know that some foods may help you relax? A light bedtime snack of cheese and crackers or wholegrain toast may help ward off hunger, and the combination of protein and carbohydrates tend to induce sleep. You might also enjoy a handful of walnuts before you go to sleep. Walnuts help your body produce a sleep-inducing hormone known as melatonin, which might help combat your insomnia.

You should avoid eating a heavy meal prior to bedtime, especially during pregnancy when heartburn may become an issue. Try to schedule your dinner at least 3-4 hours before bed. Also, avoid spicy or fried foods, as these may cause heartburn when lying down.

4. Don't Get Overheated

Increased blood flow during pregnancy may make you feel warmer than usual. If your room environment is too warm, or you are using heavy blankets, you may find it difficult to sleep. For this reason, you might want to lower the thermostat a few degrees during nighttime. Also, use a lightweight blanket with "breathable" material, and choose cotton, lightweight sleepwear.

5. Empty Your Bladder Before Bedtime

Frequent urination may be most prevalent during the third trimester of your pregnancy, as the growing fetus continues to place pressure on your bladder. Be sure to use the bathroom before you lie down to sleep. By not emptying your bladder before bedtime, you may find yourself awakening during the night to make one or more trips to the bathroom.

If the above mentioned tips and techniques fail to bring relief from insomnia during your pregnancy, speak to your physician or a doctor that specializes in sleep disorders. Evaluation may be needed to determine if there is a medical cause for your insomnia. Some underlying conditions such as restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea often cause sleep disturbances during pregnancy, and this may require medical treatment.