During pregnancy, it is not uncommon to have trouble falling or staying asleep. Getting enough sleep directly impacts your physical and psychological well-being. Sleep struggles during pregnancy are a common complaint and there are steps you can take during your waking hours to improve your chances of getting better sleep during pregnancy.
First-trimester sleep problems may occur as a result of your body adjusting to being pregnant. You can thank high levels of progesterone for making you feel drowsy during the day and keeping you up at night. You may find that nausea, vomiting, and a constant need to pee only add to your sleep woes early in pregnancy.
Here are 9 Steps to Better Sleep During Pregnancy:
1. Exercise Daily:
Staying active is one of the best things you can do to feel better during the day and to feel more relaxed at night. Be sure to discuss this with your healthcare provider to be sure it is safe for you to do so. There are many exercises that are safe to do while pregnant, three of the best are:
- Walking – Helps keep you fit, it is safe, and doesn’t require any expensive equipment
- Swimming– Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for pregnant women. It can help reduce swelling, decrease back pain, and improve your cardiovascular fitness
- Prenatal Yoga– Yoga helps you stay flexible and increase strength. Prenatal yoga can help you learn proper breathing and relaxation skills which may be beneficial to you during labor.
2. Try to get to sleep at the same time each night:
Try to have a regular sleep/wake schedule, even on weekends. Setting a regular sleep schedule can help you fall asleep faster, reduce your stress levels, and improve your mood during your waking hours. A good sleep routine can make falling asleep and getting up in the morning easier. If you have never had a set sleep schedule, be patient in the beginning. Stick to the routine and it gets easier to fall asleep.
3. Reduce any noise that might keep you awake:
Avoid electronic screens (cell phones and TV) 1-2 hours before bedtime. The light from laptops, phones, and tablets is similar to daylight and can be stimulating. Spend that last hour before bed doing something relaxing. Try to avoid those late night runs to clean the house or do laundry, doing such activities late at night can keep you wide awake and frustrated. Keep the room quiet, try to keep the lights off and block other sources of light (alarm clock, etc.). Keep your blinds closed. Doing these things can help you get bettter sleep during pregnancy.
4. Avoid eating a large meal right before bed:
You may find it helpful to have a small snack instead, you could try crackers or toast with a glass of milk before bed. You want to avoid large meals within 2 hours of bedtime to reduce your chance of getting heartburn.
5. Consider using a pregnancy pillow:
A full body pregnancy pillow can be extremely comforting when dealing with the low back pain that can occur during the course of your pregnancy. In addition, if you have multiple pregnancies or any preexisting back problem, the benefits can be truly amazing.
The strain on your back during pregnancy is due to pregnancy weight altering your center of gravity. It is no surprise that your posture is affected during pregnancy in an effort to balance yourself. You use muscles to stabilize your core and this creates forces exerted on your back joints and nerve spaces. This force is many times more than the weight of the pregnancy.
Carrying pregnancy weight can also be addressed using a maternity support belt which will be discussed in a future post.
The pregnancy pillow allows you to rest in an anatomically normal position, alleviating joint stress and pressure on nerves in the lower back and pelvic area (sacral nerves).
The full body pregnancy pillow can be a life-saver when it comes to comfort and getting a good night’s sleep.
Full body pregnancy pillows are so comfortable that even non-pregnant women and men find the pillow very helpful after a long day.
As with any back discomfort or muscle strain, it is always important to make sure the cause of your pain during pregnancy is related to the anatomic changes of pregnancy. If this has been confirmed by your prenatal care provider, ask about using a full body pregnancy pillow to make your pregnancy a bit more tolerable.
6. Keep your room cool:
A room that is too hot can disrupt your sleep. You may feel hot all the time during your pregnancy. Feeling that the room is stuffy and sweating is not conducive to a good nigh’s sleep. Most people find a temp in the low 60s to be perfect for getting a restful nights sleep. A hot room can make sleep during pregnancy difficult.
7. Take a warm bath before bed:
Make sure the water is just warm, not hot. There isn’t anything quite like a warm bath after a long day. A bath helps you relax and can ease pregnancy aches and pain. You may find dimming the lights and light a scented candle will help you relax and prepare for sleep.
8. Practice relaxation techniques:
Guided imagery may be helpful. Try to visualize a quiet, peaceful and restful place. Concentrate on allowing your body and mind to relax. Many pregnant women find regular massages helps them relax and fall asleep quicker. Reading or journaling can also be beneficial for helping you to relax and get to sleep.
9. Plan to take naps:
It may seem counter-intuitive to nap if you have trouble sleeping at night, but a short 15-20 minute nap in the afternoon can be helpful. Do not feel guilty if you need a nap during the day. Use that time to recharge, but don’t oversleep because it could make it more difficult to fall asleep at bedtime.
Tips to Sleep Better During Pregnancy by SheCare
Courtesy of SheCare
Other Pregnancy Articles You May Find Helpful:
- The Benefits of a Full-Body Pregnancy Pillow
- The 5 Best Pregnancy Pillows For Sleep
- How To Relieve Morning Sickness At Night
The importance of sleep cannot be overstated. Sleep during pregnancy should be a priority, and hopefully, some of the steps noted above will enhance your depth and duration of sleep throughout your pregnancy. Adequate sleep helps to maintain proper posture, a healthy mood and allows your body to best tolerate the metabolic changes occurring throughout pregnancy.