You’ve probably heard it before: “Waking up frequently during pregnancy is your body’s way of preparing for the baby’s arrival.” Yes, night time nausea, bladder pressure, adjusting to sleep with the changes happening in the body can make sleeping while pregnant harder. Your ever-changing body can make sleeping seem virtually impossible at times. If you are a back or stomach sleeper, having to sleep on your side is something you will have to adjust to. If you are used to sleeping the whole night through, waking to use the bathroom a half dozen or so times will be yet another adjustment. Here are 8 tips for getting better sleep during pregnancy.
The better rested a mother is, the better she will be able to handle labor and delivery.
It is so true, sleeping during pregnancy can be a pain – literally and figuratively. But all that doesn’t mean that sleep needs to be a struggle throughout your whole pregnancy. Even with so many common sleep disruptions, there are things you can do to help boost the sleep you are getting now.
1. Create a sleep routine
Bedtime routines are not just for children! Establishing a bedtime routine can help the body start to relax and prepare for sleep. The routine can be simple as long as bedtime is consistent within 30 minutes every night. Going to bed between 10:00 and 10:30 pm ensures that the body is getting adequate time to repair from the day. Staying up later than that slows the start time for those repairs.
2. Avoid caffeine intake and watch what you eat
Be mindful of the types of food you are eating, as well as the portion size that you are consuming, especially before bed. By avoiding greasy fast food, junk food and foods that take a long time to digest, as well as anything with caffeine, you can ensure that you’re not filling your stomach up with these hard-to-digest, gas-inducing foods right before bed. You will be glad you did!
3. No electronics!
Blue light is the worst light for sleep! Turn off your phone, computer or TV early to have a positive effect on your sleep. When exposed to blue light in the two hours leading up to sleep, the body slows its production of melatonin, which makes falling asleep and staying asleep so much harder. So turn off those electronics: take a nice bath, go for a walk, read a book or write in a journal (a great tip for bloggers too!).
4. Allow natural sunlight
Getting natural, unfiltered sunlight in your eyes first thing in the morning can do wonders for your internal clock. The pineal gland, which is responsible for the production of melatonin and helps maintain the circadian rhythm is dictated by light. Exposing your body to natural light will regulate your internal clock, helping you feel more awake during the day and sleep better at night.
5. Don’t turn any lights on!
Light interferes with sleep! When getting up to go to the bathroom, use a small night-light to guide you. If you turn on the light when you get up, your body will read that light as a sign of daytime and slow the production of melatonin, making it much harder to fall back to sleep once you return to bed.
6. Invest in comfortable sleep aids
There are some great pillows and mattress toppers that can be purchased to help a mom get comfortable through the night. A mattress topper can ease some of the pressure off of your joints. Adding a couple of extra pillows or a full body pillow between your knees and arms as well as some nice, soft bedding can all help you relax, get comfortable and slip easily into sleep.
7. Keep a bedside journal
Anticipating a new member of the family can lead to more stress and anxiety, especially for first-time moms. Having a journal on the bed stand to jot down ideas, fears and reminders can aid in allowing the brain to shut down and can help you get back to sleep sooner. Spending a few minutes before bed either writing down or talking about those fears or worries will also help you to decompress and release some of those concerns.
8. Take time for YOU throughout the day
Taking time through the day to put your feet up and relax, having a nap, attending a prenatal yoga class, going for a leisurely walk are all things that a mom can do to help diminish stress, anxiety and pain. Having time through the day designated, as ‘mom time’ will also help you feel balanced and can positively influence your mental health.
Sleep is so important for you and your growing baby! Your body will be stronger and more balanced as sleep has can diminish stress hormones. Those same stress hormones can actually affect labor by extending or even delaying it.
Any time we are trying to help our body adjust to something new, it is important to remember that it does take time, so be consistent with the new routine, having patience and allow your body to adapt! This will make all the difference when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. We hope you find tips for getting better sleep during pregnancy helpful!