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Sleep is important for your health during pregnancy, but most moms-to-be find it increasingly difficult to get a good nights rest. The third trimester brings more aches and pains, along with increased heartburn. You might find yourself tossing and turning all night, aside from the times when you get up to go pee!
You aren’t alone. Trouble sleeping is a common complaint for pregnant women! Most troubles are a result of anxiety, stress, physical discomfort, and hormonal fluctuations. I always say that I will get better sleep once I have my newborn, and it is always true! Here are my top tips for getting more sleep throughout pregnancy.
Tips for Getting More Sleep During Pregnancy
- Minimise trips to the bathroom
It’s super important to stay hydrated during pregnancy, but too many fluids too close to bed time can contribute to the dreaded multiple-times-per-night trip to the bathroom. Cut down on your fluids around 3 hours before going to sleep to reduce how often you need to pee during the night.
- Find a Bedtime Routine
You can’t expect your brain and body to relax and sleep if you just finished eating an ice cream sundae and drinking a pot of coffee. Just like children, adults benefit from a nighttime routine that soothes and comforts you before bedtime. A routine lets your body know sleep is coming and preparing to drift off to bed.
A routine doesn’t need to be complicated. Some ideas are:
- Turn off electronics. The light from screens can stimulate your brain too much, leading to sleep issues.
- Take a hot shower or bath.
- Read a book.
- Knit, crochet, or do something that relaxes you.
- Drink caffeine-free
Doctors encourage pregnant women to exercise regularly for optimal health and to increase circulation. Better circulation reduces nighttime leg cramps, which are painful. I had to walk around my bed several times a week at night to get rid of my leg cramps!
But also make sure you aren’t exercising too late in the evening. Adrenaline enters your body when your exercise and too much adrenaline will keep you up at night. You don’t want anything that keeps you awake.
- Battle Your Heartburn
Heartburn seems to increase at night, right when you want to go to sleep. There are several methods for decreasing the nighttime heartburn. Sleep with your head elevated on pillows. Avoid consuming acidic or spicy foods, such as pizza or buffalo wings! Stay upright for two hours after a meal, and don’t eat for two hours before bedtime!
- Try to Relax
Stress can cause anyone to have sleep problems. Try your best to reduce the stress in your life. Take time to yourself, or talk to a close friend about your struggles. A listening ear can take a weight off your shoulders. Stretching, yoga, massage, deep breathing and a warm bath also can help you relax your mind and muscles.
Pillows are a pregnant woman’s best friend. Doctors encourage women to sleep on their left side, if possible, which is optimal for the baby’s health. Sleeping on your side can cause your hips to ache, so it feels like you are losing the sleeping battle!
A good solution is to put a pillow between your knees. Doing so levels out your hips and decreases the aches and pains. You can try a pregnancy pillow or a standard pillow (or four).
Another tip to reduce the hip pain is to wear a maternity band throughout the day. The support will decrease your hip pain during the day, making the nighttime more comfortable.
- Monitor Your Diet
A good diet helps you sleep better. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as both can lead to insomnia. A bland diet decreases nausea. Foods such as toast, crackers, apples, and bananas help with morning sickness.
Small, mild meals are ideal because they prevent fullness and reduce acid reflux. Foods high in carbohydrates promotes sleep. Also, try snacks that are high in protein to keep your blood sugar levels up. Doing so also decreases headaches, bad dreams, and hot flashes.
- Create a Good Sleeping Environment
A dark and quiet room makes it easier for you to get enough sleep. Switch off your lamp and TV. Purchase blackout curtains; they cut down on sunlight and outside lights.
A comfortable bed is necessary to get enough sleep. Your mattress should be soft and supportive. The perfect mattress reduces the pressure on your spine, and pregnancy adds more pressure than normal on your spine. If you find that you have increased back pain and sore muscles, a mattress pad could be necessary.
- Don’t Toss and Turn
Laying in bed miserable won’t help you get to sleep, but neither does tossing and turning. Instead, get up and do something that will make you bored or sleep. Walk around your dark house. Fold that basket of laundry that has been sitting on the couch for two days. Put away the sink full of dishes that you were avoiding until tomorrow.
Chores aren’t exciting, and boredom can help you get to sleep. Pick a task that is mindless and lets you calm down. Then, go back to bed and see if you can fall asleep easier.
- Try a Cat Nap or Two
There is nothing wrong with taking a nap throughout the day, but keep it at 30 minutes at a time. Sleeping longer than that lets your body drift into a deep sleep, making it harder for you to wake up. Grogginess will occur, and who wants to feel groggy in the middle of the day?
Because you are keeping your naps short, you can take multiple naps each day. Chores can wait; you’re growing a baby and need some rest!
Give these tips a try to see if your quality of sleep improves. Your body throughout pregnancy is busy, even if you are relaxing all day. There is so much taking place, so take a nap or two today!