If you’re not getting a good night’s sleep, then being pregnant could make it even tougher. Studies show that nearly two-thirds of women experience insomnia during the third trimester, according to Science Daily. This problem makes it even tougher to deal with pregnancy symptoms like nausea, back pain, and more bathroom trips.
Pregnancy sometimes causes women to experience new sleep disorders. In other cases, their pre-existing ones become worse when a baby is one the way. This can involve health conditions like sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and daytime sleepiness. The good news is you can follow some basic tips to help prevent sleepless nights during your nine weeks of pregnancy.
Tip #1: Do Daily Light Exercise
These pregnancy exercises can make you sleepy at night. Make sure to avoid doing gym exercises within two hours of bedtime since the post-workout energy can make it tougher to doze off. That’s due to the adrenaline spike during exercising.
What’s most important is to keep moving during the day. A walk in the park or light stretching can boost blood circulation and reduce evening leg cramps.
Tip #2: Try Sleeping on Your Left Side
In general, it’s recommended for people to sleep on their back to improve sleep quality after reading an ultimate mattress selection guide. Side sleepers and stomach sleepers are more likely to experience the negative effects of their sleeping position.
There’s a caveat! If you’re pregnant then during your third trimester try sleeping on your left side. Experts recommend expecting mothers to take this step to boost blood flow and nutrients to the uterus, kidneys, and fetus.
How about sleeping on your back? Prenatal experts also recommend that you limit that sleeping position for long periods of time. Here’s why. Many experts suggest women avoid the back sleep position during the entire 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
The Best and Worst Sleeping Positions during Pregnancy (video)
Tip #3: Deal with Emotional Issues
Studies show that around half of pregnant women experience anxiety or depression, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. So, such mental health conditions are quite normal.
The key is to deal with worries and sadness properly. Here are some helpful options:
- Maintain a journal with your thoughts
- Do meditation or yoga
- Talk to your partner or friend.
Tip #4: Try Some Pregnancy Sleeping Techniques
If you wake up and can’t fall asleep again, try these techniques:
Cup your hands over your belly and do deep breathing while imagining your little one sleeping beside you.
Sing a lullaby. This allows your baby to hear your voice and help you feel sleepy too.
Tip #5: Follow a Regular Sleep and Wake Cycle
The human body operates using “circadian rhythms” (internal clock) that tell us when to fall asleep or wake up. One way to keep it working efficiently is to make sure your bedtime and wake-time are approximately the same time every day. Yes, that includes weekends and holidays!
There are nights during your pregnancy when you won’t get a full 7 to 9 house of sleep. That’s normal. However, following a sleep schedule can help to maximize how much shut-eye you get. This can help you feel alert and energized the next day.
Tip #6 Consult with Your Doctor about Sleep Aids
Your doctor can recommend some sleep aids that are pregnancy-friendly. Make sure to avoid taking any herbal supplements or prescription medicines until you get a thumbs-up from your doctor. This is a general rule to follow, but it’s especially important if you’re a mother-to-be.
Tip #7: Lower Your Bedroom Temperature
The room temperature should already be slightly below room temperature since the skin temperature rises during slumber. Being pregnant can also cause body temperature to rise.
So it’s wise to lower your bedroom thermostat. You should even take that step during winter to avoid getting hot. Just use a quilt for when you start feeling a little chilly at night.
Tip #8: Go to Sleep When You’re Tired
A woman’s body goes through many changes during pregnancy. This can include how much sleep you require. Listen to your body! If you start nodding off at 7:00 or 8:00 PM, catch Z’s then because your body needs sleep.
Tip #9: You Can Never Have Too Many Pregnancy Pillows
Pregnancy pillows are marketed for expecting mothers. You can use regular memory foam pillows in several ways during your pregnancy. For example, elevate your head, prop up your feet, and add them anywhere else to make you more comfortable.
During the second and third trimesters, use the pregnancy pillows on a recliner. This allows back sleeping yet avoids lying flat on your back.
How to Use a Pregnancy Pillow (video)
Tip #10: Maintain a Food Journal
It’s important to avoid certain foods that your baby reacts negatively to. Observe if certain foods like sugary or spicy foods cause a more active baby. If so, then avoid those foods at night so you can get a good night’s sleep and maintain a happy baby.
Here are some helpful tips about eating habits to maintain while pregnant:
- Eat bland snacks like crackers during the day.
- Maintain a well-balanced diet for you and your baby’s health.
- Stay slightly full to avoid nausea.
- Eliminate caffeine to avoid insomnia.
Tip #11: Drink Enough Fluids during the Day
Pregnant women should try to drink ten 8-ounce glasses of water every day, according to the Institute of Medicine. However, you should drink less close to bedtime to avoid nighttime urination.
Tip #12: Take Power Naps during the Day
This might be surprising since sleep experts usually recommend minimizing daytime naps. There’s a reason. They can disrupt your sleep cycle and make it tougher to fall asleep at night.
What’s different about pregnancies? Some studies show that napping while pregnant can provide benefits. A National Sleep Foundation poll showed that half of women took one or more midweek naps.
Just follow the regular napping guidelines. Try to minimize them to half an hour and avoid sleeping near bedtime since it might cause you to toss and turn.
Tip #13: Use General Techniques for Better Sleep
- Use lavender or peppermint scents to relax.
- Get natural light exposure in the morning.
- Avoid exposure to blue light near bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine from mid-afternoon.
- Sleep in a low-light bedroom.
- Eat a light dinner and snack before bedtime.
- Pick a comfy mattress from a mattress selection guide.
- Do meditation or yoga at bedtime.
- Sleep in a bedroom that’s slightly cool
We hope the above-mentioned tips can improve your sleep quality when sleeping for two. Sleep aids like a comfy mattress can help you get restful sleep while you’re pregnant. The general 7 to 9 hours is a good start, but it’s just a guideline. Gauge how you feel. Besides normal pregnancy fatigue, if you’re always tired then you’re experiencing sleep deprivation.
Brett is a writer at ID-Mag. An enthusiast and expert when it comes to sleep products, Brett dedicates a lot of his time reading, researching, and reviewing about both traditional and emerging sleep brands that manufacture varied types of sleep products – from eco-mattresses, smart pillows to cooling sleep systems, Brett has probably reviewed them all. Brett also finds sleep especially important since he juggles a small business which he runs from home, makes sure he spends time with his daughter and he also writes during his spare time – you can definitely see that he needs a great forty winks all night, every night so he’ll make sure that you get great sleep, too!