Tips on Achieving Better Sleep While Pregnant

Expecting a baby is an exciting experience, but it can also bring about many changes in a woman’s body. One of these changes is the disruption of sleep patterns. As the pregnancy progresses, women may find it increasingly difficult to get a good night’s rest. This is because of hormonal changes, physical discomfort and anxiety about the impending arrival of their little one.

It’s important to understand how pregnancy affects sleep. The main culprit here is progesterone, a hormone that increases during pregnancy. It not only causes drowsiness but also relaxes muscles and joints, making it harder to find a comfortable sleeping position. As the baby grows, it puts pressure on the bladder leading to more frequent trips to the bathroom and less time sleeping. All of these factors can leave an expecting mom feeling exhausted.

Each pregnancy is unique but here are some common sleep solutions that may help you get the much longed for rest you need.

Create an environment that encourages rest

Creating the right sleeping environment can make a significant difference in getting a good night’s rest. Consider investing in a pregnancy pillow designed specifically for pregnant women that will help support your growing belly as well as your lower back. Keep the room dark, quiet and at a temperature that promotes better sleep. Talk to your partner about your lack of sleep and ask them to partner with you in creating the right sleeping conditions. If possible, agree with your spouse to take turns getting up with your other children so you can both get rest.

Establish a bedtime routine

Establishing a bedtime routine can help signal to your body that it’s time to sleep. This could include taking a warm bath, drinking herbal tea or reading a book before bed. Make sure to avoid stimulating activities such as using electronics or watching TV right before bedtime. If you take naps during the day, try to schedule them for earlier in the day to promote better sleep at bedtime.

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Create healthy habits

Regular exercise promotes better sleep. Try to incorporate 15 minutes of exercise each day, even if it’s just taking a walk. Healthy eating habits can also help you feel better and get good rest. Try eating your evening meal earlier in order to avoid acid reflux which is common in pregnancy and can result in loss of sleep. It’s also wise to avoid caffeine in the evening which can cause you to feel jittery and struggle to settle down at night.

Practice relaxation techniques

Pregnancy can be a stressful time and anxiety can make it hard to fall asleep. To help calm your mind and body, practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, stretching, meditation, prayer or prenatal yoga. These techniques can also be helpful in reducing any physical discomfort you may be experiencing.

Try different sleeping positions

As mentioned earlier, finding a comfortable sleeping position can be challenging during pregnancy. Experiment with different positions such as sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs or using extra pillows to support your back and belly. Some women may find that a recliner is more comfortable as the pregnancy progresses. Experiment with different pillows and positions to figure out what works best for you.

Consider natural remedies

If you’re still struggling with sleep, you may want to explore natural remedies such as herbal supplements or essential oils. However, it’s important to consult with your doctor before trying any new remedies, as not all of them are safe for pregnant women. Prenatal massage can also be enjoyable, relaxing, and promote sleep. Before making an appointment, check with your doctor to make sure this is a safe option for you. If natural remedies don’t make a difference, reach out to your doctor to see if they have tips and suggestions to help you rest.

Pinpoint the underlying issue

Try to pinpoint the reason for your lack of sleep. Do you have heartburn? Are you stressed about anything? Do you have a toddler sharing your bed? Once you know what your sleep obstacles are, you can work with your partner and your doctor to come up with a solution that can help you rest. If you’re still having trouble sleeping, it’s important to seek help from your OBGYN. They can check for any underlying issues such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, or acid reflux, and provide appropriate treatment.

Sleep is essential for both the mother and the growing baby during pregnancy. Nothing was more frustrating to me when I was tired and pregnant than a friend saying “Rest while you can because once the baby arrives, you won’t be getting much sleep.” While these comments are usually meant well, they don’t help a pregnant mom relax and get the rest she desperately needs.

The most important thing is to take care of your body and your growing baby. Find a solution that works for you and if you are still struggling, listen to your body and reach out to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.