Getting pregnant is a wonderful thing but one area of your life likely to suffer is your sleep. These tips to sleep better during pregnancy should set you up for 9 months of restful and restorative sleep before your little one arrives.
All moms-to-be sign up for a few too many sleepless nights when planning a pregnancy but no one ever warns you about that those bedtime blues before your baby is even born.
All those bathroom runs, baby kicks and uncomfortable positions, not to mention the changes in your hormone levels – it’s no wonder you spend half the night tossing and turning.
Getting some quality shut-eye can sure be rough when you’re expecting, but, guess what? It doesn’t have to be!
- 1 Why Do Pregnant Women Find it Hard to Sleep?
- 2 8 Tips to Sleep Better During Pregnancy
Why Do Pregnant Women Find it Hard to Sleep?
While most expectant mothers hope to get plenty of sleep to be at their best for when the baby arrives, the chances of it actually happening are pretty slim.
It’s almost like nature’s cruel way of preparing you for sleep deprivation in the months ahead when your baby cries out for a feed or nappy change during the night. To add insult to injury, being pregnant is a tiring experience in itself because of all the changes your body has to go through — you’ve never needed a good night’s sleep more!
Let’s start with that growing baby bump. Your big belly makes it tough to find a comfortable sleeping position, especially in the final stages of your pregnancy.
Then there’s the backaches and leg cramps that make it virtually impossible for you to drift off into the land of nod.
Your bladder has a constant desire to urinate because it has shrunk to accommodate your growing uterus.
And let’s not forget about nausea, night sickness, indigestion and heartburn that can all develop early on in your pregnancy.
Another common reason for finding yourself awake in the middle of the night is all that anxiety and excitement. As your due date approaches, it becomes even harder to stay relaxed about the birth of your child.
But thankfully, help is at hand to ensure you experience a peaceful slumber night after night…
Here are some top tips for sleeping during pregnancy.
8 Tips to Sleep Better During Pregnancy
Best Sleeping Positions when Pregnant
A lot of pregnant women believe it’s better to sleep flat on their backs, but this isn’t actually the case.
As your baby grows, the weight of your uterus will put pressure on your muscles, blood vessels and spine which will lead to a decrease in blood flow to your unborn child. Sleeping on one side with your knees bent will make sleeping a much more comfortable experience, especially when you sleep on your left side.
Sleeping on the left side will lessen the likelihood of heartburn and promote optimal blood flow throughout your and your baby’s bodies.
So, when it comes to the best sleeping positions when pregnant, SOS (sleep on side) is better for both you and your unborn baby.
Best Pillows for Pregnancy
Rather than sleep on a normal pillow when you go to bed, invest in a good pregnancy pillow.
Complete body-size pillows are the best for giving you maximum support from head to toe. Body pillows are usually reasonably priced and worth every penny to help you fall asleep and stay asleep at night.
Even if you’re lucky enough not to experience trouble with sleeping, as well as any aches and pains, a good body pillow will allow you to relax and find comfort despite the changes to the shape and size of your body.
Pillows with 100% cotton covers and a hypoallergenic memory foam filling will also help to make bedtime a lot more comfortable and pleasurable.
Supplements for Sleep During Pregnancy
It’s always best to avoid taking prescription sleeping pills when pregnant, but over-the-counter antihistamines and doxylamine are usually safe.
You could also try taking something as simple as a magnesium supplement to help you relax and calmly drift off to sleep.
However, you should always check with your doctor or pharmacist for supplement advice and tips to sleep better during pregnancy.
You can try some of these natural magnesium sleep aids:
Firstly, try taking a warm bath with a few drops of ylang-ylang or lavender essential oils to soothe body aches and cramps.
This can be particularly effective for abdominal and back pain.
If that doesn’t work, you could try using pain-relieving creams, sprays and gels, but be sure to avoid any that contain ibuprofen.
For severe pains, aches and cramps, always get advice from your doctor before using any lotions.
Sleep Near the Toilet
Out of all our sleeping tips during pregnancy, this one is a must for all expectant mothers.
You’ll certainly need to use the toilet more often than normal, as your baby will press on your bladder.
Feelings of sickness in the night during the first trimester are also extremely common, so you need to be prepared for late-night bathroom trips as and when the need arises.
Schedule in Naps and Sleep
It’s crucial to prioritize sleep during your pregnancy to maintain the health of both you and your unborn baby. Plus, you’ll often feel tired and weak as the hormonal changes kick in and your growing baby will take more of your energy.
This means you’ll need more sleep as a mom-to-be — including naps.
Pregnant women are strongly encouraged to take scheduled naps every day, especially in their first and third trimesters. A 2 to 3-hour nap in the middle of the day will keep fatigue at bay and will not interfere with a good night’s sleep.
Don’t Eat Right Before Bed
Always try and eat an early dinner to reduce the likelihood of experiencing heartburn while you sleep.
Experts say that the risk of heartburn increases when you go to bed on a full stomach when pregnant.
You should try and avoid eating anything too spicy, as this will induce heartburn too.
It’s best to sit down for your last meal of the day around 4 or 5 hours before you head off to bed.
If you often feel anxious or overtired as an expectant mother, you’re not alone.
But the good news is that yoga, meditation and stretching exercises are great for helping you to relax before bedtime. Many health clubs and gyms offer gentle exercise classes specifically for pregnant women or you could try some simple routines at home.
Not only will gentle exercise and relaxation techniques help you to fall asleep quicker and easier but they will also keep you toned and in shape during pregnancy.
If you think meditation may help ease your pregnancy nerves, take a look at apps like Headspace.
So there are our best tips for sleeping during pregnancy. Hopefully you’ll be able to get a better night’s sleep starting from tonight.
Do you have any sleeping tips during pregnancy to add?