Four Ways to Sleep Better While Pregnant
The female body goes through incredible changes during pregnancy. However, many of those changes can make it difficult to get one of the most fundamental of human needs—sleep. Pregnancy poses some unique sleep challenges that may require extra care. We’ve put together our best tips that address the most common pregnancy-related sleep issues. As you read, keep in mind that the challenges you face in the first trimester may not be the same as the second or third. Be ready to adapt as your body prepares to bring another life into the world.
Eat Healthy and Smart
Food takes a central role when you’re pregnant. Sometimes it’s because you can’t seem to eat enough and other times it’s because you can’t keep anything down. When you eat affects the timing of your sleep cycle. Try to eat your meals at regular intervals throughout the day to help your body stay on a consistent schedule.
Heartburn can become a growing problem as the uterus expands and puts pressure on the stomach. To prevent heartburn, you may need to eat several smaller meals throughout the day rather than three large ones. Avoid acidic, high fat, and sugary foods close to bedtime as they’re known to cause heartburn. If heartburn still keeps you up at night, try propping yourself up in a more upright position so gravity is on your side.
Drink Plenty of Fluids but Know When to Quit
Hydration is essential for the health of you and your baby so drink lots of water during the day. However, frequent bathroom trips are a common nighttime sleep disruption, even early in pregnancy. Try to stop drinking fluids about two hours before you plan to go to bed. It may not eliminate all your nighttime bathroom trips, but it will certainly help.
Support Your Growing Body
Your back, hips, and knees are under more stress during pregnancy, which can make it tough to get comfortable at night. A pregnant body changes every day. Your aches and pains may change along with it. Start by making sure your mattress fully supports your pregnant body. One with valleys and hills may only contribute to your discomfort. You may also benefit from a few extra pillows. One behind your back or between your knees can help keep your spine aligned and relieve pressure while you sleep.
Meditation and Yoga
Your emotions may go for a roller-coaster ride along with your changing pregnancy hormones. Yoga and meditation can both help with emotional regulation, which can help you sleep better. Not only that, but yoga is an excellent low impact form of exercise while you’re pregnant, and it reduces inflammatory proteins caused by stress. You may not be able to stand on your head, but there are many safe poses, instructional videos, and DVDs for pregnant women.
Meditation trains the brain to stay in the present moment rather than wander into stressful thoughts of the past or future. It also lowers your perception of pain by reducing the anticipation of it. That can come in handy once contractions begin.
The physical demands of growing another human being mean you need sleep more than ever. Address your pregnancy-related sleep issues but also practice good sleep habits like going to bed at the same time every night and using a bedtime routine to relax before bed. Taking care of your body is taking care of your baby too, and you both need plenty of rest as your delivery date draws near.
Guest post provided by Samantha Kent, a researcher for SleepHelp.org. Her favorite writing topic is how getting enough sleep can improve your life. Currently residing in Boise, Idaho, she sleeps in a California King bed, often with a cat on her face.