Sleep is important for the health of everyone and it is of utmost importance during pregnancy. During a woman’s pregnancy period, she needs a lot of extra rest. The growing fetus puts a lot of strain on her body and hence, she needs more sleep to refuel.
Pregnant women get tired easily because hormones could have a drowsy effect and makes women sleep more. It is not uncommon to struggle with sleep during pregnancy. These are usually caused by hormonal instability, anxiety, stress, and physical ailments.
As the pregnancy period progresses, it may be more difficult for you to find a comfortable sleeping position. You may need to stand up several times at night to empty your bladder that increasingly gets cramped. It is also very normal to have sleep disturbances during pregnancy.
All of these are part of the pregnancy and nothing out of the ordinary, and with the right care, you can overcome most of these challenges.
Here are some tips to help you get a good night’s sleep:
1. Minimise Sleeping Hours During the Day
Some pregnant women sleep so much in the day that they find it difficult to sleep during the night. Although, it is good to take a nap for 30 or 60 minutes during the day, do not exceed one-hour sleep time. It may affect the nightly sleep patterns and you find yourself having insomnia at night.
2. Reduce Stress
Physical and emotional stress influences the sleeping patterns of pregnant women. You can indulge in activities that are stress-free. Activities such as reading, easy gardening, meditation or even 20 minutes strolling on foot.
However, light exercise is recommended for pregnant women. Simple yoga or light cardio exercises in the morning are good. You should have a workout regime to regularise your daily activities. Exercising in the evening will affect the quality of sleep, so keep your quick workout plan for the early part of the day and avoid evenings.
Moreover, some relaxation techniques have been proven to relieve stress and anxiety thereby improving your sleep. Example of such techniques includes deep breathing, massage, warm shower, and stretching.
3. Use Pregnancy Pillows
Doctors may ask you to avoid pillows for your head, but pillows are good for your back and abdomen to provide extra comfort and support. Having a pillow between your legs helps the back and promotes sleeping on the side. You can also try wedge-shaped or full-body pillows already designed for pregnant women. You can look for the best pregnancy pillow to give you a better sleeping experience.
4. Watch Your Meals
It is important you stay hydrated but avoid drinking fluids later in the evening in order to cut down nighttime bladder emptying. In order to prevent the incidence of heartburn, try to cut down fried, spicy, and fatty foods. You can use antacids as they are effective and safe in case of heartburn. Sleep with your head and neck elevated, as this will keep the stomach acid down.
Leg cramps can be avoided by avoiding sodas and other carbonated drinks as they can cause it. If you are having leg cramps, you can straighten your legs and flex your feet. You can try these several times before going to bed to reduce cramps.
5. Make A Bedtime Plan
You can get a diary or note to record your daily sleep routine. Have a comfortable bedtime routine that gives night sleep a priority. Ensure you follow the schedule no matter how tempting you wish to have a nap in the evening.
6. Create A Pleasant Environment
Having a good and pleasant sleeping environment enhances good sleep. Make sure your bed is always clean and well ventilated. Keep the windows open during the day to allow enough natural light and air into the room. At night, you can have candles and dim light to create a comfortable and pleasant environment for an uninterrupted night’s sleep. Your mattress should also be very supportive, especially as your weight increases. You can check out this guide for the best mattress for heavy people.
7. Sleep on Your Left Side
Sleeping on your left side is the best position for good circulation in pregnancy. It relieves the growing uterus and helps the baby to better blood flow. Practicing sleeping in this position during early pregnancy helps you to sleep better when your tummy is bigger. This position is the best blood flow to the fetus, your uterus, and kidneys. It will also improve the movement of blood back to the heart.
When you are not feeling sleepy, you can get out of bed and go to another room. Try things that you find relaxing like listening to music or reading magazines until you are feeling sleepy. You can improve your sleeping pattern by ensuring you use your bed only when you want to sleep.
Over to You
Now that we have discussed some sleeping tips for pregnant women, it is time to hear from you. Have you tried any of this sleeping tips before? What was your experience? Do you think there is a tip that should be included? Kindly let us know by leaving a comment.
Contributed by Dr Charles-Davies Omiete.
Photo credits: Pixabay