Need Better Sleep During Pregnancy? It’s Possible if You Follow These 10 Steps

Let’s face it. Getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge, especially during pregnancy.1 With hormonal changes and a growing belly, it’s not unusual for pregnant women to feel sleep-deprived. Sleeping patterns can vary by trimester depending on the physical changes taking place. If you’re looking for 10 ways to get a better night’s sleep during your first, second and third trimesters, you’ve come to the right place.

  1. Stress be gone! Pregnancy can feel overwhelming, so find ways to deal with your stress and anxiety throughout the day before it gets time for bed. Make a ‘To Do’ list and transfer the things you don’t check off to the next day before dinnertime. Talk to a friend or see a therapist if your emotions or thought become overwhelming. Find activities that release your worries. Try taking a walk through your neighborhood, getting a massage, practicing yoga or meditation, making crafts, watching a cooking show or taking a language course – anything that helps you de-stress! Do something just for you before baby arrives.
  1. Cut out naps. If you want to get better sleep throughout the night, try eliminating your naps. When you feel sleepy during the day, eat a small protein snack or fruit, get some exercise, and do something to relieve stress to relax. But try not to doze off. Instead, try going to bed an hour earlier each night to increase the amount of hours you sleep at night.
  1. Eat a balanced diet. Stick to foods that don’t make your GI tract turn into a roller coaster. Balance your diet with foods that give you energy in the morning and calm you at night. Make sure you are eating meals that will leave you free from acid reflux when your baby is pressing against your stomach. For more recommendations, check out our Preparing for Pregnancy blog.
  1. Stay hydrated! Remember to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. However, cut back on your fluid intake about 3 hours before bed. This way, you aren’t getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or at least helping to cut back on the amount of times you need to go.
  1. Move yourself. Exercise in the morning and daytime to help prevent leg cramping at night during your pregnancy. But avoid exercising in the evening as the adrenaline can warm your core body temperature, increase your heart rate and potentially keep you awake.
  1. Establish a daily routine. Drink caffeine-free tea in the morning, make or schedule your meals and snacks at the same time every day. As it gets time for bed, unwind with your partner with a foot or shoulder massage (for you, of course), read a good book or get into a skin care regimen. Developing a routine throughout the day will prepare your body and serve as a signal to you and your baby that it is time to sleep.
  1. Cut out aches and pains. Wear a maternity band during the day to take relief off of your back, groin and pelvis to make you more comfortable at night.
  1. Find a comfortable position. Use extra pillows under your hips or between your legs when you’re trying to sleep on your side. After 20 weeks of pregnancy, avoid lying on your back so you don’t prevent blood flow to your baby, your uterus and kidneys.
  1. Remove distractions. Keep electronics out of the bedroom or put a time limit on TV, computer, tablet, and phone use at night. Keep the parenting books out of the bedroom – I know it’s hard, but try and read these during the day when your mind will be alert instead of at night when you need to be winding down to sleep.
  1. Dont be alarmed by your dreams. Hormonal changes can lead to sleep deprivation for a lot of moms. For some moms the stress and anxiety that follows can make your subconscious go crazy and your dreams can really run wild. Don’t focus too much on what they are trying to tell you. Just remain calm and have a positive outlook. You will feel better about everything if you follow the above steps. Everything is always better when you get a good night’s rest.

Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. Please consult your healthcare provider directly for medical advice, diagnoses, and treatments. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health or the health of your baby, consult your physician.

Sources:

  1. The National Sleep Foundation. https://sleepfoundation.org/sites/default/files/Summary_Of_Findings%20-%20FINAL.pdf

REFERENCES

Wisconsin Medical Journal, 2004, Vol 103, No. 5

Sleep and Its Disorders in Pregnancy

Sunil Sharma, MD  Rose Franco, MD

Sleep and Quality of Life in Clinical Medicine

Chapter: Sleep & Quality of Life in Pregnancy and Postpartum pages: 497-504

Magdie Koh

Pregnancy and Low Back Pain

Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med 2008, Jun 1(2):137-141

Sabino, J et al

J Sleep Res, 2011 Mar 20

Effects of Late Night Exercise on Sleep Quality and Autonomic Activity

Myilymaki et al

Johnelle

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Johnelle is a freelance writer and editor. She enjoys all things good for the soul: fitness, painting, traveling, taking photographs of her dog, yoga, dancing, and singing in her Southern California band.

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