An ever-changing pregnant body doesn’t always make getting a good night’s rest an easy task. As you make your way through each progressing trimester, you’ll also find that your sleep challenges may change too. With healthy sleep habits in place and a few sleep tips and tricks, you’ll be set to get the rest you need in preparation for your baby.
Move Comfort Up the Priority List
Comfort is always an important factor when talking about sleep but even more so during pregnancy. Aches, pains, leg cramps, and odd twinges and twitches can all be part of a normal pregnancy. For that reason, comfort needs to be a priority at bedtime.
Take a good look at your mattress. If it’s got troughs or bumps, it might be time for something new. For those who get overheated at night, a cooling mattress topper or pillow can make all the difference. Many women sing the praises of body pillows to help keep the knees, hips, and back supported. And finally, opt for bedding made of natural fabrics and fibers. Cotton and linen are two excellent options that are breathable and grow softer with each washing.
Eat Right and Drink Light
Of course, you should stay well hydrated while pregnant and avoid alcohol and caffeine. However, as evening rolls around, cut back on your liquids two hours before bed to reduce the number of nighttime bathroom trips.
Sleep disruptions can come from heartburn, too. Be careful what you eat and when you eat it. Big meals are a common culprit due to the extra pressure of the uterus on the stomach. Acidic foods like tomatoes, lemons, and chocolate can cause it as well. If heartburn is already a problem for you no matter what you eat, which can happen late in pregnancy, try sleeping propped up on a pillow or two. The upright position helps keep acid in the stomach where it belongs.
Move Your Pregnant Body
Exercise and pregnancy should always go together. Your body will work hard during labor and regular exercise can help prepare you for that. Exercise also releases adrenaline into your body, which acts as a natural mood and energy booster. Finally, exercise wears you out so you’re better prepared for sleep.
Some women continue with their normal exercise routine while they’re pregnant while others may need to try low impact options like swimming or walking. It’s not the type of exercise that matters but the consistency with which you do it that will help.
Address Stress Before Bed
The addition of a new person to your household is stressful. To prevent stress from disrupting your sleep, we suggest managing it right before bed. Try 10 to 15 minutes of meditation or yoga. With practice, meditation can cause a relaxation response in which the heart rate and blood pressure drop. Yoga can relieve stress-induced inflammation while stretching calves prone to night cramps.
Prep Your Nightstand (and Home)
Preparing for sleep disturbances before bed can give you peace of mind and help you keep disturbances to a minimum. Arm your nightstand with a few crackers and a glass of water if you struggle with morning sickness. Get your slippers and a nightlight in place for those nighttime bathroom trips and be sure to clear the path so you won’t trip.
Finally, for those who lay their head on the pillow and start to worry about potential nighttime dangers, check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Also, check the door and window locks as part of your nighttime routine so your mind can rest at ease.
Pregnancy is a time to be enjoyed. With adequate sleep, you’ll be able to keep your daily routine on track and still have the energy to prepare for a new baby. Listen to your body’s needs. Rest when you’re tired and nap when possible. Once that baby arrives, sleep will become a thing of the past.