Let’s be honest: pregnancy is downright exhausting. Between dealing with crazy hormones, feeling sick, gaining weight, and generally undergoing a time of emotional and physical changes, it’s easy to feel fatigued throughout the day.
Unfortunately, sleeping while you’re pregnant can be a real struggle. Although expectant mothers should be getting at least eight hours of sleep each night, that becomes increasingly difficult as the pregnancy progresses.
If you’ve been experiencing disturbed sleep patterns and insomnia during your pregnancy, don’t lose all hope of feeling rested just yet. Here are some tips that can significantly improve your chances of catching some solid shut-eye.
Find a Position That Works for You
One of the biggest reasons that women struggle to sleep well during pregnancy is that they are forced to alter their usual sleeping positions. Between dealing with your baby bump, feeling short of breath, and experiencing heartburn, it can feel impossible to find a sleeping position that’s truly comfortable.
However, there are some sleeping positions that have proven effective for many pregnant women. Here are some of the top positions to try if you’re struggling to sleep during pregnancy.
- The “SOS” position. Keep your legs and knees bent, then put a pillow between your legs. Sleep on your left side to encourage blood and nutrients to reach the baby easily.
- Prop yourself up with multiple pillows. Although it may feel strange to go to sleep in a semi-sitting up position, this can help dramatically with heartburn during the night and allow you to sleep more soundly.
- Curl up with a wedge-shaped pillow. Ever seen those pregnancy pillows online? Some are formed to perfectly support your changing body.
You might have heard that it’s bad to sleep on your back while expecting. Generally, it is ill-advised because it puts all of your growing uterus’ weight on your back and intestines, which can lead to a sore back or hemorrhoids, as well as digestive issues.
If you’re used to sleeping on your stomach, you can continue to do that during the first and maybe the second trimester. Obviously, you’ll need to switch things up once you’ve got a bowling ball for a uterus.
Implement Relaxation and Breathing Techniques
Many pregnant women find it difficult to relax at night due to anxiety, stress, fear, or high-levels of emotions. That’s why it’s essential that you start cultivating a nighttime routine that helps you prepare for sleep.
Here are some of the best things you can do to relax and prepare for a solid rest:
- Make your home or bedroom dark at least an hour before you go to sleep to ease the transition from daytime to nighttime.
- Lower the temperature of your home. Review an air conditioning guide to learn about switching to a programmable or smart thermostat which allows you to set a schedule that automatically lowers the temperature at night to make sure you’re always comfortable.
- Take a warm shower to speed up your body’s transition from warm to cold, which mimics the effect of your body falling asleep.
- Meditate to clear your mind and relax your body to focus on positive, easy thoughts.
Many women experience shortness of breath during pregnancy. To combat this issue, practice some soothing breathing techniques as you prepare for bedtime. Try to stay propped up with pillows as you start to fall asleep so that you can breathe easily.
Cut Down on Your Evening Fluids
Due to the hormonal shifts in your body, as well as the increased pressure on your bladder from your growing uterus, you may need to pee far more frequently than you did before getting pregnant. This can certainly make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep, especially if you’re using the restroom every twenty minutes or so during the day.
To help prevent you from waking up to pee frequently during the night, health experts recommend that you drink no more than 300 mg of caffeine during the day. Additionally, you should avoid drinking a lot of fluids a few hours before going to bed. You want to stay hydrated, but it’s best to load up on water throughout the day and call it quits as your evening starts to wind down.
Talk to Your Doctor About Persistent Insomnia
Sleep is always important to the human body, but the effects of sleep on an unborn baby in a pregnant woman should never be underestimated. If you’re struggling to get a solid eight to ten hours of sleep a day, take the issue seriously.
Try the tips listed above, but if you don’t notice a change in your disrupted sleeping patterns, let your doctor know. Women can experience serious insomnia, sleep apnea, GERD, and other disorders while their pregnant, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about how you can treat these problems.
It might feel impossible to obtain a full night’s rest when your uterus is the size of a watermelon and your brain is moving at the speed of a freight train all night. However, the more you can focus on building a relaxing bedtime routine and treating your symptoms with simple solutions, the better off you will be.