How to Get Better Sleep While Pregnant: Why You Struggle Sleeping and How To Catch More ZZZ’s

How To Get Better Sleep While Pregnant

If there’s one side effect you can count on during or after your pregnancy, it’s sleep deprivation. Post partum, you have an adorable little baby (and best friend) to look after, so a wonky sleep schedule is no surprise.

What does come as a surprise, however, is how difficult it can be to sleep while you’re with child, particularly in the later months of your pregnancy.

Why It’s Hard to Fall Asleep With Child

“Sleep becomes difficult for pregnant mothers because there are many physical, emotional and hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy,” explains Ancy Lewis, a certified sleep coach who founded the blog Sleeping Little Dreamers.

Those three factors — physical changes, charged emotions and hormones — all play a role in a pregnant woman’s ability to fall, and remain, asleep.

Physical Changes

It goes without saying that your body changes as you move forward into your pregnancy. Not only does your belly expand, making it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position, but many women experience swelling. That swelling often causes discomfort and the extra weight you’re carrying around may lead to pain, as well. Plus, there’s the whole bladder thing.

“The frequent need to urinate that is common in the first and third trimester makes for many disrupted nights,” notes Lewis. “There are also physical symptoms, such as heartburn or leg cramps, that interfere with sleep.”

Hormonal Changes

Heidi Holvoet, a sleep parenting consultant at Baby Sleep Advice and award-winning author, explains that hormones are racing from the second a woman conceives. This, in turn, affects the way your body and mind react and manage sleep.

“Especially during the first trimester, a lot of energy goes into fetal development and many moms feel drained,” notes Holvoet. “That gets better as the pregnancy progresses because the body adjusts little by little. However, combined with the hormonal changes and the anxiety — and equally so the excitement, longing and planning — many new moms feel this fatigue does not lead to easy sleep.”

Interested in Heidi’s books? You can find them here.

Emotional Changes

In addition to undergoing physical and hormonal changes while pregnant, many women find it difficult to fall asleep simply because their mind is racing. Anxiety over your and your baby’s health and the impending labor would keep anyone up at night. Naturally, pregnant women also find themselves stressing over details regarding finances, nursery planning, work load and more

Anxiety and stress aren’t the only emotions that can keep a pregnant woman from hitting the hay, though. Though a wonderful emotion, excitement and joy can be so overwhelming that a pregnant mom has a hard time calming her mind enough to fall asleep.

How to Get Better Sleep While Pregnant

Even though it may seem impossible, you can get better sleep while carrying your future child. Let sleep experts Holvoet and Lewis help you out with their tips.

#1 Exercise

“Daytime exercise can help night time sleep,” notes Lewis. Speak to your physician about an exercise regimen that works best for your pregnant body. A daily 20 or 30 minute walk around the block can do wonders.

#2 Relax and Meditate

You don’t have to subscribe to any particular religion or methodology to take advantage of meditation techniques. Yoga is one option, as is simple meditation in the quiet solitude of your home. Sometimes relaxing and meditating is as easy as reading a good book, snuggling with your pet or spouse or even cooking/crafting.

#3 Avoid No-No’s

There are a few “no-nos” when it comes to getting to sleep while pregnant. Those include consuming sugary or caffeinated food and drinks before bed, screen time before bed and high stress activities (including conversations) before bed.

And before you reach for the sleep aids, think first.

“Sleep medication is a definite no-no because of its always addictive effect,” adds Holvoet. “Doctors may prescribe it in very specific cases, but never self-medicate it.”

#4 Comfortable Bedding

If you’ve been meaning to invest in quality bedding for a while, now’s the time to do so. Uncomfortable, non-supportive mattresses and pillows are one the greatest culprits regarding poor sleep. They can lead to tossing and turning throughout the night, which leaves you even more exhausted in the morning.

Lewis also suggests using additional pillows for better support while pregnant. “There are full-length body pillows designed for pregnant women,” she says.

#5 Good Sleep Hygiene

“A good sleep hygiene with, above all, a regular day and night schedule, is often underrated, but is, in fact, more powerful than most sleep medicines,” notes Holvoet. “That is especially true if you combine it with simple meditation and/or yoga exercises.” Make sure your linens are clean, your body is clean and that you’ve brushed your teeth, moisturized and feel comfortable from head to toe.

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This page was last updated on 06/2017
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