You know that sleepless nights await you once your baby arrives, so it seems unkind that getting a good nights’ sleep during pregnancy is so difficult. If it’s not heartburn, sciatica or a restless, uneasy bump, then it’s your seriously pressured bladder keeping you awake.
The clearest thing women can do to get better sleep is to make it a big part of their routine, and that the three P’s of sleep – planning, prioritizing and preparing – are essential. To make sleep a priority, which is not always easy is the solution. It is a key part of caring for yourself and your growing baby.
There are a few things she says to watch out for while you’re expecting,
Some changes in sleep when pregnant are expected. However, if you feel worried or concerned about your sleep you should discuss it with your midwife or healthcare provider. If you begin snoring loudly on most nights of the week, or your partner notices that you sometimes seem to stop breathing during sleep, it’s particularly important you mention it to your midwife.
If your mood changes during pregnancy and you feel more down, depressed or edgy and more worried than usual, then also discuss this with your midwife or healthcare provider. Here are some guidelines for sleep in pregnancy.
- Plan your day around getting enough sleep: Limit what you try to do in the evening. Going to bed and falling asleep earlier than normal can be difficult, but don’t get to bed later than you generally would.
- Take things easier: If you feel sleepy during the day and are able to nap, then do it. But don’t do it if it makes it harder for you to fall asleep at night.
- Prioritize: Make getting enough sleep one of your top priorities.
- Check your position: When sleeping, try to keep away from lying on your back. If you can, lie on your left side.
- Support your body: Try to use pillows between your knees, under your tummy to support it and behind your back to make yourself relaxed.
- Don’t worry about insomnia: If you can’t sleep, don’t lie in bed forcing yourself to sleep or agonizing about not sleeping. Get up and read a book, knit or crochet a little for your baby, write in a diary, or take a warm bath. The more unexciting and calm the activity the better. Avoid reading on backlit tablets and phones when trying to sleep – don’t be persuaded to check in on social media, emails or news during the night.
- Use a night light in the bathroom: Put a nightlight in the bathroom instead of turning on the light to use the toilet. This will assist you return to sleep more promptly.
- Try exercise: Unless you have been told by your midwife or healthcare provider not to, try and do at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. Walking is great, and yoga or Pilates are excellent too. Exercise and relaxation in the day can help with sleep at night.
- Hydrate: Drink lots of fluids during the day, especially water, but reduce the amount you drink in the hours before bedtime to lessen getting up at night.
- Watch your diet: In order to avoid heartburn, do not eat large amounts of spicy, acidic or fried foods. Also, eat frequent small meals throughout the day.
- Take what help you can: If you’ve already got a child and someone you trust offers to babysit, take them up on it and use the time to relax – get a nap in if you can.