Here are some tips to help you sleep better during your pregnancy.

Getting sufficient rest during the night is not an easy task when your sleeping hours are constantly interrupted by bathroom urges, leg cramps, anxiety attacks over birthing issues, and breathing difficulties due to an awkward sleeping position.

These discomforts that interrupt your sleep give you restless nights. Here are some sleep tips to help you get a better night’s sleep.

Get Comfortable

You should be getting 10 μg (micrograms) of vitamin D every day during your pregnancyii, the same as any other adult.

  • Sleep on your side. Sleep on your side as it helps relieve any discomfort from the developing baby’s weight—especially on your back. Don’t lie on the back when you go to sleep, as it may decrease circulation to your developing baby and parts of your body. Lying on your back may make it harder to breathe for some women.i
  • Smiggle with a pillow. To help support your abdomen, place a pillow under your stomach. Placing another pillow between your knees may also take away some back stress and pressure.
  • Clear congestion. Saline nasal sprays and humidifiers can help combat congestion, which affects many pregnant women, especially at night.

Prevent Night-time Wake-Ups

  • Kick the cramps. If leg cramps are keeping you up, do calf stretches before bed, make sure you drink enough water, and exercise regularly—all may help reduce charley horses. Some preliminary research suggests that magnesium may help with the crampsii. We suggest that you get your magnesium from food sources such as whole grains and beans. Always check with your doctor before taking any supplements.ii
  • Calm your legs. Some pregnant women have restless leg syndrome – the constant need to move your legs. This syndrome is thought to be caused by low levels of iron and/or folic acid. Make sure you are getting enough iron in your diet by eating lean meat and fish. It’s best to get folic acid from a prenatal supplement which can support all of your nutrient needs. Seek your doctor’s advice before you take any supplements.
  • Rest your worries. If you wake up feeling anxious about your impending delivery, sign up for a parenting class. Joining a prenatal yoga class will also help you to calm your nerves. Plus, being with other pregnant moms and sharing your anxieties can help alleviate your worries and enable you to feel more in control.
  • Bathroom before bed. Make a trip to the bathroom the last thing you do before going to sleep. When you go, try to empty your bladder as much as possible.
  • Avoid heartburn triggers. Heartburn affects many pregnant women and can be particularly bothersome in the evening hours, preventing a good night’s sleep. Eat smaller meal portions and avoid fried or spicy foods. Cutting down on citrus juices and carbonated drinks will also help. When you sleep, elevate your head with an additional pillow to help make you more comfortable.

Healthy Habits to Encourage Sleep

  • Have a good night’s sleep. Try to get at least 6 hours of sleep each night. Research shows that if you sleep for less than 6 hours a night during the last few weeks of pregnancy, your labor may be longer. It may also increase your risk of postpartum depression.i
  • Get into a routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. By getting into a sleep routine, your body will start adjusting to this schedule. If you’re going to take a nap, take it earlier in the day.
  • Exercise during the day. Exercise is a great way to keep your weight gain on track (excessive weight gain can affect sleep comfort), reduce stress, and improve circulation (which helps with leg cramps). For most women, it’s best to keep exercise earlier in the day—it can have an energizing effect that you don’t need close to bedtime.

If sleep during pregnancy continues to elude you, bring up the issue with your doctor. Sleep is key to maintaining the energy you and your developing baby need during these months. So, it is important to ensure there is no hidden cause for the sleeplessness.

Alright now, nighty-night. Sweet dreams.

 

 

References:

iGlade B. Curtis & Judith Schuler, Your Pregnancy Week by Week. Philadelphia: Da Capo Press, 2016 (8th edition). Pp. 153 & 156.

iiMagnesium, a treatment for leg cramps? (2014, February 28). Retrieved April 07, 2017, from http://www.nps.org.au/publications/health-professional/health-news-evide...