Getting the Best Possible Sleep During Pregnancy
Sleeplessness during pregnancy is a real concern. Learn more about it and get tips on how to sleep more and sleep better.
Pregnancy is a journey. It will have its ups and downs just like any other event in your life and, sometimes, the downs can really wear you out!
Among the things that pregnant women may need the most is sleep but not because of the warnings telling them to sleep now while they can.
Why is it so hard?
Let’s try to understand why this happens.
First, keep in mind that you are going through some hormonal changes. This is the main reason why you may find it difficult to sleep.
In addition to your regular body functions, your hormones are helping your body adjust to nurturing another human being. These hormonal changes can sometimes cause discomfort in the form of nausea, leg cramps, heartburn, and, particularly during the third trimester, the need to go to the bathroom several times during the night. As your belly grows bigger, you may also begin experiencing joint pains and the need to find the proper sleep position to make your little one’s extra weight feel more supported.
And that’s just the physical part.
The second reason you may have a hard time sleeping? Anticipation and excitement. Both can trigger a wide range of emotions both positive and negative. As a result, you may find yourself having more vivid dreams and, yes, unable to reach a more restful sleep state.
Try not to beat yourself up too much over it, mom! Remember, the more you worry about something, the more difficult it will be to shake it off and get the quality sleep that you need throughout your journey.
So, if you find yourself craving more hours of sleep than usual, don’t worry: help is not far behind.
Is it something you ate?
One of the easiest ways to manage this is to avoid caffeine, especially closer to your bedtime.
Eat as well as you can so that you don’t find yourself waking up hungry in the middle of the night. If heartburn is your problem rather than hunger, try having smaller, more frequent meals. You can also use a few more pillows to elevate your upper body slightly and help keep those stomach acids down.
Comfort is key
Finding the right position to sleep in can be challenging as the months go on. While you definitely cannot sleep on your belly, you can try sleeping on your back or on your side.
Love pillows? Being pregnant is probably the best excuse to hoard all the pillows you need to make a nice, comfortable nest for yourself. Place pillows under your knees if you’re experiencing backaches or under your ankles if you need to alleviate swelling caused by poor circulation or fluid retention in your legs. By getting the right support throughout the night, you can better assure yourself of getting a comfortable night’s sleep.
Create your own sleep routine
Sleep routines are as good for moms as they are for kids! If you didn’t already have a sleep routine before pregnancy, this could be a good time to establish one. Do things that help you relax like reading or listening to music.
Stay away from the screen
As much as possible, keep your hands off your gadgets. Studies have shown that the blue light from screens can block melatonin and keep you awake longer. So the more you use your phone or tablet to entertain yourself, the longer you’ll likely stay awake. But what about Netflix? If you must have your TV or movie fix, lowering the brightness of the screen or warming up the tone of the light may help.
Once you start feeling those baby growing pains and pressure, have a warm shower or bath to relax your aching muscles. A light massage might help as well, just make sure that your masseuse is aware that you are pregnant so they avoid massaging any pressure points that may trigger contractions. Or better yet, your hubby can be your on-call masseuse.
Exercising can help you stay fit and keep your muscles ready as your belly grows bigger and heavier. Make sure to check with your doctor how much you can exert yourself. If you are not typically physically active, you may want to take it slowly by doing a bit of stretching or yoga, or even walking around the house or your neighborhood — don’t forget to stay safe and wear a mask!
Get the support you need
Whatever you might be going through, your most important source of support will be your partner. Share your difficulties and concerns with each other. Doing so can help you find actionable solutions to physical problems while communicating any anxieties can give both of you the chance to remind each other that you are doing this together.
If you still feel that you are unable to get the right amount and quality of sleep that you need, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor. Your doctor may be able to let you know if you need to do more to address your discomfort like suggesting safe-to-take medication.
About The Writer
Rosabelle Fontelera-Yong is married with two kids ages 8 and 5, and also calls herself a mom to two dogs and six cats. She is a Creative Writing graduate from UP Diliman and has been a freelance writer since 2009, with a wide range of uncredited and credited work under her belt.
Some of her work can be found in print via Animal Scene and Wedding Essentials, and online via Mantle and edamama.
When she is not writing, she spends her time crafting, painting, and baking, occasionally with help from her kids. Rosa enjoys encouraging creativity in her children which is evident in the number of drawings and diagrams they have plastered on various walls around the house.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and do not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.