Pregnancy should be a time of great excitement and happiness for women. We understand that sleep is an essential part of your daily routine during pregnancy when your body is undergoing hormonal changes and using up a lot more energy.
Women are usually prepared for the sleepless nights that their little bundle of joy’s bring when they are born, however 78% of women claimed that their sleep was more disturbed during pregnancy according to the National Sleep Foundation’s 1998 Women and Sleep Poll.
Particular problems with sleeping tend to occur during first trimester of pregnancy when disrupted sleep often results from women regularly waking up and needing the bathroom during the night, as well as increased physical and emotional stress associated with pregnancy keeping them awake. The third trimester can also cause increased sleep disturbance for women due to nausea, heartburn, snoring and leg cramps, as well as more frequent trips to the bathroom and general discomfort due to the growing size of the belly. Take a look at WebMD to read more on how your sleep is affected by each trimester.
Sleep during pregnancy is essential as you will generally be more fatigued from your bodies effort of growing the baby. Lisa J. Shives, a sleep expert says that your heart is having to work extra hard to carry the blood flow around the body and to the baby, but also the increase of the hormone progesterone also causes tiredness.
To help give you the best chance of a good night’s sleep, we have put together some useful tips to help reduce sleep disruption during pregnancy so that your body is getting the opportunity to rest and restore itself overnight.
The perfect sleeping position
Sleeping on your side is recommended to help give you a better night’s sleep. Although you may not find this very comfortable to start with, sleeping on your side will help reduce backaches and haemorrhoids, as well as helping to control your digestion and breathing.
Lying on your side will help to increase the blood flow and nutrients to reach the placenta and baby, as well as helping your body to get rid of wastes and fluids more easily. If you want to read more on how sleeping in different positions can affect your quality of sleep then India Parenting’s article is worth a read!
Putting pillows to use
Tactically placing pillows around your body will help to make you feel more comfortable in order to give you a better night’s sleep. Try using a firm pillow to prop your head and upper body up which may help put less pressure on your diaphragm making your breathing easier.
As sleeping on your side is a great position to aid sleep, you could also try placing a pillow under your tummy and another one between your legs to help your support your lower back and generally make the sleeping position more comfortable.
If you’re needing more pillows to help create the perfect sleeping position, then head to our pillow page at Sleepy People where you can select pillows based on size, filling and firmness to place around your body so that you are in the best position for a restful night’s sleep.
Make your bedroom a sleep haven
During pregnancy your body heat tends to increase, therefore a stuffy and overly warm room won’t do your quality of sleep much good. Whether you regulate your bedroom with a thermostat or experiment with opening windows or having a lighter duvet, try and find a temperature which works well for you.
As part of your sleep sanctuary, keep any noise or lights to a minimum which might disturb you during the night. In particular, make sure you turn any technological devices off before bed which you may be tempted to look at during the night as the blue lights emitting from electronic devices affect melatonin, the hormone responsible for inducing sleep.
Avoid turning to your phone or any electronic devices for entertainment during the night as you only increase your wakefulness!
Be careful of what you eat and drink
There are certain foods and drinks which pregnant women are recommended to avoid altogether for the safety of their baby, however there are other food types which pregnant women might want to prevent having of an evening which can contribute to a poor night’s sleep.
Caffeine, found in coffee, tea and chocolate is one to avoid as they will increase your heart rate and keep you awake.
Try also to avoid eating large and heavy meals late in the evening which could cause heartburn and trouble digesting your food. Spicy foods are another food type which are not ideal to eat of an evening as the heavy spices, and in particular chilli peppers may increase your metabolic rate which won’t do much to give you a good quality night’s sleep!
Want to know which other foods may result in a disturbed night’s sleep? The Food Network gives some other suggestions as to what you might to avoid eating before bed!
If you can’t sleep, don’t worry!
If you are having trouble sleeping, then worrying won’t help. Interrupted sleep during pregnancy is normal and very common.
Rather than lying in bed tossing and turning, try getting up out of bed and going to do something mundane and boring such as putting the drying up away or folding clothes. Reading a book or listening to soothing music may also help. Once you feel calm and suitably tired, try getting back into bed and see if you can drift off to sleep.