Your body is working overtime and all you want to do is help yourself out by getting a great night's sleep. Growing a baby isn’t an easy task so it’s no wonder you’re having a hard time resisting the urge to take an afternoon nap at the office.
Sleep during pregnancy is important for your health and your baby’s too. The catch? Finding a way to sleep long enough and be comfortable isn’t always easy when you’re pregnant--even though you feel like you could sleep for ages.
Between the heartburn, the changing shape of your body and anxieties that may keep you awake, sleep problems during pregnancy are to be expected. In fact, according to a 2014 study published in Sleep Medicine, a whopping three in four women experience sleep problems during pregnancy. All the women who participated in the study reported experiencing “frequent nighttime awakenings” and half said they had “significant daytime sleepiness” because of their lack of sleep.
So, what is a mother-to-be to do? Here are five tips to help you get better sleep during pregnancy:
Sleep on Your Side
As your baby grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. If you’re a tummy sleeper, suddenly you have to figure out how to sleep in a new way. According to the American Pregnancy Association, sleeping on your left side is best for you and your baby.
“Sleeping on your left side will increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby,” suggests American Pregnancy Association. Sleeping on your side can also help you rest without waking from aches and pains in your back common in pregnancy.
Skip the Late Night Snacks
Heartburn is uncomfortable, and thanks to hormones during pregnancy, it’s not an uncommon side effect. As many as eight in 10 women experience heartburn at some point during their pregnancy. Since symptoms tend to get worse when you lay down, try propping up your pillows and skipping those late night snacks to reduce effect on sleep.
“Avoid eating within three hours of going to bed at night,” suggests NHS Choices. You should also try to limit the foods that tend to make it works for you--typically spicier foods--and talk to your doctor if you find it really impacting your sleep.
Grab a Body Pillow
Body pillows are heaven for a pregnant woman. Sure, they take up a lot of room on your bed, but being able to find a comfortable sleeping position is everything when it comes to trying to feel rested when you wake up.
A full-body pillow, like the Snoogle allows you to prop up your growing belly while it supports your lower back and legs, leading to fewer aches overall. A pillow like this can also be used when your baby is born because it makes a great nursing pillow too.
Try Light Exercise
“Find a low-impact exercise and include it into daily life,” suggests the Restless Leg Syndrome Foundation. Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) plagues many pregnant women and can severely disrupt any attempts to get comfortable sleep because it feels like your legs are twitching and you have an overwhelming urge to move.
Try incorporating swimming or walking into your daily routine and you may be surprised with how moving more during the day can help you sleep better at night. Of course, before starting any exercise routine, check with your care provider to make sure it’s right for you and your baby.
Turn Down the Temperature
If you toss and turn at night because you can’t get comfortable, try turning down the temperature. Your “body heater” is in overdrive when you’re pregnant because, well, you’re growing a baby.
Consider sleeping with the window open or use a humidifier which will improve air quality, control the temperature, and help you catch more restful sleep while you’re pregnant.
If you’ve tried all these tips and you’re still struggling to fall asleep, try to look on the bright side. You won’t be pregnant forever and soon you’ll trade your frustrations of not being able to get comfortable for sleepless nights with your newborn--think of it as training for those days.