What You Need to Know About Sleep During Pregnancy
If you're in the third trimester, nothing can be more frustrating than hearing 'sleep while you can' or 'sleep before the baby comes'. Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be challenging for many women, particularly when it comes to sleep. Pregnancy insomnia affects around 75% of women during pregnancy; if you're one of them, we've got some tips that might help you get some of that well deserved rest.
Causes of Pregnancy Insomnia
There are several reasons why pregnant women experience insomnia. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect sleep, particularly during the first and third trimesters. Progesterone levels increase during pregnancy, which can cause drowsiness during the day but also make it difficult to fall asleep at night.
Additionally, as the baby grows, it can become challenging to find a comfortable sleeping position, leading to tossing and turning throughout the night. Women may also experience leg cramps, heartburn, and the need to wake to pee frequently, all of which can disrupt sleep.
Effects of Pregnancy Insomnia
Sleep is essential for mental health and well-being, and poor sleep during pregnancy can lead to mood swings and increased anxiety. Whilst your body can adapt to less sleep, trying to rest and having some helpful strategies in place will stand you in good stead for when your little one arrives!
Relief for Pregnancy Insomnia
There are a number of ways you can try to help get some of those precious zzzzs...
- Improve your sleep habits. Having a bedtime routine can help massively with your sleep quality. Try to maintain the same sleep/wake times throughout the week and avoid napping during the day as this can disrupt your night-time routine. Limiting any caffeine intake before bed may also help improve your quality of sleep.
- Sleep on your side, preferably your left side. Sleeping on your side is the best position during pregnancy, as it increases blood flow to the uterus and your baby.
- Improve your sleep habits. Good sleep hygiene is essential for improving sleep quality. Pregnancy can be a very stressful time with frequent changes to your body and hormones being out of balance. Try to maintain the same sleep/wake times throughout the week and avoid napping during the day as this can disrupt your night-time routine. Limiting any caffeine intake before bed may also help improve your quality of sleep.
- Be mindful of what and when you eat. Heartburn and nausea a can disrupt your sleep during pregnancy. Try to avoid eating too late before bed and try to avoid foods that trigger your heartburn. Peppermint tea is a lifesaver!
- Move your body for a relaxed mind. Regular exercise during pregnancy can help improve sleep quality. Exercise helps release endorphins, which are hormones that make you feel happier and more relaxed, helping to improve your quality of sleep. Opt for light exercises like walking, yoga or swimming and avoid exercising close to bedtime as this can actually make it harder to fall asleep.
- Use pillows for support. If you haven't already stocked up, get yourself a pregnancy pillow! They can help support the belly and reduce pressure on the hips and lower back, leading to a much comfier sleep. Plus, they're wonderful supports for feeding too after baby arrives
- Give yourself a restful environment. Don’t forget to make sure the room is well ventilated, dark, and not too warm or cold. Use curtains to block out any light from the street and opt for comfortable bedding and pillows to provide more support. Invest in a white noise machine to drown out any outside noise that could be disturbing your sleep. Finally, make sure all bedroom electronics like TVs, laptops and tablets are powered off for a better night's rest.
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