Getting the optimum level of sleep is hard enough in today’s environment. However, if you add a pregnancy into the equation too, then you may find that obtaining a restful night’s sleep is even tougher.
Early pregnancy may cause sleep disturbances due to hormonal imbalance as well as anxiety about the future and new family member. Then, later on in your pregnancy, you may find sleep tricky due to your new body shape making you uncomfortable, or hot flushes caused by hormonal changes and an increase in blood supply. Also, you may find you wake up needing the toilet more often in the night because of the pressure on your bladder from your growing bump.
We know how important a good night’s sleep is for everyone, especially those who are expecting. Here we have put together a list of hints and tips to help you to get better sleep during your pregnancy.
Try a Pregnancy Pillow
During pregnancy, women are encouraged to sleep on their left side rather than their back or right side. The reason is because sleeping on your left will promote blood circulation to help reduce any swelling or achy joint pain in your body. It also means that your uterus will not be resting on your liver, which is located on the right-hand side of your abdomen.
When sleeping on your side during pregnancy, especially in the last semester, you may find it more comfortable to sleep with a pillow supporting your bump and/or between your knees. This is to avoid pressure caused by the weight of your bump.
There are many different pregnancy pillows available on the market, including U-shaped pillows which provides comfort to both sides of your body. Do your research and find a pregnancy pillow that works best for you and your sleep environment.
Stay Active During The Day as Much as You Can
Doing exercise during your pregnancy is safe and healthy and can help you to retain your current level of fitness throughout your 9 months. It may also help your body to prepare better for labour. You might choose to walk, jog, swim, do pregnancy yoga or Pilates.
Research also indicates that exercise can help to improve your quality sleep. Staying active may help you to fall asleep faster, as well as staying asleep for longer. Try some light stretching or yoga postures before bed to help you to relax before drifting off.
Watch What You Eat & Drink
What and when you eat could have more of an impact on your sleep quality than you think. Try to continue to eat a varied diet throughout your pregnancy, consisting of at least 5 portions of fruit and veg per day, as well as wholegrains and protein. Also, it’s a good idea to have bigger meals for breakfast and lunch, and then a lighter meal for dinner so that you don’t wake up from indigestion or nausea.
Limit your intake of caffeine and avoid altogether in the afternoons and before bedtime if you can. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 12 hours and will affect your ability to fall into a deep sleep. You might find yourself waking up in the middle of the night when the effects have worn off from your system. Remember, it’s advised that you shouldn’t drink any more than 200mg of caffeine a day anyway – that’s 2 cups of instant coffee.
We hope that some of these tips help you to enjoy a longer and more restful sleep all the way through your pregnancy.