Pregnancy can take a toll on your body, and one of the most common problems expecting mothers face is fatigue. Your body requires sleep to house, nourish and grow your unborn baby, but these same processes make sleeping difficult. From hormonal changes to cramps and anxiety, a wide range of conditions can disrupt your rest at a time when you need it most. If you’re pregnant and struggling with a lack of sleep, here are seven tips for making yourself more comfortable at bedtime.
- Use All the Pillows
If you don’t already have one made specifically for pregnancy, now’s the time to pick up all the decorative pillows from your floor and put them to good use. Remove the pressure from your back and abdomen by placing one under your belly. Additionally, place another between your legs to support your hips and spine. If you’re struggling with breathing or reflux during the night, try sleeping in a reclined position with your head and shoulders elevated.
- Become a Side Sleeper
One of the most common doctor-recommended tips on sleeping better is to sleep on your side with your knees bent. This method removes pressure from your spine and back muscles once your belly starts to grow. However, sleeping on the right side can place extra pressure on your internal organs including the liver. In fact, experts encourage laying on the left side of the body to increase blood flow and support a healthy placenta.
- Stay Active
Regular exercise is not only good for you but may even help you fall and stay easier during pregnancy. Thirty minutes of activity at least four hours before bedtime each day is enough to support your physical and mental health without the risk of overexertion or injury. So, go for a walk, or find a pregnancy exercise class at a gym near you.
- Stop Scrolling in Bed
The best environment for sleep is a dark, quiet room. A set sleep schedule is best for managing your circadian rhythm and supporting sleep health. Contrary to popular belief. reading or playing games on your phone does not help you fall asleep because the blue light emitted from electronic devices convinces your brain that it’s daytime. Therefore, it’s best to leave them in another room and resort to better relaxation methods instead.
- Perfect Your Wind-down Routine
If your pregnancy anxiety is the thing keeping you awake at night, then perfecting your bedtime routine may help you train your brain and body to relax and fall asleep. To calm your mind, consider a relaxation practice like guided meditation or pregnancy yoga. Take a warm bath, do some stretches or ask your partner for a soothing massage.
- Limit Fluids Before Bedtime
Even if you’re relatively healthy otherwise, the baby resting on your bladder will undoubtedly have you running to the bathroom several times throughout the night. While your body requires extra hydration during pregnancy, try to limit your intake in the three hours before bedtime, and make sure to urinate right before crawling into bed to help avoid unnecessary middle-of-the-night disruptions. Additionally, stay away from coffee and soda as caffeine has diuretic properties that will make you need to urinate more often.
- Lower the Air Temperature
One of the side effects of pregnancy is elevated body temperature, due to the extra blood flow to the skin. You already feel warmer than you normally would, and crawling under the covers beside your partner won’t help you keep cool throughout the night. By lowering the thermostat and using lightweight sheets or blankets, you can maximize your comfort level and decrease your chances of tossing, turning and kicking covers away in your sleep due to discomfort.
If you continue to have trouble sleeping during pregnancy, you should talk to your health care provider to determine if other health factors may be contributing to your insomnia.