How to Sleep While Pregnant?: How to Get the Comfort You Deserve

Are you having trouble sleeping at night while your baby is rapidly growing? According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, many pregnant women have a hard time getting the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep a night, especially as they get further along in the pregnancy. 

There are many factors that influence a lack of sleep when it comes to pregnancy. These include hormones constantly changing, low blood pressure and blood sugar, and the worries and stress on your body that come with forming another human inside of you. 

Sleep is an essential part of pregnancy and should be taken seriously. There are negative side effects to sleep deprivation during pregnancy that may include higher chances of preterm labor and C-Section in some cases, as well as experiencing longer, more painful labor. Luckily, there are ways to improve your sleep during pregnancy to get the comfort you deserve. 

Women who are pregnant should actually get a few more hours of sleep per night and supplement any missed nighttime sleep with naps during the day, according to the National Institutes of Health

This may seem impossible to overcome right away, especially in the first trimester. But have no fear, because here are some beneficial tips on how to sleep while pregnant. 

Activity Level

Increasing your level of activity during this time is an excellent way to increase regular, full sleep time at night. The Sleep Foundation recommends that you stay active to improve circulation and stay healthy during pregnancy. Exercising while pregnant can also help improve both physical and mental health during the constant change going on to your body. 

Studies at the University of North Carolina show that only 23% of women did as much physical activity as recommended by government and health groups. In the U.S., every 3 out of 4 pregnant women do not get enough exercise as needed. 

Staying active while pregnant may include a 30-minute moderately intense workout, ideally every single day while pregnant. Walking is also an excellent beginner’s method of staying active during pregnancy. 

Whichever you choose, try to keep a positive outlook as you are helping grow your little one. Bring some headphones and listen to a few of your favorite tunes or a friend that lives around the corner to keep you motivated. Your activity levels will help determine your sleep pattern. 

If you put in a good amount of time into staying active during the waking hours of the day, your chances of getting a full night's rest will increase while your body prepares to restart again tomorrow. 

Peaceful Bedroom

Adding curtains to your bedroom may increase your quality of sleep by blocking out any light. Creating a calming, dark, and cool environment supports a healthier, more restful sleep. Keep your room as quiet as possible during these times to prevent any loud noises and distractions during your nighttime rest. 

“Darkness is essential to sleep. The absence of light sends a critical signal to the body that it is time to rest. Light exposure at the wrong times alters the body's internal "sleep clock"—the biological mechanism that regulates sleep-wake cycles—in ways that interfere with both the quantity and quality of sleep.” When it’s dark, your body knows that it’s time to rest, so using curtains to help make your room even darker can be beneficial to getting more sleep, according to officials on recent sleep studies

Ultimately, you want to sleep in a dark, cool, and peaceful room to support healthy sleep and increase your overall quality of rest during pregnancy. 

Lavender is a great agent in promoting sleep. It has been a suggested remedy to treat insomnia and improve sleep quality. You can use lavender for sleep via a method called aromatherapy, by dropping lavender essential oil into a diffuser. Diffusers are a simple, sophisticated addition to any room. 

Alternatively, the lavender essential oil can be rubbed on the chest and back of the neck to promote sleep and prevent insomnia during pregnancy. Just make sure to follow manufacturer instructions when doing so because many essential oils need to be diluted before they can touch your skin. 

Lavender is a holistic approach to improving your quality of sleep, either by massage, topical use, or aromatherapy. This method may even create a lasting, calming effect on your overall sleep habits as well. 

Limit Drinking Water Before Bed

During pregnancy, it is advised to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated because you are doing the work for two. However, limiting the hours when you drink water can be beneficial to getting the comfort and sleep you deserve at night. 

If you stop drinking water a couple of hours before you go to bed, this will decrease your frequent trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night and allow you to sleep peacefully. 

It is recommended that men drink 3.7 liters of water a day, while women are recommended to drink 2.7 liters per day. However, while pregnant, it is recommended that you intake more accounting for your growing baby. Just be sure to start earlier in the day, and finish a couple of hours before you want to go to sleep so that you can stay in bed and rest the whole night through.

Try Extra Pillows

Extra pillows are a great method to try if you find that others may not be working for you and your body. Listen to what your body is telling you. 

Full body pillows are widely known to keep expecting mothers in the SOS (sleep on your side) position. This position gives you max comfort without risking any harm to your baby. A memory foam knee pillow can also aid comfort in this position. 

Adding extra pillows may be the right move for you during these next nine months. Add extra pillows underneath your belly to support alignment, or use a neck pillow if you are having trouble supporting your head. 

So, if getting 8 to 10 hours of sleep at night seems like an impossible task, know that there are plenty of strategies to practice into your daily routine. Getting plenty of sleep while being pregnant may seem like a myth, but it is to be taken seriously. Not getting enough hours of rest can have effects on birth like preeclampsia. 

Limit Caffeine

Caffeine is a widely controversial topic when it comes to consumption during pregnancy. It is known to be the most popular drug in the world and is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and some soft drinks. 

However, just be sure to limit your intake of tea and other caffeinated beverages a couple of hours before sleeping. Caffeine blocks sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain and increases adrenaline production.

It may seem like a good idea to give you that morning boost, just be sure to pay attention to when you are consuming caffeine. According to studies found at SleepFoundation, it takes six hours to eliminate one half of the caffeine consumed. 

Getting quality sleep and comfort during pregnancy is essential to the health and wellness of your body, current and postpartum, as well as the health of your growing baby. 

It is recommended that women who are pregnant limit their caffeine intake to 200mg. This is equivalent to about 2.6 shots of espresso and 2 ½ 8 fl oz Red Bulls. While pregnant, if you are having trouble sleeping and discomfort, try to limit your daily amount of caffeine.

Start a Nightly Routine

You deserve to have comfort while you journey through these next nine months of pregnancy. Starting a nightly routine before bed to help relax and calm the body and mind may help support restful, comfortable sleep while pregnant. 

This could mean lighting your favorite candle or sitting in a relaxed position on the end of the bed with your eyes closed, or taking a few mindful deep breaths while you count down from 30.

Whichever method works for you, start to carve out just 15 minutes before trying to go to sleep to unwind and set the intention for a peaceful, comfortable sleep. Meditation is a recommended technique to practice calming the mind and surrendering yourself to ultimate relaxation. 

A good beginner’s tip is to start with some mindful deep breathing practices. Preparing yourself for a good night’s sleep may just begin with a little adjustment of your nightly habits. Try working in a nightly routine before you go to bed to promote relaxation and to help you get a better night’s sleep.  

Get Some Rest

If you are someone who is constantly waking up in the middle of the night and you don't feel rested when you wake up the next morning during pregnancy, you may want to consider trying a few of these suggested tips. 

Sleep is essential, especially while pregnant, and may even lead to serious birth complications if you are getting under five hours of sleep per night. Staying active, starting a nightly routine, and limiting caffeine may help improve your quality of sleep during pregnancy. 

If you are experiencing extreme pains and discomfort during the night, never hesitate to contact your doctor right away. 

Sources:

https://familydoctor.org/getting-enough-sleep-pregnancy/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2824023/

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/sleep-tips-pregnant-women

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/pregnancy-insomnia

https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/sleeping-positions-while-pregnant-1012

http://sleep.mysplus.com/library/category2/article1.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/sleep-pregnancy-and-blood-pressure

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/caffeine-and-sleep

https://www.caffeineinformer.com/caffeine-safe-limits#:~:text=In%20summary%2C%20most%20experts%20agree,8%20fl%20oz%20Red%20Bulls

https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/pregnancy/should-i-limit-caffeine-during-pregnancy/#:~:text=If%20you're%20pregnant%2C%20limit,health%20problems%20in%20later%20life.

https://www.nosleeplessnights.com/sleep-hygiene/bedtime-routine-for-adults/

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