5 Tips For Better Sleep In Pregnancy
When you find out you’re expecting, people are quick to tell you to enjoy your sleep while you can, but what they fail to mention is that sleeping while pregnant can be hard. Aching boobs, acid reflux, night sweats, not to mention the giant bump that makes rolling over a nightly struggle - these are just a few of the things most women face while pregnant.
But, while we can’t remove the uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy, we can take steps to make them a little more bearable. If you’re someone who loves your sleep, take note, these five tips will be game-changers during your final trimester.
1. Fresh Air and Exercise
When your walk is more of a waddle, the last thing you might feel like doing is going out for a brisk stroll, but getting fresh air and exercise can help you sleep better at night. Not only will you get a boost of endorphins, which keep those stress hormones at bay, but the more you can tire your body out, the easier it is to drift off to sleep at the end of the day. And that’s not the only benefit…
Fresh air and exercise help promote sleep.
According to several research papers, doing 35-90 minutes of aerobic activity three to four times per week during pregnancy is linked to a higher likelihood of vaginal delivery and a decreased risk of gestational diabetes.
2. Pre-Bedtime Rituals
Raise your hand if you’re guilty of lying in bed late at night catching up on social media. ✋
That’s the first habit to ditch if you want to sleep well. By giving your brain the right cues that it’s time to wind down, you’re much more likely to be able to switch off and rest. Instead of your phone, try reading before bed (ideally avoid screens for an hour before bedtime). You might also want to practice relaxation techniques like mindfulness, meditation or yoga - the Insight Timer app is a great place to start.
3. Choose Your Beverages Wisely
We’re not here to preach about avoiding caffeine, no sirree. We’re all grown women who can make the best decision for our individual circumstances. That being said, if you want to get a good night sleep, it’s best to avoid tea or coffee for at least six hours before you go to bed.
Another issue many women battle during late pregnancy is their seemingly constantly full bladder. If you find you’re having to get up to visit the loo just as you get comfortable in bed, it might be worth shifting your hydration hours earlier in the day, so your bladder is fairly empty by the late evening.
4. Get Comfy
Yes, getting comfy is easier said than done when you’re smuggling a bowling ball up your top, but there are ways to give yourself a helping hand. A must-have sleep aid that should be on every expecting mum’s wishlist is the humble pregnancy pillow. While all manner of shapes and sizes have appeared on the market over the last decade, a simple v-cushion is often all you need to sleep more comfortably.
Not only do v-cushions provide the perfect support for your bump or legs, but they also happen to be excellent nursing pillows! Just don’t be surprised if you fall so in love with your pregnancy pillow that you continue using it for years after giving birth. My youngest is six years old and I still can’t sleep without one!
Pregnancy pillows make great breastfeeding pillows too!
5. Help The Heartburn
Last but certainly not least is the horror of heartburn. Facing so many women during the second and third trimesters, it vanishes overnight once you give birth. Still, that’s not much consolation when you’re lying in bed gulping chewing on antacids like they’re Skittles.
Heartburn is caused when the valve that joins your oesophagus and stomach relaxes during pregnancy. This is due to hormonal changes at first, and often gets worse as your baby gets bigger and your uterus presses against the stomach. To minimise the effects of heartburn, eat little and often, avoiding spicy foods. You may also want to elevate your head either by sleeping propped up on your pregnancy pillow or by raising the head of your bed by 10-15cm.
While we hope these tips give you a more restful sleep, please consult with your GP or midwife if you are struggling.
Get prepared for the next stage of your journey with Postpartum Self-Care.
Originally from New Zealand, Sarah is a mother to two boys and has lived in the UK for the past 10 years. She is a home educator, freelance writer, Netflix-binger and has a penchant for strong black coffee.