If you’re looking for tips on how to sleep better during your pregnancy you’re in the right place.
Ideally, 8 hours of sleep are enough to charge your batteries. But do you usually get full 8 hours of quality sleep between the million things you have to do in your life? Not really. Now that you’re pregnant you’re definitely sleep deprived. I was.
First, it’s the urgent need of going to the bathroom every 5 minutes throughout the day and throughout the night. That was a major reason why I barely slept when I was pregnant. Once I woke up it was hard for me to go back to sleep. So I was awake most of the night. As you move forward and your belly gets bigger sleeping really becomes problematic. And not only sleeping. You may want to read this article where I share all my pregnancy tips.
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So what are common issues that pregnant women face when it comes to sleeping?
You want to read this because sooner or later you will deal with these. I thought I was lucky in the beginning because I had no problem but later on I realized that some things you just can’t avoid when you’re pregnant.
This is common. It means you can’t sleep no matter what you do. As a an expectant mother, you have good reasons to suffer from insomnia. One main cause is the anxiety related to the upcoming labor and delivery, mainly if you are at your first pregnancy. Everything is new and unknown so stress, fear and nervousness take over your mind. In other words, you tend to freak out.
You’re not the only one. So just try to take one step at a time. Your insomnia could also be caused by any discomfort coming from the fetus you’re carrying in your womb. I mean that’s a pretty serious task your body is performing. It’s not easy. Remember that your fetus is also moving and that could also cause discomfort and back pain. More reasons for you not to rest properly.
RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME
I hated this. It felt as if I had worms in my legs. Bad comparison. Anyhow, if you get this condition you feel like you constantly have to move your legs. It gives you the sensation of cramping, burning or creeping.
Not fun! Who can sleep with all of this going on? These symptoms tend to get worse towards the end of your pregnancy. But there is hope. After you give birth this will go away.
Or obstructive sleep apnea to be exact means your upper airways are obstructed so your breathing is interrupted while you sleep. When this happens you may snore as well. But it’s like a pattern: you snore, you pause breathing, you gasp as if you were choking and you breathe in again and then you snore again and so on.
This is not quality sleep. It makes your brain wake up to force your body to breathe more. Why would you suffer from sleep apnea if you’re pregnant you may ask? Well, pregnant women tend to gain weight (I gained 50 lbs) so all of that fatty tissues of the throat relax when you sleep and tend to collapse, thus obstructing the airways.
GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease or heartburn as we know it. I didn’t have this till the very end of my pregnancy. I guess I was lucky in that sense. As you may know already, your hormones throw a real party when you’re pregnant. They just go wild. With that, you get advantages and disadvantages.
One disadvantage would be your muscles in your esophagus which tend to become lazy and they don’t push your food down fast enough. So you get heartburns. On top of that, your growing fetus will slowly start putting pressure on your stomach and as a result of that pushing stomach acids up into your esophagus. Sleeping in an inclined position really helped me. You may wanna try that.
URGE TO PEE
This is the first thing that I mentioned in my introduction because this will take over your life. But you still have to continue drinking your water. Your fetus needs plenty of fluid and you need to make sure you provide that. Nobody will judge a pregnant woman going to the bathroom too often. Trust me!
Alright now that you are aware of the common sleeping problems that most pregnant women deal with, and you could be one of them, you need to know what you can do about it. Or is there anything you can do about it? Yes, there is.
The key is to prevent the problems rather than solving them because that means you already have them. Let’s see what you can actually do to prevent any sleeping problems.
1. ARE YOU SLEEPY? SLEEP
What I mean is that if you can afford, sleep or nap when you feel like it. I worked part-time during my pregnancy so I kind of had more time on my hands. I used to nap even twice throughout the day.
Whenever I had the chance I would sleep to make up my restless nights. Just make sure you don’t nap too close to your bedtime. Make sleep your priority and if you could stick to a schedule, meaning going to bed and waking up at a certain time, that would be better.
I don’t say go and do push-ups. Obviously, not, but any kind of movement is good for you: improves blood flow, mood and gets you tired so you can fall asleep faster. I used to walk. I had a high-risk pregnancy so I had some restrictions but walking was my thing. Whatever you choose, do advise with your doctor first. Don’t make your own decisions.
3. DON’T DRINK THAT MUCH WATER AT NIGHT
Don’t drink a gallon right before bedtime. You will definitely stay awake the whole night. Try to limit your fluids in the evening when you know you’ll go to bed soon.
4. REDUCE SPICY FOOD
If you eat spicy you may get heartburn, as I mentioned earlier. Eating a lot is also not good. That’s gonna make your digestive system work harder during sleep. You don’t want that much activity going on. So have a light dinner without too much spiciness and you’ll be fine. Find out more about pregnancy food here.
5. SLEEP ON YOUR LEFT SIDE
I love sleeping on my right side so I found myself breaking this rule so many times. The reason they say to sleep on your left side when you’re pregnant is that it will ensure blood flow and nutrients to your fetus, uterus and kidneys. A pregnancy pillow might help. It will give you the comfort you need.
6. CAN’T SLEEP? THEN DON’T
If can’t just sleep then don’t torture yourself. Get out of bed and do something, ideally something that would make you sleepy. I used to read on my phone until my eyes finally became tired.
Don’t forget to pee right before bedtime and lower the air conditioning.
If your sleeping problems continue and you seem not to find any relief you better talk to your doctor. To make your life easier I made a pregnancy symptom tracker where you can write down your symptoms, comments or questions you may want to ask your doctor. This tracker helps you keep all your notes or rather thoughts together. Access it here.
Until next time,