How To Sleep Better When Pregnant
Anyone that has been following me for a while knows that I believe in making sleep a priority. Sleep is important for our health, and when it comes to getting a good sleep pregnant, let’s just say it isn’t always easy! I’ve needed some help dealing with a lack of sleep a few times.
What can be difficult during this time is trying to find comfortable sleeping positions, especially during the third trimester of pregnancy. I’m going to share some tips that have been helpful for me during pregnancy, so you can try to get better sleep.
Common pregnancy sleep problems
Each stage of pregnancy can bring with it a few challenges. Getting plenty of sleep while pregnant can be a particularly tough one because it is common to feel tired A LOT! You may find it hard to get a nice deep sleep that leaves you feeling refreshed or you might struggle to actually get to sleep to begin with.
What can stop you getting a peaceful night of sleep pregnant:
- Leg cramps or backaches
- A busy mind
- An increased heart rate
- Needing to go to the toilet frequently.
As you might already know, your body repairs itself during sleep. Getting adequate sleep is important for your health and your baby’s as well. Sleep helps to control how your body reacts to insulin, so a lack of sleep can cause a higher blood sugar level. During pregnancy, this may increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes — which is why it is important to make sleep a priority.
How much sleep do you need during pregnancy?
Many mums-to-be don’t get the same amount of restful, restorative sleep needed each night during pregnancy because of the changes above. That means you should try to prioritise getting as much sleep as possible when you can.
Make it a priority to try to get an average of 7-8 hours of sleep while pregnant. Even if sleeping through the night is difficult, setting aside the time means you can still be resting.
Taking a short afternoon nap (30 minutes or more), if possible, can help you to catch up on lost sleep. Before you worry too much that you can’t sleep pregnant — try to rest when you can during the day, even if you don’t think you will fall asleep.
Sleeping during the first trimester
Lots of people are dealing with nausea during the first trimester of pregnancy, which can lead to poor sleep.
Having a light snack before bed may help to settle your stomach but try not to eat anything too heavy. Try to cut back on caffeinated drinks like coffee or tea. Too much caffeine can increase your heart rate and mental awareness, making it hard to sleep.
During the first trimester, there are a lot of changes happening and you will most likely feel more tired than you did before falling pregnant. Try to follow a bedtime routine each night and set aside regular time for sleep. Get into the habit of sleeping on your left side now, it can make it easier as your pregnancy progresses. Sleeping on the left side minimises the chance of compressing the vena cava, the vein responsible for returning blood to your heart.
Sleeping during the second trimester
During the second trimester, hormonal changes can leave you feeling congested. That can lead to snoring or difficulty breathing easily. Having a humidifier running can help to reduce this, but speak with your healthcare professional if you have any concerns.
The second trimester can be easier on some women, although not all of them, so try to get more sleep if possible (around 7-8 hours per day). A pregnancy pillow can help to make sleeping positions suitable for pregnancy more comfortable, like lying on your side. You could also try placing a pillow behind your back to support you.
Leg cramps can disrupt your sleep while pregnant, so just as you would treat leg cramps any other time, gently stretch your calf muscles or flex your toes. Being active during the day and staying hydrated can also help to minimise cramps.
Sleeping during the third trimester
Something I found while travelling during my pregnancy was that it can be hard to have an unbroken sleep during the third trimester. Using a pillow to support your lower back when you try to sleep can help if you have an aching back.
Carrying a baby can put a lot of strain on your body and particularly on your posture. That’s why it can be helpful to do some postural exercises to help reduce aches and pains by keeping your back strong and opening up your chest.
If you are finding it hard to sleep, don’t force it. Read for a little while and see if you become sleepy again.
As always, make sure you are checking in with your doctor regularly throughout this time and listen to your body! Yes, I know I say it all the time but that is for a reason. You need to make time for lots of rest and sleep pregnant ladies, that should be a priority.
Tips for a restful sleep during pregnancy
These are a few things you can do for better sleep while pregnant:
Get into a bedtime routine — try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
Try to reduce the amount of liquid you drink just before bed so you won’t be up and down to the toilet throughout the night.
Exercise during the day. Doing some pregnancy-friendly low-impact workouts can help to tire you out and make sleeping easier.
Listen to music or a meditation track to calm your mind.
Try to sleep with an extra pillow under your head. This can help to minimise heartburn.
Keeping your bedroom as dark and as cool as possible can also help make it easier to get to sleep.
Try these tips for better sleep while pregnant
During pregnancy, I think it’s normal to put a lot of expectations on yourself to be as healthy and active during pregnancy as you can be. I want to remind everyone that EVERY pregnancy journey is different. So long as you are listening to your body and taking steps to look after yourself, that is what is important.
Hopefully, my tips for getting a good sleep pregnant are useful for you either now or in the future.
Make sure you leave me a comment below if there is another pregnancy topic you would like me to write about! I’d love to hear from you.
Love, Kayla xx
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.