Everyone knows rest is vital when your body is growing a baby, but the changes and discomfort that accompany pregnancy often make sleeping rather difficult. What is an expectant mom to do? Rather than toss and turn with the stress of not sleeping, try these 10 helpful tips for getting a good night’s sleep with a bun in your oven.
Tips for Great Pregnancy Sleep
1 - Bedtime Routines aren’t just for after baby arrives:
Soothing music, calming bath, or meditation before bed can all help get your body in the rhythm it needs for healthy rest. Unstimulated activities to wind yourself down after the day will not only help you sleep better during pregnancy, it will give you wonderful habits and tools for cultivating nurturing nighttime rituals after the baby has been born. This will aid your house in maintaining strong sleep patterns and routines for years to come.
2 - Body Pillows:
No matter which side you sleep on, by the third trimester your body is going to need the added comfort of support during the night. Consider investing in a quality body pillow to help you optimize position during pregnancy. At the very least, have several pillows of various consistencies and sizes ready at hand for mid-night shuffling. You never know where on your body you may need an extra spot of cushion to rest easy.
3 - Release Muscle Tension:
Regular prenatal massages, as well as stress-relieving spa techniques at home, can really help to reduce and relieve the built up muscle tension your body is carrying. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner to help relieve an aching back, swelling feet, or throbbing shoulders. If you have a lot of built up stress from outside anxiety, book yourself an appointment for a professional prenatal massage. Healthy mama leads to a healthy baby. If your muscle tension is interfering with your sleep, you need to release and reduce the stress - physically and emotionally.
4 - Limit Distractions:
Don’t watch television or have it on while you are trying to rest and sleep. The same is true for stimulations like paint choices for the baby’s room and work-related emails. If your brain is working overtime or is overly excited, the rest of your body will be. Shut down your mental stimulation at bedtime and make calm and rest a part of your nightly routine. Kick the T.V., telephone, and computer out of your bedroom and give your pregnant body a place to recharge. Sleep matters. A better night’s rest will reduce the next day’s stress. Don’t worry, the world will still be there madly spinning tomorrow.
5 - Mattress Quality:
You are where you sleep? Well, maybe not, but quality support in sleep studies does make a significant difference in healthy sleep. Even if you don’t have the money to invest in a high-quality new sleep number bed, simply flipping your mattress can really do wonders for support and slumber improvement. Make sure you don’t attempt to rotate or change your mattress alone, adding unnecessary weight and strain on your pregnancy.
6 - Watch What You Eat:
Digestion issues and elevated heart rates while your body digests food are a leading interruption to deep R.E.M. rest. Make sure you aren’t eating anything heavy, greasy, or full of starch and sugar before bed. Heartburn keeps you awake. Also, make sure to avoid foods that easily contribute to food-borne illnesses. The last thing you want keeping you up all night, along with the hormonal changes, is vomit. If food poisoning is not your problem, but rather trimester-related nighttime nausea, try small snacks like crackers throughout the day to keep your stomach even-tempered after the sun goes down.
7 - Go to Bed Earlier:
It may sound too simple to work, but just going to bed an hour sooner than normal every night can truly have a big impact on the number of hours your body rests. It may mean skipping your favorite show or letting go of some social media habits, but who couldn’t use more of a break from that? Skip the primetime line-up and Facebook drama and do yourself and baby a favor by hitting the sheets sooner.
8 - Infuse (Never Ingest!) Essential Oils:
Using a lavender neck pillow, diffusing a calm blend in the air, or rubbing some diluted homemade lotion on your skin before bed can help calm your body and ease into a restful state for better sleep. Be sure never to ingest essential oils or apply them directly to your skin, regardless of what your E.O. consultant may have assured you. Long-term studies of concentrated oil side effects during pregnancy have never been conducted to determine them to be safe. Essential oils, while a popular trend remedy, should be used as a careful tool with caution, never as a directly ingested substance.
9 - Get your groove on:
Moderate exercise during the day can really help your body with overall health and promote natural sleep patterns during pregnancy. Just as establishing healthy bedtime routines will build strong habits moving forward, so will adequate movement. Blood circulation and tension release are added benefits to mild activities like walking, swimming, and gentle prenatal aerobics. If you aren’t currently in an exercise routine, make sure to start small, adding just 5-10 minutes a day into your normal activities. Reducing stress, not adding to it, is the goal.
10 - Drink Water—and Know When to Stop:
Keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day will make a big difference in your body’s ability to achieve and retain rest. Drinking plenty of water during the day, and stopping after 4 p.m., will keep your body hydrated while giving your bladder a break for more of the midnight bathroom trips. As the baby grows, the pressure on your bladder will increase, making bathroom trips all the more inevitable, but staying hydrated should continue to be a priority through pregnancy. Healthy fluids make for a healthy mama.
Remember that good sleep matters in a healthy pregnancy. So relax, reduce stress, and rest up in the months leading up to baby’s arrival. Your body and your baby are worth the effort!