People always tell you to stock up on your sleep when you’re pregnant because once the baby comes you’ll never sleep again. If only it were this easy. Being pregnant, especially during the second half, can wreak havoc on your sleep. It can be incredibly difficult to get comfortable, you’re getting up a few times in the middle of the night to pee, insomnia hits, you’re hot…I could keep going, but I think you get the picture. I’m currently 21 weeks pregnant and recently I have been having the hardest time falling asleep and staying asleep through the night. I have started doing some research on how to sleep better when pregnant because I’m getting pretty desperate and here are 9 ways that I’ve found to help you get a better nights sleep when you’re expecting.
1. Drink More Water
Making sure that you are plenty hydrated through out the day will help lessen the amount and the frequency of any kind of leg or body cramps. If you haven’t already been woken up in the middle of the night by a horrible leg cramp, just wait – your time will come. They are truly awful, but most of the time it’s a sign that your body needs more water. So, be sure to drink plenty of fluids as you go about your day and hopefully you can avoid those nasty cramps in the wee hours of the morning.
2. Stop Drinking Liquids A Few Hours Before Bed
Okay, I know I just told you to drink lots of fluids, but make sure that you stop drinking them a few hours before you go to bed. Pregnancy already messes with your bladder and increases the amount of times you have to urinate. I’m sure you’re already getting up to pee in the middle of the night now that you’re pregnant. If you don’t drink any fluids a few hours before bed, it will certainly lessen the amount of times you have to go. You may still have to wake up at least once, but once is better than three or four times.
3. Exercise During The Day
Whether you are pregnant or not, regular exercise actually does help you sleep at night. Even mild exercise like walking, pilates, yoga, or swimming for 30 minutes a day will give your body the extra energy it needs throughout the day to get through your day, and then help your body relax at night as well. It increases your body’s flow of oxygyn, making you more relaxed, and allowing you to sleep better. So, if you’re not already exercising, you better get out those workout shoes and clothes and start moving.
4. Put Down All Electronic Devices 30 Minutes Before Bed
Any kind of device that has a screen like a phone, TV, tablet, computer, etc. is actually stimulating to your mind. As a result, if you are on one up until the minute you lay your head down for bed, chances are your mind and body will not be able to relax because it’s delaying the production of melatonin, and you won’t be able to sleep well. Try separating yourself from those devices at least 15 minutes before you go to bed, and if you can do 30 minutes before. Try reading a book to occupy your time or take a bath. It will help your mind relax before bedtime, allowing you to fall asleep easier and to get a better night’s sleep.
5. Pick A Side Early
Well, ladies, I have bad news for you. You really only have 2 sleeping positions when you’re pregnant. One, is on your left side, and the second is on your right side. It is not recommended that you sleep on your back, especially when you’re past 20 weeks because it puts too much pressure on your vena cava cutting off nutrients and blood supply to the baby. You can try sleeping on your stomach, but chances are that is going to be very difficult when you have a giant belly. That leaves us with our sides. If you’re a side sleeper already, this is great for you! If not, you’re going to have to learn to sleep on your sides. It’s better to get in the habit of sleeping on your side during the first few weeks and months of pregnancy so when you literally can’t sleep in any other position, your body is used to this and prefers it.
6. Pillows, Pillows, Pillows
Pillows will now become your best friend when sleeping while you’re pregnant. They can provide so much support around your back and belly, and even between your legs when you need it. They help prop your body up and give you support in the places you need most so you can get a comfortable night’s rest. Don’t be afraid to use as many pillows as you can fit in the bed. Whatever will make you comfortable and help you sleep better is what you should do.
7. Pregnancy Pillows
If smaller pillows just aren’t doing the job for you, you can buy a pregnancy pillow that is made specifically for pregnant women. They come in many sizes, but they’re most popular in the “C” or “U” shape. They provide support and comfort all the way around your body and help lessen the likelihood that you’ll roll onto your back during the night. With my first pregnancy I never bought one because I really didn’t need it. I never got uncomfortable at night, but during my current pregnancy, I have not been sleeping well on my sides at all. Having one of these pillows has been a lifesaver and has helped me get such better sleep.
8. Turn The Thermostat Down
One of the worst things when you’re pregnant is being hot. You’re already uncomfortable and if you add heat into that equation it just creates misery. Before heading to bed, turn down the thermostat so the temperature stays between 60 and 68 degrees (the ideal sleeping temperature), or open up a window, then throw some blankets on and enjoy a cooler night’s sleep.
9. Eat Carefully At Dinner
If you’re prone to getting heartburn when pregnant, try to avoid any kind of food at dinner time that will trigger heartburn. In a few hours you’ll be heading to bed, and laying down will only make the heartburn worse. Stay away from spicy foods, especially since those are most likely the culprit to causing heartburn. If you do end up having heartburn at night, prop yourself up with more pillows so you’re not lying flat on your back. It will help to alleviate the heartburn if you’re in more of a sitting up position.