During pregnancy there are all sorts of things making us tired. Walking around with a swollen belly and swollen feet to match is one of them. It makes you think how will you ever get sleep before the baby comes. We’re already aware that we’re going to lose sleep once the baby gets here. If other things are tiring us out during pregnancy, why is it so hard to fall asleep and stay asleep?!
There are a few reasons why we can’t fall asleep and stay asleep. Hormones play a significant role in this. Our progesterone levels have increased to help the placenta grow. This makes us want that daily nap during the first trimester. High progesterone levels restrict muscle tension which can cause snoring and sleep apnea. The leading cause of insomnia & restlessness is anxiety. Especially, for new moms to be. Worrying about how your labor will go, being a good parent, or something as simple as finances can definitely make you stay up at night.
Never ending bathroom breaks keep us up too. Not only do bathroom breaks wake us up, but it can be hard to go back to sleep afterward. Heartburn bothering you at all? Sometimes just laying the wrong way can make acid rise to your throat. This can be uncomfortable making sleep seem impossible. If you find yourself wanting to move around a lot, ask your doctor if you have Restless Leg Syndrome. Many women experience RLS during pregnancy. It makes you keep moving to adjust to the sensation in your legs have.
How To Get Better Sleep
We can’t fully stop restlessness in its tracks, but we can do things to help. Here are five things you can do to achieve better sleep.
1.) Learn about your anxieties.
Sometimes this is easier said than done. We have to educate ourselves on what’s causing our anxieties and our stress. Ask your doctor questions regarding anxieties and coping methods. Let someone help you in the areas you feel you need help the most. Make sure to be open-minded to let someone help you with your worries and fears.
2.) Exercise, get up and move around!
Exercising helps tremendously with sleep. The more physical exertion, the more rest you’ll need. Don’t push yourself to the limit. As always consult your doctor before you begin any exercise regimen. Most doctors recommend exercising 30 minutes a day, 4-5 days week. You can lessen the days and still benefit from exercising. You will notice your sleep habits improving.
When you’re pregnant, one of the first things you hear is to drink plenty of fluids. Drinking a lot of water or any other fluid can make you keep going to the bathroom, especially at night. Waking up in the middle of the night to pee isn’t ideal, but there’s no way around it. However, we can slow down the frequency of waking up at night to use the bathroom. Drink majority of your required fluids during the day. Cut back 3-4 hours before bedtime. Like I mentioned before, we can’t avoid peeing in the middle of the night, but we can lessen how many times we have to get up to pee.
4.) Eating smaller meals.
Eating small, simple meals can help with sleep and heartburn. Meals consisting of spicy food cause heartburn. Especially, if it’s a large meal. It takes longer for our body to digest, which leaves the food sitting in our stomach longer. This gives the chance for acid to churn longer and rise to your throat.
5.) Nap time
Feel free to add naps to your day when you feel the need. The important thing is to avoid naps 4-5 hours before going to bed. Taking a nap to close to bedtime will make falling asleep harder.
Overall, Pay Attention to Your Body
Many doctors prefer for pregnant women to sleep on their left side. Sleeping on your left side has many benefits. It increases your blood flow, because the main arteries aren’t squished. It allows for the liver and kidney to function properly, because they have been relieved of pressure. However, sleeping on your left side may not even be comfortable for you. This is when it’s important to pay attention to your body. If you’re not comfortable on your left, go ahead and switch to your right side. When you get into the 3rd trimester, you may notice discomfort sleeping on your back. The weight of the baby compresses the vein that transports blood to your heart. If you’ve ever fallen asleep and abruptly woke up laying on your back, this is why. Our bodies will wake us up so we can roll over to our side. However, if you don’t have a problem sleeping on your back, do it. Same with sleeping on your right side, if it feels good do it. It will not cause harm to the baby.
If back pain is keeping you up at night, try using a heating pad. Set the heating pad on low and place it on your back before going to bed. The heating pad will help ease the pain. While you’re awake during the day alternate between a wrapped ice pack and a heating pad. The ice pack will reduce inflammation, while the heating pad eases sore muscles.
Pillows can be a girl’s best friend when she’s pregnant. Keep a pillow between your legs to alleviate the strain on your pelvis, hips, and lower back. If you’re a side sleeper, put a pillow under your stomach to lessen the pull on your hips and ribs. If you experience shortness of breath at night, prop yourself up on pillows. The pillows will sit you up to relieve pressure on your lungs. Hopefully, these tips will help you get some sleep. Remember everyone’s body and pregnancy is different. What works for one person may not work for you. However, paying close attention to our bodies allows us to find what truly works for us.