Pregnancy is both a miraculous and difficult time for expectant mothers. It’s a mixture of extreme joy and extreme discomfort and the emotional rollercoaster that women go on is unlike anything else that you will ever experience. For this reason, the quality of sleep that you get is crucial in order to deal with the emotional and physical demands that you face. Lack of sleep quality, however, is one of the biggest complaints among expectant mothers. Not only are doctors are bombarded with questions about sleep, but forums all over the internet are rife with complaints of women and pleas for help. Today, we will go over a few tips to help you sleep better at night.
Establish an Early Bedtime
This one should seem obvious. Especially since by the time 8:00 p.m. rolls around, you are probably dead on your feet! But don’t feel guilty and don’t feel like you need to stay away to a more “adult” appropriate time. Going to bed early and around the same time every day is something that pregnant and non-pregnant adults should do all the time, in order to ensure a healthy sleep routine.
Use a Pregnancy Pillow
Seriously! Pregnancy pillows offer extra support and comfort for your body and growing belly. Full length whole body pillows (you know, the goofy ones that look like a C or a U) offer support for your back, belly, knees, neck and head and help you stave off the painful kinks that will keep you immobilized for a few minutes every morning.
Stay Away from Caffeine and Other Stimulants
Are you extremely dependent on your mid-afternoon cup of coffee? Well, you may want to reconsider. Your body and baby are much more sensitive to caffeine and even a chocolate bar in the late afternoon can have your heart beating faster and your brain wired up. If you must consume caffeine, make sure to do it in the early mornings and in the afternoons, opt for a healthy smoothie or cup of herbal tea.
Don’t Drink Water Late in the Day
When you’re pregnant, you need a ridiculous amount of water! Remember, during pregnancy your blood expands 25 to 40% and blood is mainly water. Water is also the only thing that can truly help prevent stretch marks, so you need to drink A LOT OF IT! In fact, you should be drinking about 10 8-ounce cups of water all day. However, you should try to get as much of this water in during the early part of your day as you can. The pressure of baby on your bladder will cause you to go to the bathroom a lot more often and it can disturb your precious night of sleep.
Exercising is really important during pregnancy. It can help stave off morning sickness (I know! The worst part of pregnancy by far!) and boost your energy. It will also help you face labor and help you get your body back more quickly after the baby is born. But, did you know that exercise can actually help you sleep better too? It’s true! It’s best to exercise early in the morning though, because in the evenings it can over-stimulate you and make it more difficult to fall asleep. Of course, remember to consult your doctor before exercising while pregnant and don’t start off any crazy routines! If you exercised before pregnancy, you can keep it up once you’re pregnant. But if you led a sedentary lifestyle, start off slow! Walking and/or swimming are great ways to get that body moving without risk of injury.
Remember, sleep is important. Especially when you are growing a human who will need you to be both physically and emotionally healthy! Follow these tips and you will be on your way to catching some much needed zzzs.