by Sarah on 28. February 2012 in
It’s a time of utter exhaustion, when it seems that sleep should be easy to come by. Unfortunately, however, pregnancy can offer all sorts of obstacles when it comes to getting a good (and comfortable) night’s sleep! Between hormones, anxiety, stress, physical discomfort, and an increasingly cramped bladder… an uninterrupted night of sleep is usually highly unlikely- especially as you get further into your pregnancy. Maybe it’s Mother Nature’s way of preparing new moms for sleepless nights to come?!
Luckily, there are a few things you can try to make your sleepy time a more pleasant one.
:: STAY HYDRATED (but not too close to bedtime)
Drinking plenty of fluids, mainly water, during the day can greatly improve how you feel at all times of the day. Staying well hydrated can reduce your chances of muscle cramping, and improve the function of all of your organs. Just be careful not to drink too much for the few hours before bedtime. Chances are, you’ll be tending to your bladder at some point in the night anyway… try not to add unnecessary trips to the bathroom during the night!
:: EXERCISE REGULARLY
For optimum health, and to improve your circulation… frequent (and appropriate) exercise when pregnant can help your sleep patterns tremendously. Try not to exercise right before bed, though, as it may increase your adrenaline and make it hard for you to settle into sleep.
:: REDUCE STRESS & ANXIETY
Find ways throughout your day to reduce stress and anxiety, so that when bedtime comes, your mind is at ease and can concentrate only on pleasant dreams!
A few tips for reducing stress and anxiety:
1. Find people you can talk to and commiserate with.
2. Make lists to prepare for baby, and find peace in checking them off each day.
3. Give yourself a break…take a short nap during the day.
:: FIND COMFORT
While comfort is hardly a word used to describe pregnancy, you can at least improve your level of comfort when it comes to sleep. Make pillows your friend, and experiment with ways to position them in order to achieve some support and relief from the weight of baby. Pregnancy or body pillows can be particularly helpful, while regular pillows can typically do the trick with some adapting. A pillow between bent knees, and one behind your back is one position that has been known to provide some relief for those expecting. Also, if you’re feeling like baby is restricting your breathing, you can alleviate pressure on the lungs by propping yourself into a semi-sitting position with pillows.
Keep in mind that it is recommended that expectant moms sleep on their left side for best blood flow to the fetus and to your uterus and kidneys. It is best to avoid lying flat on your back for a long period of time. However, don’t lose even more sleep worrying about accidently rolling on your back. Most likely, the discomfort will awaken you anyway.
:: ESTABLISH A BEDTIME ROUTINE
Just as important as it is to establish nighttime rituals when baby arrives, is establishing your own routine before bedtime. Try to decompress about 45 minutes before lying down. Try prenatal yoga, take a bath, or read a book to get your body and mind ready to settle down for sleep. Use a favorite lotion, massage your feet and hands, or light a calming candle. You can avoid restless (and awkward) tossing and turning, by preparing yourself for sleep before ever entering your bed.
* image from busymommymedia.com