When you're pregnant and not getting enough sleep, it can be tough to find the energy you need to get yourself ready for the demands of dealing with a new baby. Whether you are suffering through pregnancy induced illness or just having trouble getting to sleep at night, you can say good riddance to sleepless nights with these 10 sleeping tips.
1. Set up a Relaxing Nighttime Routine
The value of a good evening routine is often underestimated. After dinner, you should incorporate activities that help you unwind and promote relaxation before bed. These can include writing in a journal, reading some good fiction, meditation and listening to soothing music. If you can convince your significant other, a relaxing massage can be an excellent sleep aid!
2. Get Enough Exercise
Just about every expert will tell you that getting half an hour per day of moderate (low impact) exercise can be great for sleep. (45 minutes to an hour is even better if your body can handle it!) Any kind of exercise is great but a nice long walk can be especially good for tiring you out. Just make sure that you complete your exercise an hour or two before you hit the sack. Any closer to bed time and you actually risk the exercise keeping you awake!
3. Turn off that bright screen!
Computers, TVs, Ipads and smartphones are great entertainment but they are absolutely terrible for sleep. The content and bright screen is stimulating. Studies have shown that the light from the screen interferes with your ability to get to sleep as well as the quality of sleep. If at all possible, don't watch TV or use your computer or smartphone in the last hour before you go to bed.
4. Eat Well
We all know that it's important to eat right when you're pregnant but it's sometimes easier said than done, especially when you're body is craving all sorts of things you know you shouldn't have! But as much as you can, focus on eating healthy foods throughout the day and avoid consuming fried and spicy fare that will cause heartburn and other tummy problems sure to keep you up through the night.
5. Reduce Your Stress
Sometimes the stress of pregnancy (and life in general!) causes just enough anxiety and worry to interfere with your ability to settle in and fall asleep at night. If that's the case for you, try taking some time out during the day to talk to someone you trust about your worries. A sympathetic friend who's a good listener is ideal. (You can also talk to your significant other as long as they aren't frazzled and going to make things even worse.) Getting your thoughts and feelings out will help slow your mind down so that you can fall asleep at night. And if you are so inclined, a good meditation program can absolutely work wonders in helping you feel calm and relaxed.
6. Pillows, Pillows and MORE Pillows.
Don't be scared to hog those pillows! Take as many as you need to get you into a comfortable sleeping position. If your pregnancy is giving you heartburn or acid re-flux, use a pillow to elevate your upper body which will help reduce the back-flow of acid and relieve your symptoms. Pillows under your tummy, behind your bag and between your legs can also increase your comfort level and relieve some of the pressure points that are causing your body to ache and ruining your ability to get a good night's sleep.
7. Switch Sides
While sleeping on the left side of your body is considered preferable during pregnancy, it's not really very practical to force yourself to stay in this one position throughout the entire night. So feel free to sleep on your right side just to switch things up a little. As long as you aren't sleeping directly on your back, you and baby will be just fine!
8. Have a Small Bedtime Snack
While eating before bed is generally NOT ideal for sleep, things are a little different when you're pregnant. Having a small snack (no refined sugar or caffeine!) can help avoid your blood sugar falling off a cliff and prevent nausea. Try eating something rich in nutrients like nuts or a banana.
9. Avoid Liquids for Two Hours Before Bed
It's obviously super important to stay well hydrated throughout the day when you're pregnant but drinking water or other liquids in the two hours before you go to sleep will leave you going to bed with a full bladder which is sure to interrupt your slumber. Avoiding liquids before bed will reduce the frequency of your nighttime trips to the bathroom.
10. Keep Cool
When I was in my 20's, I lived in a freezing cold climate but would actually leave the window above my bed slightly ajar at night. Let me tell you, those were some of the best sleeps of my life! While it may sound counter-intuitive, all sorts of studies have confirmed that sleeping in a cool environment greatly aids your body's ability to sleep deeply. So go ahead, run that air conditioner or let in a little cool air! Optimal sleeping temperature according to experts is between 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Use blankets to regulate your body's temperature.
While it can certainly be hard to get enough sleep when you're pregnant, following these 10 tips should definitely improve your odds of getting a good night's rest!