It’s one of the great ironies of pregnancy that sleep is more important to your body than ever, yet it’s also one of the hardest things to come by when you’re pregnant. You need to get plenty of sleep so that you have enough energy to make it through the day, which can be especially hard during the first and third trimesters.
The good news is that sleep experts have offered some advice on getting a little bit better sleep at night while you’re pregnant:
- Get some physical activity. Getting a little bit of exercise early in the day can loosen up your body, reduce nighttime leg cramping and help you sleep better overall. Don’t wait until too late in the day to exercise, however, as exercise releases adrenaline into your system that can interrupt your sleep.
- Deal with your heartburn. Heartburn is common during pregnancy, and it’s also one of the most common reasons pregnant women have trouble sleeping. In addition to alternative treatments for heartburn or any medications your doctor feels are safe, sleeping with your head elevated can help reduce nighttime heartburn, as well.
- Get into the right position. While there are some exceptions, most pregnant women find that sleeping on one side with a pillow between your knees (and one under your belly later on in pregnancy) is the most comfortable position. Definitely avoid lying on your back as pressure from your baby can restrict the flow of blood through your body and cause a number of problems.
- Reduce your stress. Stress isn’t only something that keeps you awake at night during pregnancy, it can actually have an adverse effect on your baby. Learn some stress management techniques, and if you’re experiencing severe anxiety talk to your doctor about treatment options, as well.
- Snack before bed. Have a light, low-fat, protein-rich snack just before bed. Watch out for sugared snacks, because those will just keep you from falling asleep in the first place.
Nearly every woman has some interruption to her sleep cycle during pregnancy; the next time you’re awake at night, try some of these techniques and you may get some shut-eye at long last.