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Everything You Should Know About Sleep During Pregnancy

Source: Ground Picture/Shutterstock.com

Once you become pregnant, you begin a nine-month journey filled with new experiences—from the prenatal bloating that may have started as early as week three to feeling those precious first kicks around month five. Your body changes every week, impacting many biological functions, including sleep. It often begins with first-trimester fatigue and, in later months, can turn into difficulties finding a comfortable position to sleep in. Let’s look closer at how pregnancy affects your sleep and tips for getting more rest.

How Much Sleep Does a Pregnant Woman Need?

While 7-9 hours is recommended, pregnancy might increase your need for rest. When you’re expecting, it’s important to listen to your body. Some days, you might feel the need for a solid 10 hours or more, or the urge for daytime naps. Tune into its signals and try to get as much rest as possible. 

How Lack of Sleep Affects Pregnancy

Quality sleep is essential for good health, but it becomes even more critical during pregnancy as you support your baby’s development. Lack of sleep may potentially be associated with more prolonged labor and other issues such as gestational diabetes. Lack of sleep can also affect your mood, increasing feelings of stress and anxiety, which isn’t ideal for you or the baby.

How Does Pregnancy Alter Sleep Patterns?

Pregnancy can bring about some unexpected changes to your sleep patterns. Here’s how this new phase of life might affect you:

? Sleep Cycle Changes: The surge in pregnancy hormones like progesterone in early pregnancy can contribute to fatigue and daytime sleepiness, sometimes leaving you tossing and turning at night. 

? Rising Body Temperature: Hormonal shifts can also increase your body temperature, making it difficult to feel comfortable and fall asleep.

? Morning Sickness: Nausea and morning sickness aren’t just limited to the morning; for some, these discomforts extend into the night, making it hard to find a restful state.

? Growing Belly: As your pregnancy progresses and your belly grows, finding a comfortable sleeping position becomes challenging. You might find that your usual favorite sleep positions are no longer feasible.

? Digestive Issues: Heartburn and reflux are typical for many moms, thanks to hormonal changes and pressure on your stomach, which can interrupt sleep.

? Frequent Urination: You may need to make more midnight bathroom runs as your growing uterus puts pressure on your bladder.

? Anxiety: Thoughts and worries about the upcoming childbirth, parenting, and the changes they bring to your life can weigh heavily on your mind, making it hard to relax and fall asleep.

How to Get Enough Rest During Pregnancy

If you’re finding it hard to catch those much-needed Z’s, you’re not alone. Many expectant moms face similar challenges. Whether you’re two weeks pregnant or in the home stretch, here are some tips to help you get the restorative rest you and your baby need:

? Establish a Routine: Sticking to a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can significantly help regulate your body’s internal clock. Consistency is key to improving the quality of your sleep.

? Create a Restful Environment: Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary. Keep the room at a comfortable, cool temperature and reduce noise levels. A white noise machine or a fan can help mask unavoidable outside noise. Ensure your mattress and pillows provide the support you need.

? Diet: What you eat can impact your sleep quality. If you consume caffeine (it’s recommended to limit caffeine to less than 300 milligrams per day during pregnancy), avoid it in the afternoon and evening, as it can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Steer clear of foods and drinks that may cause acid reflux, such as carbonated beverages, citrus fruits, tomatoes, and spicy or fatty foods. 

? Exercise: Incorporating gentle exercise into your daily routine, like a brisk walk or prenatal yoga, can enhance sleep quality. However, try to avoid vigorous activity close to bedtime.

? Mindfulness and Relaxation: Engaging in relaxation techniques can ease your mind and prepare your body for sleep. Practices such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, or enjoying a warm bath before bed can all contribute to a better night’s rest.

? Limit Fluid Intake Before Bed: While staying hydrated is essential during pregnancy, try to reduce your fluid intake in the hours leading up to bedtime to minimize nighttime trips to the bathroom.

? Snack Smartly: Eating a light snack before bed can prevent hunger pangs at night, but choose something easy on the stomach to avoid heartburn or indigestion. Opt for complex carbohydrates or a small protein-rich snack.

? Seek Support: If physical discomfort keeps you awake, don’t hesitate to use pregnancy pillows for extra support around your belly, back, or between your knees.

? Limit Screen Time: Reduce exposure to screens and blue light from smartphones, tablets, and computers before bedtime, as they can disrupt your sleep cycle.

The Best Sleeping Position While Pregnant

As your pregnancy advances into months five, six, and beyond, finding a comfortable sleeping position can become increasingly difficult. The expanding belly can significantly interfere with comfort and rest, making it essential to adopt sleep positions that accommodate your changing body.

? Side Sleeping: Doctors often recommend sleeping on your left side, as this position is known to enhance blood flow to your heart and your baby. 

? Pillow Support: Embracing the use of pregnancy pillows or even regular pillows can make a world of difference. Placing a pillow under your belly, behind your back, or between your knees can help align your hips and spine, easing pressure and pain.

? Avoid Back and Stomach Sleeping: Lying on your back can exert pressure on the inferior vena cava, a major blood vessel, potentially reducing blood flow to your heart and baby and leading to dizziness andnausea. Meanwhile, stomach sleeping becomes virtually impossible as your belly expands and can also put undue pressure on your abdomen.

Don’t Snooze on Sleep

Sleep during pregnancy can influence both your physical health and emotional well-being. By understanding the changes your body goes through and using some sleep strategies, you can enjoy a healthier, more comfortable pregnancy. Every woman’s experience is unique, so it’s about finding what works best for you. Prioritize rest, seek comfort, and don’t hesitate to discuss any sleep concerns with your healthcare provider to ensure you and your baby thrive during these special months.

 

Last Updated on 2 weeks by Lavania Oluban

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