I can feel some of you laughing at this statement. Or rolling your eyes at me. And I get it, sleeping well when pregnant does sound like a bit of an oxymoron, particularly for any of you getting to the end of your pregnancy. And while I can’t promise you perfect sleep, I have a few ideas for how you can hopefully get better sleep. And let’s face it, during pregnancy we will take all the sleep we can get!
1. Get a pregnancy pillow.
Do it, and do it earlier than you think. You might think it won’t be beneficial until your belly is much bigger or your joints much achier. But I’m here to tell you, if you get it and start using it earlier you might even be able to hold off some of those achy joints a bit longer. There are a bunch of pregnancy pillows on the market so it can be tricky to find your perfect one but I would consider two main things. Make sure the pillow can support your belly when side sleeping- this helps keep the pressure and strain off of your back which should hopefully help you sleep better and wake up with less pain.
The other thing to look for is a pillow that allows you to have support between your legs when side sleeping. This is huge- it helps alleviate the pressure on your hips, and can also relieve some sciatic pain if that’s something keeping you awake at night. If the pillow you choose doesn’t have this option of support, you can always prop up an extra bed pillow between your legs. Here are a few popular pregnancy pillows you might want to consider.
2. Develop a relaxing night time routine.
This tip is helpful for anyone struggling with sleep, pregnant or not, but finding a relaxing routine that works for you can be key. This could be ending each day with a warm bath, completing some gentle stretches before climbing in bed or listening to meditations. Things to avoid would be screens right before bed, high energy exercise or caffeine too late in the day. Having a consistent routine that you do regularly helps your body learn when it is time for sleep which can make it easier to actually fall asleep, hopefully allowing you to get more shut eye.
3. Combat the symptoms keeping you awake.
There are several pregnancy symptoms that can make falling asleep and staying asleep more difficult. We already talked about how a pregnancy pillow can address the discomfort of sleeping in a pregnant body but there are some other symptoms that may be contributing too. Are you too hot? I am not a hot natured person but while pregnant I often find myself waking up feeling uncomfortably overheated. If this is you, consider getting an additional fan for your room to help keep you cool, or switching to lighter/cooler bedding for this season.
Do you get leg cramps at night or have restless leg syndrome? This is more common in pregnant women. Talk to your doctor about adding a magnesium supplement to see if that reduces the discomfort making sleep more manageable. If heartburn is keeping you awake, first of all, I feel your literal pain and am so sorry. Second of all, try avoiding eating too close to bedtime, try sleeping in a more propped up position and talk with your doctor about possibly adding in an over the counter treatment for this frustrating symptom.
4. Nap when you can.
If nighttime sleep is proving to be a challenge too difficult to conquer, try to catch some zzz’s during the day. Many pregnant women suffer from nighttime insomnia- particularly late in pregnancy and for many this same insomnia doesn’t apply to daytime sleep. So if you’re able to grab a power nap or two during the day, take advantage! While it probably won’t help you sleep any better at night, it will hopefully help you feel a bit more energized and refreshed to get through the day.
Do you have other tips for a more restful pregnant night’s sleep? Drop them in the comments below to share the love!