Strategy #: Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Many of the same strategies that can help you sleep when youre not pregnant can help you sleep when you are, said Dr. Ibrahim. These include sticking to a regular sleep schedule , cutting off caffeine after lunch , and avoiding the use of electronic devices such as smart phones, tablets and laptops since many emit a type of light called blue light, which can make it harder to fall asleep.
Regular exercise is also key. The United States Department of Health and Human Services recommends that pregnant women get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise such as brisk walking or swimming each week. But try to exercise earlier in the day at least four hours before bedtime since evening workouts can raise your body temperature and heart rate and make it more difficult to fall asleep, said Dr. Kathryn Lee, Ph.D., R.N., a professor of nursing at the University of California, San Francisco.
Develop A Bedtime Routine
One of the best things you can do to manage insomnia while youre pregnant is to set up good sleep habits.
Begin by trying to go to bed at the same time every night. Start your routine with something relaxing to help you unwind.
Taking a soothing bath might also make you sleepy. Just be careful that the temperature isnt too hot that can be dangerous for your developing baby. This is especially true during early pregnancy.
To be safe, avoid hot tubs.
Prevents High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can be very dangerous for pregnant women as it can cause a condition called preeclampsia. Preeclampsia poses a number of risks, such as impaired liver and kidney function, fluid in the lungs, and even maternal and infant death. Sleeping can help lower blood pressure and keep it at safe levels.
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How To Sleep Well During Your First Trimester
The first three months of pregnancy are often characterized by one main symptom: fatigue. One day you’re running around, keeping to your regular schedule the next day you’re a walking zombie. This happens due to the surges of a hormone called progesterone,” explains Adeeti Gupta, MD, ob-gyn and founder of Walk In GYN Care, a New York City-based walk-in center dedicated to women’s health. While tiredness passeswomen usually regain much of their energy after week 12sleeping well during those first few months can yield benefits throughout pregnancy.
Nausea is another common first-trimester sleep stealer. If you’re suffering from morning sickness , the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists notes that both vitamin B6 and doxylamine can help while also allowing you to get some rest.
At the beginning of a pregnancy, progesterone can also contribute to increased urinary frequency, meaning you’re getting up to go more frequently, so stay hydrated during the day but be conscious of how much you’re drinking in the hours right before bedtime.
During these early weeks, you don’t have to fret too much about exactly how you sleep, says Gupta. Even sleeping on your stomach before you’re showing is fine, she says.
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Try Different Sleeping Positions
Try some different positions to sleep. For pregnant women, you should sleep on the left side because it will be good for your baby. If you are tired of the same sleeping position, you may change it to make your more comfortable. Be sure that your body is middle position, your neck and head are straight. You can use a pillow under your legs or between your legs to sleep better. Do not sleep on the stomach because it will cause pains, aches, and affect badly to your baby. You should decrease the pressure on the uterus and help you breathe easier and reduce the pain in back. As the suggestion above, sleeping on the left side will bring the nutrients to the body and increase the blood amount to the baby.
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Get A Pregnancy Pillow
As if we need an excuse to have even more pillows on our beds! Pregnancy pillows are like the best cuddle ever, especially during the third trimester.
There are various shapes and sizes of pregnancy pillows, ranging from ones that hug you completely or long body pillows or even just smaller pillows designed to go between your legs, its up to you which you choose.
I was never able to use the full body wrap pillows because that would have made me feel too claustrophobic.
For me, personally, I found the pillows between my knees while laying on my side provided the best support.
The idea is they can help support your stomach during later stages as when you lay on your side it can feel like it pulls and drops to the side.
You can also wrap it between your knees to help support your hips while you sleep too.
Many women swear by pregnancy pillows, and they can also help you sleep comfortably after birth too. Winning.
Choose The Right Mattress
The mattress you choose can have a major influence on the quality of your sleep. A mattress thats too firm means youll feel pressure points at your hips and shoulders. A mattress thats too soft doesnt provide enough support for your neck and back.
Get a new mattress if your current one isnt working for you. Be sure to try out the mattress before you buy it so you find the one that is right for you.
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Is Insomnia Harmful During Pregnancy
A lost night of sleep during pregnancy here and there isnt usually a big concern, but continued or chronic inadequate sleep has been linked to gestational diabetes, stress and depression. Insomnia and frequent snoring also have been linked to an increased risk of giving birth to a baby thats too large or too small for its age, and sleep issues late in pregnancy have been linked to a longer labor and a greater need for a cesarean section.
How Many Hours Does A Pregnant Woman Need
Ah, the golden question that many of you ask.
Typically, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep. But, pregnant mothers have different needs.
The optimal number of sleep hours a pregnant mum should get varies as there are a lot of factors to consider. Even with different research studies done, there isnt a straightforward answer on the exact amount.
However, pregnant women should sleep longer than regular adults and take occasional naps during the day.
Dont forget that while you may need, say, 9 hours of sleep, you would probably need to buffer more time to get into bed and fall asleep.
So to avoid undesirable events like birth complications, its recommended for you to aim for around 9 hours of sleep.
Is it time to binge on sleeping, then?
Well, in the research mentioned above, a higher percentage of mothers who slept more than 10 hours experienced detrimental health effects like a high systolic blood pressure.
As the saying goes, too little or too much of a good thing is bad.
SUMMARY:Aim for 9 hours of sleep daily.
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Sleep During The 3rd Trimester
Its important from 28 weeks till your baby is born that you sleep on your side. Whether you are taking a quick nap on the couch or going to bed at night, sleeping on your side is best.
Lying on your back puts pressure on major blood vessels. This can reduce the flow of blood to your womb, and restrict your babys oxygen supply. Research has shown that sleeping on your side can reduce the risk of stillbirth by half.
You can make it more comfortable, and easier to stay on your side, by bending your knees then putting a pillow between them. You can also put a pillow under your belly for support.
If you wake and find youve been asleep on your back, turn onto your side. If it happens a lot, put a pillow behind your back so rolling over onto your back is more difficult.
Some women find it comfortable to sleep with their head quite high, either with pillows for support or by raising the head of the bed a little. This can reduce heartburn and snoring.
You might find your back aches more at night. If you can, try to avoid heavy lifting, housework and long periods of standing. And as mentioned before, rest during the day with your legs up, if you can.
The frequency of your need to pass urine at night might increase even further. The baby might be pressing on your bladder, and the hormones that go with the later stages of pregnancy can relax your pelvic floor. Pelvic floor exercises will help you manage any ‘leaks’ and also avoid continence problems in years to come.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Or Cbt
CBT for insomnia can treat people with severe sleep deprivation get better sleep. It can help a person:
- understand their insomnia
- talk through emotions that play a role in insomnia
- make healthful changes that reduce insomnia
CBT may be particularly helpful for those facing anxiety or depression.
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Cant Sleep While Pregnant
Certain hormonal changes, along with other pregnancy-related discomforts can sink a good nights sleep. Heres how to snooze more soundly.
This guide was originally published on May 22, 2019.
Like the perfect maternity outfit, sleep is something many pregnant women covet. My second and third pregnancies, for instance, were plagued with such bad morning sickness that I was left vomiting throughout the night. When that eased, my sons kicking became so intense that one particularly sharp jab in the middle of the night caused me to awake to soaked sheets Id peed all over my bed.
According to one study published in the journal Sleep Medicine in 2015, most women experience some type of sleep problem during pregnancy. Of the 2,427 women surveyed, for example, all reported frequent nighttime wakings while they were pregnant nearly 60 percent reported insomnia and about 80 percent found it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position.
My patients always come to me in a panic because theyre worried about not sleeping, said Dr. Laura Riley, M.D., an ob-gyn at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. But this sleep deprivation isnt harmful in any way to you or your baby. Your body will naturally protect itself and make sure you fall asleep eventually, Dr. Riley added. Youll get the rest you need.
Make Your Stomach Full
Do not go to bed without eating foods. Of course, if you are in pregnancy trimesters, you will feel hungry, probably at night. As the result, eat some healthy snacks before bedtime and remember to eat properly in the dinner. Your stomach may grumble for foods and pregnant women may take some peanuts, tuna, turkey, yogurt, etc. avoid eating sugary or high-fat foods.
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When You’re Pregnant And Can’t Sleep
Brian Levine, MD, MS, is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology as well as in reproductive endocrinology and infertility.
If you have trouble sleeping during pregnancy, you’re not alone. Research shows that between 20% and 60% of pregnant women experience insomnia at some point during their pregnancy.
Insomnia comes in a few different forms. You can have trouble falling asleep when you try to go to bed or wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble going back to sleep. Between the various physical discomforts of pregnancy and the worries of bringing a child into the world, there may be plenty to keep you up at night.
Taking medication to help you sleep during pregnancy can be risky, especially in the first trimester. There are several other natural things you can do to combat insomnia in pregnancy. Here are some tools that can help you improve your sleep quality and duration.
Keep Movingeven If You Don’t Want To
Get some exercise. We know it’s tough these days, but even a walk can improve circulation and help reduce nighttime leg cramps. Active women tend to sleep more soundly than couch potatoes.
Just don’t work out too close to bedtime because exercise releases adrenaline that can keep you awake at night and actually make it even harder to doze off.
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Support Your Body With The Right Pillow
As your body grows, it is important that you choose a sleeping position that is comfortable for you to support a good nights sleep.
You can practice relaxation techniques in early pregnancy, but you can greatly benefit from a good nights sleep while pregnant by choosing the right pillow.
Here are some tips and tricks on how to choose the right pillow for your body:
1. Use Lots of Pillows.
To have better sleep, you may want to use various pillows, and each one could be different:
The classic pregnancy pillow is a full-body style that is often shaped like a U or C. Then, youve got the wedge pillow, which helps elevate your head and shoulders so that you can breathe easily. This is great for back sleepers who cant otherwise sleep like that.
You may also want to cross one leg over your other one and put a classic pillow between them. Add another pillow behind the back to help you stay asleep and be more comfortable.
2. Shop for the right Pregnancy Pillow for Your Body.
A pregnancy pillow can be used to support the upper body and the legs. Whether you experience daytime sleepiness or like to nap in the early afternoon, you want a pillow that supports your changing body. This includes the stomach and back, allowing you to rest more easily.
You can find a guide to choosing the right pregnancy pillow HERE.
3. Prop Yourself Up.
How Sleep During Pregnancy Affects Childbirth
Childbirth is the one part of having a baby that every mother would gladly pass on. While its wonderful to feel our babies kicking in our bellies, labor pains are much less welcome.
But moms who make great sleep a priority during pregnancy will also find it can help the childbirth process as well.
Moms who are well-rested going into the delivery room will have a greater pain tolerance . They also tend to have quicker labors, which moms everywhere should welcome with open arms.
In addition, theyll have greater concentration to focus on anything that goes wrong in case they have to make a big decision quickly.
With my first child I was lacking a tremendous amount of sleep. I stayed awake through the whole labor process despite having an epidural. I pushed for an hour and a half. With my second child, I was well-rested and got a full nights sleep since I had an epidural in and ended up pushing for 20 min
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Tips For Better Sleep In Pregnancy
1. There is no easy solution and sleeping tablets may not be safe in pregnancy. Here are some tips for better sleep:
2. When youre lying on your side, it may be more comfortable to sleep with a pillow supporting your bump and a pillow between your knees. Some women have found pregnancy pillows helpful.
3. Try to stay active during the day, even if you feel tired. Yoga, a swim or walk would be ideal, just try not to leave it till the evening. Find out more about what kind of exercise you can do in pregnancy.
4. Avoid caffeinated drinks in the evening. Remember that in pregnancy you should have no more than 200mg of caffeine a day.
6. Try some relaxation exercises before you go to bed. Have a look for a relaxation app or find some relaxing music. Some women have found hypnobirthing helpful in reducing stress and helping them sleep.
My husband and I were taught some breathing exercises at our hypnobirthing class. I often get quite panicky and these helped calm me.
7. Try not to stress about sleeplessness when youre in bed. Worrying about it can make it even harder to go to sleep. If its possible, try napping at other times of the day.
8. Try to stay away from screens for the hour before bed. There is research that they affect sleep and prevent you from calming down.
If you cannot get any sleep at all in pregnancy, talk to your doctor or midwife.
When Does Insomnia During Pregnancy Start
It’s normal to have trouble sleeping at any point during pregnancy, but many expectant women experience insomnia starting in the second to third trimesters, as other pregnancy symptoms increase, and a burgeoning baby belly makes it harder than ever to get comfortable in bed.
Still, first trimester woes can force you from your cozy bed and disturb precious sleep too, including morning sickness, which can happen any time of the day or night, and a constant need to pee. But if youre worried that a case of insomnia may harm your baby, rest assured it wont. So do your best not to fret and sometimes, just letting go of these feelings is all it takes to help you sleep.
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