If you ask a mum-to-be what she misses about not being pregnant, chances are she’ll say her sleep.
Unfortunately, sleeping during pregnancy isn’t as relaxing as you might hope. Despite your body needing extra recovery time to nurture and grow your child, you may feel like you’ve not got time to rest – or when you do, you constantly wake up needing the toilet!
In this guide, we’ve shared how to sleep in pregnancy, whether you’re in the first trimester or your new arrival is imminent.
1. Drink plenty of water
When you visit a midwife after discovering that you’re pregnant, it’s likely that they’ll tell you to keep hydrated. This is because water is a major component of our blood, as it helps us absorb the nutrients from our food. Drinking plenty of water will allow your baby to experience this too – giving them the best opportunity to grow and develop healthily.
If you’re experiencing headaches (particularly in your first trimester), think about how much water you’re consuming. Headaches can prevent you from falling asleep, especially with the constant thudding noise that you hear as soon as your head hits the pillow!
However, the main cause of headaches is dehydration, so drinking enough fluid will help you to feel more relaxed before drifting off into a peaceful sleep.
2. Be active throughout the day
As soon as many women fall pregnant, their exercise regime goes out the window. Experiencing early pregnancy symptoms like nausea and cramping, may put you off going for a jog. But ensuring that you’re active throughout the day is a fantastic way to improve the quality of your sleep whilst pregnant.
Gentle exercises will tire your body out. Although heavy exercises such as weight-lifting aren’t recommended throughout pregnancy, small activities such will help to burn excess energy whilst also strengthening your back, pelvic and abdominal muscles.
Just a simple one-mile walk can burn over 100 calories and once you finally get into bed, your body will have no energy left, making it easy to drift off.
3. Practise yoga or meditation
If you’re interested in prenatal classes, you may be surprised to learn that certain activities can be beneficial to your sleeping pattern. Yoga and meditation classes are two examples of this.
However, you don’t have to attend professional classes to relax and improve your sleep. Practising yoga in the evening at home will stretch your muscles and prevent cramps or pains from waking you in the night.
Plus, practising meditation through yoga stretches will help to reduce your heart rate. Not only will this help you to fall asleep easily whilst you’re pregnant, but there’s a chance of easing your overall level of anxiety.
Heartburn is a major issue for more than half of pregnant women and you may find that your symptoms worsen at night. This is because acid travels up to your oesophagus when you’re lying down, making the burning sensation feel much worse when you head to bed.
Thankfully, sleeping on elevated pillows can help you to prevent heartburn due to the angle of your throat. You could also consider a sprung bed base to create a comfy sleeping environment. Once you’re comfortable and free from your heartburn-related symptoms, you’ll be drifting off in no time!
5. Focus on your diet
In order to get a great night’s sleep in pregnancy, you should keep track of the food you’re eating and how it affects your ability to rest. This is because specific foods such as dark chocolate can disrupt your sleep.
Avoiding foods or drinks that contain caffeine will prevent your body working in overtime when you get into bed. Because your internal organs are busy breaking down the food and processing the nutrients, you should do all you can to help your body relax.
Even though your midnight cravings may seem overpowering, think about whether you’d like to indulge in a bit of chocolate or get a great night’s sleep. It’s tricky to master the art of getting both!
6. Create a bedtime routine
If you’ve been on your feet all day, it’s likely that you’ll love nothing more than crawling into bed. However, you should try to avoid napping wherever you can and get into a consistent pre-sleep routine for the optimum rest.
Create a routine that works for you and your current stage in pregnancy. This may include reading a book, meditating, having a hot shower or drinking a cup of tea. Whatever you decide to do, keeping it consistent will allow your body to unwind, prepare for a good rest and learn when your sleep is coming.
As you can see, sleeping whilst pregnant can be a struggle, but it’s not impossible. Once you’ve implemented these pregnancy sleeping tips and gotten used to a consistent routine, you will be able to get a great night’s rest – even with the excitement of your upcoming arrival!