Getting a good night’s sleep throughout pregnancy is important for your health and the health of your baby. Of course, sometimes that’s easier said than done. When trips to the bathroom, leg cramps, baby kicks and back pain keep you from getting the rest you need, it’s time to strategize your shuteye.
We’ve put together a few suggestions that will help you get the sleep you’re craving.
TIPS FOR SLEEPING WELL WHILE PREGNANT
How to fall asleep without counting sheep
The best sleep position during pregnancy is on your left side. That’s because sleeping on your left side increases the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby. If you’re experiencing back pain, try bending your legs and knees and putting a pillow between your legs. Tucking a wedge pillow to support your belly may also help relieve pressure on the lower back. If heartburn is making you uncomfortable, prop your upper body with pillows.
These tips may not seem especially dreamy, especially if you’re a back or tummy-sleeper, but try them out. And we encourage you to rotate positions until you find the one that’s just right.
How to stay asleep and wake up rested
For some pregnant women, falling asleep isn’t the issue—it’s staying asleep. First, reduce your exposure to sounds that may be waking you, and limit your fluid intake after 6 p.m. to minimize trips to the bathroom.
If it’s Restless Leg Syndrome that’s interrupting your sweet slumber, it could be a lack of iron in your diet. RLS is often linked to anemia, which is common in pregnant women. If you're experiencing RLS make sure to check in with your healthcare provider.
Healthy habits to encourage sleep
For more chronic sleep problems, modest lifestyle changes could help make a real difference.
- Keep a cool, quiet, dark room and limit the bed only sleeping and sex.
- Have a bedtime routine and perform a calming activity in preparation for bedtime such as reading a book, taking a bath or meditation.
- Keep a regular sleep schedule.
- Integrate regular exercise into your routine, preferably earlier in the day (if authorized by your doctor)
- Avoid caffeine, spicy foods and heavy meals close to bedtime to reduce the risks of heartburn or reflux.
If sleep during pregnancy continues to elude you, bring up the issue with your doctor. Sleep is key to maintaining the energy you and your baby need during these months.