Sleeping while pregnant is one of the more challenging things you might face. You need quality sleep during this time of your life, but every aspect of pregnancy can quickly seem like it’s working against you.
From symptoms of pregnancy like heartburn and anxiety that tend to pop up as soon as you lie down, to the discomfort of your growing belly, what can you do to increase your comfort while you’re pregnant and trying to sleep?
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Get a Pregnancy Pillow
If there’s one thing you should do when you’re pregnant and hoping to get more shut-eye, it’s investing in a high-quality pregnancy pillow.
There are a lot of good options out there and you can find one that fits your sleep habits. For example, there are pillows with a midsection cut out so that your belly will fit in snugly if you’re a stomach sleeper. There are also the classics like the long pregnancy pillows that you can put between your legs and under your neck to align you for a comfortable night’s sleep.
If you have something between your knees when you sleep, it can keep your spine well-aligned and alleviate pressure on it and your hips.
A similar option to the classic pregnancy pillow is the u-shaped maternity pillow, which can support every part of your body.
If you get hot while you sleep, look for a pillow with temperature control for added comfort.
In general, if you sleep on your side, you may find it’s more comfortable. Sleeping on your back while you’re pregnant can increase the risk of hemorrhoids and backaches.
Go to Bed When You’re Tired
It sounds obvious, but we often don’t go to bed when we feel tired. We might want to stay up to get things done or we might feel silly going to be too early.
However, when you’re pregnant, you need more sleep and rather than waiting too late when you may actually find that it’s harder to sleep, head to bed when you feel like you need to.
Listen to your body throughout your pregnancy.
Get a Little Daytime Sunlight
The sun and daylight have a lot to do with our body’s natural rhythms. If you don’t get exposure to natural light during the day, it can throw off your internal clock and make it harder to sleep.
This is primarily because not getting enough sun disrupts your melatonin production.
Try to go outside for twenty or thirty minutes a day. You can simply go outside and flip through a magazine, or go for a walk.
Along with getting light from outside during the day, try to minimize your exposure to artificial blue light, particularly close to when you go to bed. Blue light comes from electronics and screens, and it can make it hard for you to fall asleep because exposure close to bedtime makes your body think it’s still daytime.
Choose Foods Carefully
You don’t want to eat too much before bed because doing so can increase your body temperature, making you sweaty and uncomfortable. It also makes your stomach work digesting the food.
Of course, you don’t want to try and go to sleep with an empty stomach either, so if you like to have something on your stomach before bed choose a small, healthy snack like some nuts or fruit.
Try and stop drinking fluids anywhere from two to three hours before you head to bed because you might find that your sleep is disrupted if you’re up and down going to the bathroom.
Sleep In a Cool Environment
A lot more blood is rushing to your skin and moving around your body when you’re pregnant which can make you feel hot. If you’re having a tough time getting comfortable, try and turn your thermostat a little lower and make sure you have breathable bedding.
Exercise During the Day
Exercise, when you’re pregnant may present new challenges, and it may not be what you want to be doing, but it can provide a lot of benefits. Exercising while pregnant can reduce stress, can help you prevent excessive weight gain and it can also help you with delivery.
Getting some light exercise is a good way to make it easier to sleep at night too.
It doesn’t have to be much—just taking a walk can help you fall asleep more comfortably and peacefully at night. Just try to do any exercise at least three hours before you plan to go to bed, so you’re not too stimulated.