Can't sleep during your exhausting pregnancy?
All pregnant women face trouble sleeping at some point in their pregnancy. Along with being pregnant, women often experience a constant need to pee, nausea, heartburn, pregnancy insomnia, and fatigue. From morning sickness and back pain to scary dreams, there are just so many things that can lead to sleep deprivation.
Read on to find out what you can expect during each trimester and how you can sleep better during your exhausting pregnancy.
Sleeping for two
Just as pregnant women are told to eat for two, the same applies when it comes to sleeping. It’s not rare to hear medical professionals emphasizing the importance of sleeping for two during pregnancy. Getting enough sleep is vital for a healthy pregnancy.
Many researchers found links between the quality and quantity of pregnant women’s sleep and complications at birth, including preterm births and low birth weight. Low-quality sleep and insufficient sleep can lead to disruptions of the functioning of the normal immune system.
Studies also suggest that there’s a complicated and dynamic relationship among sleep, immune function, and depression. Poor quality sleep contributes to elevated levels of inflammation in the body. Also, insufficient sleep can lead to depression which may result in birth-related complications. Depressed women have higher levels of cytokines than non-depressed women. Cytokines are communication molecules that are involved in regulating the body’s immune responses.
Sleep and the first trimester
Women face particular challenges to sleep during their early pregnancy. Some of the challenges include:
- Constant trips to the bathroom
- Body aches, especially lower back pain, as well as pain in thighs and buttocks
- Morning sickness
In order to get better quality sleep during your first trimester, it’s recommended to:
- Avoid drinking fluids after 6 p.m. This will help you skip the constant trips to the bathroom.
- Stock snacks in your nightstand. Eating a few crackers at midnight might ease your nausea.
- Nap as often as possible. Plan your snooze time and always remember to get enough sleep. It’s advised to take two or three 30-minute naps rather than one two-hour nap.
- Exercise in the morning. Being active in the morning will encourage better and sounder sleep.
Sleep and the second trimester
Many women also have trouble getting a restful night’s sleep during their second trimester. During this period, pregnant women report having:
- Leg cramps
- Vivid dreams
Some solutions for your second trimester sleep issues include:
- Eating healthy. Avoid spicy, fried and acidic foods. Stick to more nutritious foods such as dairy products, fish, broccoli, salmon, eggs, lean meat, and sweet potatoes.
- Not lying down after eating. Make sure you stay upright for hours after eating. Your digestive process is slowed down during pregnancy and sitting upright will keep stomach acids where they belong.
- Avoiding drinking carbonated drinks. Soda water, ginger ale, energy drinks, diet drinks and the likes should not be on your menu. The phosphorus in bubbly beverages decreases the amount of calcium you're able to metabolize.
- Stretching your calf muscles, choosing proper footwear and staying active in order to alleviate your leg pain.
- Learning how to relax. Practice relaxation techniques such as prenatal yoga and meditation, or soak in warm baths. This might help with your anxiety dreams and your sleeplessness.
Sleep and the third semester
Just as the first two trimesters can bring their own challenges, so can the third. Some of the challenges to look out for include:
- Back pain
- Frequent urination
- Restless legs
- Worry and anxiety
The good news is that there are some things to do in order to lessen the symptoms, including:
- Joining a pregnant mom-to-be group or a class that teaches prenatal relaxation exercises.
- Reading a book to help with the restless worry and anxiety.
- Trying some sleeping positions that may help you get your much-needed rest. If you are having problems with back pain, use the “SOS” position. If you are experiencing heartburn during the night, try propping your upper body with pillows.
- Warming up some mint tea to relax your body and mind. Mint tea is proven to be one of the best sleep aids.
- Wearing a nursing bra that can offer comfort throughout the day. This nursing bra is a must have item for every expecting and new mom. It can also serve as a nursing sleep bra and athletic bra.
- Using pillows between your knees and behind your back. Or use a pregnancy pillow to ease the discomfort of pregnancy and cradle you off to the land of dreams.
- Staying active. Don’t forget to stretch regularly and do abdominal exercises.
- Avoiding drinking liquids for two hours before going to sleep.
- Taking evening walks and warm baths.
- Eating foods rich in iron and folate.
- Avoiding drinking coffee, soda, and other caffeinated beverages.
- Getting into a regular sleep routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
- Using a heating pad.