Ask Sofia: How Can I Sleep Better During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy can be exhausting for many reasons – you are growing another human, which requires a lot of energy, not to mention the fact that you’re carrying extra weight as well as the mental stress that often accompanies pregnancy. As the first trimester shifts into the second, you might struggle with getting comfortable at night. Sleep, however, makes a huge difference in how you feel during pregnancy and after – it boosts your mood and immunity and gives you the energy you need to get through the day and prepare for baby’s arrival.
If you are tossing and turning more than ever, the following five tips can help you get more quality zzz’s:
- Stock up on pillows. Many women swear by a full body pillow that can contour to your body as it changes during pregnancy. But you can also make do with the pillows that you already have a home, placing one between your knees, one behind your back and one in front. Most doctors recommend sleeping on your left side as much as possible to allow for better blood flow and nutrient delivery to the fetus, and pillows can help prop you up and keep you comfortable in this position.
- Avoid heartburn-inducing foods. While you might have cravings for nachos, fries or fast food, it is best to limit spicy, fried or acidic foods and focus on more mild options. If you are struggling with heartburn, try eating dinner earlier so you have ample time to digest before bedtime; some women also switch to five to six mini-meals to prevent heartburn and digestive difficulties.
- Practice deep breathing and relaxation. We often hear about postpartum depression and anxiety but don’t always pay attention to the signals during pregnancy. If you are experiencing severe anxiety or worry, talk to a therapist or trained professional. You can also practice deep breathing to spur relaxation. Writing in a journal, listening to soothing music and meditating can also help with pre-bedtime relaxation.
- Cool down. Body temperature increases during pregnancy, and many women report night sweats even in the depths of winter. If your family objects to a lower setting on the thermostat, use a fan on your side of the bed. A cool, dark room helps set the stage for a good night’s sleep.
- Limit liquids and caffeine. Hydration, of course, if important for mom and baby alike, but if you find yourself waking up every hour to use the restroom, try reducing fluid intake after dinner. Do your best to avoid caffeine entirely in the late afternoon and evening. When you do get up in the night, be safe, but try to keep rooms as dark as possible so light exposure doesn’t interfere with returning to sleep.
“People like to joke that lack of sleep during pregnancy helps moms prepare for what’s to come, but it’s important to get as much rest as possible now. You will feel better and enjoy your pregnancy more,” said Allie Nowak, physician assistant and functional medicine specialist. “Your doctor can help you address issues such as restless leg syndrome, when to exercise and eat, bedtime routines and anything else that will help you rest better at night.”