Sleep is a common topic that comes up during our prenatal office days. There are all sorts of reasons why sleep can be elusive during pregnancy, from general discomfort, to anxiety, to heartburn, to getting up to urinate during the night. The list goes on and on! And, we can tell you from experience – missing sleep is one of life’s most frustrating things. So, we put together a few ideas to improve your sleep during pregnancy:
Try to Stick to a Routine
Okay, let’s start off by saying that we know you are parents, and setting a routine with the variables that come with little ones can be a challenge. But if you can get to bed as close as possible to the same time every night, and rise at the same time every morning, it really helps to train your brain and body to sleep efficiently. It works for kids, too!
Limit Stress Before Bed
Again, some things are not controllable, but what you can do is avoid exposure to things that you know will stress you out when you are getting close to bedtime, such as news programs, scrolling through social media, or even just exposure to screens in general. Instead, choose a calming activity that will get your brain in the mood for sleep, for example:
Take a Warm Bath or read a book
A relaxing activity such as reading a good book or immersing yourself in warm water before bed can help quiet the mind and get you ready for sleep. Yes, it is okay to take a bath during pregnancy – just make sure that the water isn’t so hot that it makes you sweat or reddens your skin, and get out if you feel too warm. For an added relaxing effect, you could add some Epsom salts to the bathwater.
As pregnancy advances, so do the discomforts that come with it, such as hip and back pain. If you are normally a back or a stomach sleeper, you may find it difficult to get comfortable on your side, which is the best sleep position for pregnancy. This is a great opportunity to invest in lots of pillows to arrange under your belly and knees, or behind your back, to get your body supported in just the right places for comfortable slumber.
Though it may seem like exercise is the last thing you want to do when you’re already tired, it is actually really great for both increasing your energy during the day, and helping to regulate your sleep at night. Daily exercise has so many benefits in pregnancy (and for everyone!), so try to get movement in whenever you can.
Some coffee or tea early in the day is probably not an issue, but taking in caffeine in the latter part of the day could interfere with your ability to fall asleep at bedtime.
Lastly, if all else fails, consider taking a magnesium supplement before bed. We really like Natural Calm for this purpose, and it has the added bonus of softening stools, which can be a boon in pregnancy.
From the bottom of our hearts, as midwives who truly know the value of a full night’s sleep, we hope these tips help you get back into a good sleep cycle. Good luck!