It’s normal to feel tired in pregnancy so try not to get frustrated with yourself, as getting frustrated can cause more sleeplessness. Your baby is growing, and your expanding bump is understandably making it hard for you to get comfortable at night. Changes in your hormones also add to tiredness in the first trimester. Experiencing heartburn, nausea and needing to wee more often are all normal symptoms. Also, you might have worries about what it’ll be like when your baby arrives, adding to those sleepless nights. When you’re pregnant, sleep is essential for your health and the health of your baby. The changes in your body, though, can make getting a good night’s rest more difficult than it should be. During the first trimester, your body releases progesterone, a hormone that can act as a natural sedative. This can cause you to feel groggy all day long and interfere with your body’s natural sleep rhythms at night. During the second and third trimesters, the changes in your body begin to become more pronounced. Besides a growing tummy, you have to deal with itchy skin, cramps, back pain, and stress.
if it's any comfort, as you toss and turn, you're in good company: It's a rare pregnant woman who sleeps through the night, leading some folks to conclude that this is nature's way of training a mother for her hectic life with a newborn. Read our tips to get a better and more comfortable night's sleep, and the critical rest your body and mind need during this time.
1. Find a Comfortable Position
Around the middle of your pregnancy, start to get into the habit of going to sleep on your side. This is because research found that mothers whose baby was stillborn were twice as likely to report falling asleep on their back the night before. This may be to do with the flow of blood and oxygen to the baby. Don't worry if you wake up on your back – the research looked at the position women fell asleep in, as this is the position we keep for longest. If you wake up on your back, just turn over and go to sleep again on your side.
2. Get Some Sun During The Day
Your body needs exposure to sunlight during the day to keep its internal clock ticking properly. If you don’t get enough sun, melatonin secretion—the stuff that signals your body to sleep—can be disrupted. How much sun do you need to keep everything running smoothly? We recommend twenty to thirty minutes per day. If you go for a walk or a run, count that as your sun exposure for the day. If you want a less-active option, try reading a book outside or sitting by a window.
3. Eat and Drink Strategically
During gestation, hormonal changes combined with an expanding uterus cause the entire digestive system to slow down. This can cause constipation, indigestion, and heartburn, which might become worse at night. At the same time, increased kidney productivity and pressure on the bladder from the growing baby make urination more frequent. Managing the body’s digestive input and output is crucial for a good night’s sleep.
4. Fresh air and exercise
Getting lots of fresh air and doing moderate exercise for as long as you feel comfortable might help you feel sleepier at night. There are other benefits, too. One study found that 35-90 minutes of aerobic exercise 3-4 times a week during pregnancy is associated with a higher chance of vaginal birth and a lower chance of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.
5. Keep moving even if you don't want to
Get some exercise. We know it's tough these days, but even a walk can improve circulation and help reduce nighttime leg cramps. Active women tend to sleep more soundly than couch potatoes. Just don't work out too close to bedtime (wrap it up at least two hours before) because exercise releases adrenaline that can keep you awake at night and actually make it even harder to doze off.
6. Eat Lightly If Eating Before Bed
Too much food too close to lights out can disrupt your sleep. It increases body temperature and forces your stomach to digest when it wants to slow down. Too little food, on the other hand, can cause hunger pains to wake you up in the middle of the night. Eat a healthy dinner to keep cravings under control.
7. Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene is a collection of habits and behaviors that promote reliable, quality sleep. Sleep hygiene is important for everyone, and can make a big difference during pregnancy.
Improve your sleeping habits with these strategies:
- Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
- Don’t exercise within three hours of bedtime.
- Keep electronics out of the bedroom, and avoid screens before bed.
8. Go to bed with a clear head
Stress and anxiety are key culprits in preventing a good night's sleep. Remember that worrying won't help you, but talking about your problems will. Find a friend or a professional who can listen and help you if there are issues in your life that are causing you to worry or feel upset.
9. Keep heartburn at bay
To prevent heartburn, don't recline for an hour or two after a meal. If heartburn is a problem, sleep with your head elevated on pillows. Also, avoid spicy, fried, or acidic foods (such as tomato products), as they may worsen symptoms.
10. Nap during the day
If you're not getting enough rest at night, take a nap to help reduce fatigue. Try snagging 20- to 30-minute catnaps on the weekends and if you get home from work on the early side — but don't snooze for much more than this. Long naps can actually make you feel more tired than you were before you started.
Don’t hesitate to seek professional advice for any change in sleep habits, no matter how small. While sleeping troubles can often be managed at home, sometimes a medical expert is needed to guide care or assess for something serious. Staying healthy is especially important during pregnancy, and good health starts with a good night’s sleep.