Pregnant and sleep-deprived? You are not alone. If having a good night’s sleep is becoming harder and harder, don’t worry, help is on its way! Whether your sleep problem is staying comfortable, worrying which side to sleep on, or waking up every hour to pee, we have just the right tips on how to sleep while pregnant. We may not magically help you have a restful sleep, but we can help make you comfortable. See our proven sleep tips below:
1. Minimize stress and anxiety.
First-time moms, listen up! Two of the most troublesome culprits of sleeplessness are stress and anxiety. When it’s dark and quiet at night, your brain somehow finds the time and energy to come up with a number of reasons how your pregnancy or delivery will go wrong. Keep in mind that worrying so much will NOT help. What will help is talking about all your worries and getting them off your chest. Find a close mommy friend you can ask endless questions. You can also discuss your concerns with family members, like a sister or sister in law. If you still feel your anxiety is severe and you can't shake off your worries, consult your doctor and seek professional help.
2. Keep hydrated!
Drink lots of fluids during the day but make sure you cut down at night to lessen the nighttime trips to the toilet. A good habit is to reduce your water intake by 6pm.
3. It’s all about the position.
As soon as you hit 20 weeks, make sure you sleep on your left side. This is very important as sleeping on your left side will maximize the flow of blood and nutrients to your baby. For more comfort, bend your knees and put a pillow between your legs. Avoid lying flat on your back because this position could cut off the blood supply to you and your baby.
4. Keep heartburn at bay.
If it’s heartburn troubling you at night, it is best to stay upright for at least four hours after every meal. Sitting up will help the acids in your stomach stay where they’re supposed to be. The trick to this is eating a heavy breakfast, semi-heavy lunch, and light dinner. You should also make sure your head is elevated with pillows when sleeping. Heartburn-inducing foods to avoid are spicy, fried, and acidic stuff like tomatoes, citrus juices, and coffee.
5. Get moving.
Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you should be babied. Exercise not only keeps you healthy overall, it also improves blood circulation, reducing nighttime cramps. Just make sure you listen to your body when exercising. When you’re tired, stop. Pregnancy is not the time to push the limits. Avoid exercising at night, too, and do it in the day as exercise releases adrenaline, which can keep you awake for hours. Of course, make sure you get the all-clear from your doctor to exercise when you're pregnant.
6. Get into a sleep schedule.
As early as in the first or second trimester, you should stick to a sleep schedule. If you decide to sleep at 10pm or 11pm, make sure you do so every night. In the day, it is best (and sometimes inevitable
) to take a 30-minute nap in the afternoon, perhaps between 2pm to 3pm. Nap in your office clinic, car, or on your table or cubicle. Just make sure to inform your superior about this. Don’t worry, you won’t get into trouble as you have the best excuse: you’re pregnant!
7. Avoid carbonated drinks.
Did you know that bubbly drinks decrease the amount of calcium you’re able to metabolize? And since you have been sharing your calcium intake with your baby, you might be getting less of it. Lack of either calcium or potassium can cause leg cramps. The wise thing to do is to stay away from them and eat calcium- and potassium-rich food such as dairy products, green and leafy vegetables, canned sardines with bones, and bananas.
8. The solution to cramps.
You may do everything to avoid it but it can still happen. And when you do encounter a painful leg cramp in the middle of the night, flex your foot (your toes should be pointing to the ceiling or towards you). Straighten and try to relax your legs and do NOT point your toes.
This is easier said than done, yes, but a calm mind will help you get better night’s sleep. Experts suggest prenatal yoga, meditation, or other relaxation techniques such as warm baths and avoiding stressful situations altogether. To dispel anxiety, why not enroll in a birthing parenting or childbirth class? You should feel better knowing you can care for your newborn properly.
10. Get help.
If your insomnia persists and you can't seem to get enough sleep that it disrupts with work or your whole day, it is best to see a doctor. Discuss this with your OB-Gyn, so you can get a recommendation. Now is the time, more than ever, to get the most sleep – and remember, you'll get even less sleep when you have your newborn! :)
Good luck and good night!