12 Ways to Help You Sleep While Pregnant

Ways to Help You Sleep While Pregnant

Many pregnant women struggle with sleep, especially in the third trimester. Hormone changes, discomfort, frequent urination, and anxiety about labour and delivery can all interfere with getting enough rest.

Quality sleep is essential during pregnancy to help mom and baby stay healthy. In this blog article, we will share 12 effective ways to improve sleep while pregnant.

Insomnia and Sleep Disturbances During Pregnancy

Difficulty sleeping affects an estimated 78% of pregnant women. The most common sleep problems include:

  • Insomnia symptoms like difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
  • Frequent nighttime awakenings and urination
  • Difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position
  • Heartburn, back pain, leg cramps disrupt sleep
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Sleep apnea
  • Stress and anxiety

Lack of sleep raises risks for moms-to-be and babies. Potential complications include preeclampsia, premature delivery, low birth weight, postpartum depression, impaired cognition and mood changes.

12 Tips to Improve Sleep Quality While Pregnant

The good news is many effective remedies can help pregnant women sleep better. Here are 12 tips:

1. Set a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Going to bed and waking up at the same times every day trains your brain and internal clock to expect sleep. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible, even on the weekends or days off work.

Over time, you’ll naturally become sleepy around your set bedtime. Pick quiet, relaxing activities in the hour before bed like reading, meditating or taking a bath to help you wind down.

2. Create an Optimal Sleep Environment

Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, cool and comfortable. Consider using thick curtains, blackout shades or an eye mask to block out all light. Earplugs, white noise machines, a fan or other ambient sounds can mask disruptive noises.

Cool temperatures around 65°F help facilitate sleep. Evaluate your mattress and bedding to ensure necessary support and comfort.

3. Limit Evening Fluids and Eat Light Dinners

Drink less water, juice and other fluids in the three hours before bedtime to minimize midnight bathroom runs. Avoid drinking too close to bedtime altogether if possible.

Consume smaller, lighter meals in the evenings instead of large, heavy dinners. Skip spicy, greasy and acidic foods that trigger heartburn.

pregnant woman drinking

4. Take Short Daytime Naps

If exhaustion overwhelms during the day, limit naps to 30 minutes or less. This provides refreshment without allowing you to enter deeper stages of sleep that are tough to awake from.

Set an alarm to avoid oversleeping. Late afternoon naps may be better than early afternoon.

5. Establish a Calming Pre-Bedtime Routine

Try to relax and unwind in the 60-90 minutes before getting in bed. This transitions both the mind and body into sleep mode.

Options include taking a warm bath, practising pregnancy-safe yoga poses, meditating, deep breathing, listening to calm music, stretching and reading. Consider developing a consistent sequence of favourite activities.

6. Incorporate Gentle Prenatal Exercises

In the evenings, engage in mild yoga, stretching, Kegel exercises or leisurely walks. This type of gentle physical activity increases relaxation, reduces Restless Legs Syndrome, alleviates aches and pains, and tires the muscles. End each session earlier to cool down before bed.

7. Ask Your Partner for a Massage

Request neck, shoulder, back and leg massages from your spouse or partner in the hour preceding bedtime.

According to research studies, massages promote relaxation, ease muscular tension, improve circulation, and reduce physical discomfort that prevents quality rest. Combining massage and warm baths is especially powerful.

8. Sleep Propped Up

Use extra pillows to sleep at an incline with your head elevated, and avoid lying completely flat. Added pillows under the back and stomach can also improve comfort and spinal alignment.

This takes the pressure off your abdomen and chest to minimize acid reflux, breathing issues, back pain, hemorrhoids, and swelling in your lower extremities.

pregnant woman working in kitchen

9. Consider Safe Natural Sleep Remedies

Discuss options like magnesium supplements, chamomile teas, acupuncture, meditation apps or sleep-inducing essential oils with your healthcare provider first. Research demonstrates these remedies improve perceived sleep quality for many pregnant women.

10. Invest in Pregnancy Pillows

These pillows come in many shapes and styles to alleviate discomfort and provide better support in different positions.

Full body pillows allow hugging or nestling of both sides. Wedge styles lift and align areas like the belly, back and knees. Travel pillows make sleeping in chairs or on-the-go less painful.

11. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene Routines

For four to six hours before bedtime, avoid bright lights from devices, refrain from large meals, cut down on noise and minimize stressful situations. Stop drinking caffeine by early-mid afternoon. Establish a relaxing environment away from work or screens.

12. Talk to Your Doctor About Persistent Insomnia

If improved sleep hygiene, bedtime routines and other behavioural modifications don’t resolve insomnia or interrupted sleep, consult your physician.

They may recommend safe medications, progressive muscle relaxation techniques, cognitive behavioural therapy or other medical interventions. Keep your provider updated on sleep difficulties.

Tips for Partners

Partners can help by giving massages, preparing snacks, adjusting pillows when she wakes up, and providing emotional support. Avoid criticizing her sleep habits which can exacerbate anxiety and frustration.

When to Seek Medical Care

If you still struggle with severe fatigue, depression, intense anxiety or suicidal thoughts despite self-care, seek professional treatment right away. Doctors may prescribe sleep medications in more powerful, persistent cases.

Conclusion

Difficulty sleeping is very common but treatable for pregnant women. Try these 12 tips first before resorting to medications. Get your partner involved and talk to your doctor if self-care strategies are not working. Consistent good sleep is vital for maternal and fetal health.