4 Tips for Better-Quality Sleep While Pregnant
Getting adequate sleep is one of the most important steps a pregnant woman can take to maintain her health and encourage the healthy development of her child. The average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep, but pregnant women may need several hours more, either at night or through daytime naps.
However, because pregnancy can be emotionally strenuous and physically uncomfortable, some women have trouble getting the sleep they need.
In this blog, we discuss four strategies pregnant women can use to get more restful sleep.
1. Acknowledge and Deal With Your Emotions
Pregnancy comes with a lot of complex emotions, and that's just a typical, planned pregnancy. As we discussed in our previous blog, "6 Emotions Birth Mothers May Experience During the Adoption Process," nontraditional pregnancies can prompt an even broader range of emotions.
Because prenatal hormones can heighten your perception of strong emotions, it's important to give yourself plenty of outlets to express emotion.
Consider journaling, volunteer work, low-impact physical activity, or any creative pastime to give voice to the emotions you may feel over the course of the pregnancy. Additionally, reach out to people you trust to get the support you need, especially if emotional turmoil has affected your sleep.
Your support network may include the baby's birth father, your family members, your close friends, your ecclesiastical leaders, or mental health professionals—anyone you feel you can talk to openly about your feelings.
If you can, discuss your emotions with your support network and try to deal with your feelings in constructive ways before you retire for the evening. If you don't have family or friends you can talk to, meet with a birth mother specialist to find a therapist.
2. Create Checklists to Keep Track of To-Do Items
Pregnancy complicates even the most fundamental of everyday routines. You may need to remember to take extra supplements, do different exercises, and pick up new items during your errands.
If you feel overwhelmed, you may have difficulty sleeping. If you find yourself lying awake thinking about all the things you didn't do today or need to do tomorrow, make an effort to get organized in the daytime.
Create checklists to help you keep track of action items. Additionally, put together a notebook or binder where you can keep paperwork, appointment reminders, and so on. These steps can help you feel more in control and help you sleep better at night.
3. Establish a Bedtime Routine
Research shows that adults with set bedtime routines tend to fall asleep more easily and achieve better-quality sleep. You may need to start a new routine that takes your pregnancy into account, but you should definitely set a schedule for yourself.
Ideally, your pre-bed routine should include:
- Avoiding liquids within three hours of bedtime to reduce the amount of midnight bathroom breaks
- Closing the blinds and blocking out bright sources of light to help your mind settle
- Putting down electronic devices at least 30 minutes before you attempt to sleep
- Turning down the air slightly so you don't get overheated during the night
- Using white noise or gentle music to lull yourself to sleep
Consider making relaxing activities part of your nightly routine. For example, reading in bed, taking a bath, or applying lotion can help you get into a more relaxed headspace.
Remember, while some of the habits you may have built in the past to help you sleep better may still help, your pregnancy could change the effect of some activities, especially in the later months. You may need to try several different versions of your bedtime routine before you find the one that works best.
4. Support Your Back
Pregnancy can be hard on your back and hips. Many women find that their backaches worsen throughout the day and then keep them up at night. To avoid this issue, prioritize back support during the day and while in bed.
Consider wearing a maternity band during your usual daily activity to decrease the pressure that your growing belly exerts on your back. If you spend long periods of time standing or sitting at a desk, take frequent breaks to stretch.
When you go to bed, claim a few extra pillows for support. Many pregnant women find that sleeping on their side is most comfortable. Prenatal health experts suggest sleeping on your left side if you can because that position optimizes how your fetus receives nutrients during the night.
Once you're lying on your side, place a pillow between your knees or use a pregnancy body pillow. You want your legs to be parallel to each other with the pillow between them. This position reduces the strain on your hips and lower back.
If you have insomnia that persists, talk to your mental health provider and physician about your concerns. In the meantime, use these guidelines to get the sleep that both you and your baby need to stay healthy and strong during the pregnancy.