Getting a good night’s sleep is important for everyone, but especially for a pregnant woman. Unfortunately all the changes going on in pregnancy and many of the niggles that are common can make it difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep.
Extreme fatigue in pregnancy
Sleep patterns vary throughout pregnancy. In the first trimester of pregnancy, you may feel overwhelmingly tired and exhausted after doing virtually nothing. It may take a great deal of will and effort just to make it though dinner without falling asleep.
This extreme fatigue usually disappears during the second trimester, only to return in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy when the added weight and stress of pregnancy reaches an all-time high.
Pregnancy symptoms and niggles keeping you awake
At this time, even though you are so tired, it is the other pregnancy-related changes that may keep you from sleeping.
Often, heavily pregnant women need to get up to urinate at least once during the night. You may also find that you get thirsty or hungry at unusual times during the night.
Active babies in the womb
Also, babies in the womb are often most active when their moms are still because they are not being rocked to sleep by your movement. This is the reason moms often report waking up to an internal gymnastics display in the wee hours of the morning.
Various symptoms and common niggles in pregnancy may also make it difficult to get a full night’s sleep, whether it’s “restless legs,” backache or the impossibility of finding a comfortable position that’s keeping you up. Moms-to-be are also often plagued by night-time worries and wild dreams.
One thing is for sure – if you are not getting enough sleep at night you will not feel rested, and life becomes hard to cope with as you feel short tempered, irritable and with no zest for the up-and-coming day. This is all the more stressful if you still have to get up and got work in the morning.
- Don't overdo things during the day or become overly-stressed
- Attend pregnancy exercise classes that include relaxation as part of the class. Yoga classes are also an option, as the stretching and breathing that is taught is an excellent way for you to release physical tension
- Have regular sleeping and waking times. Don’t be tempted to burn the midnight oil more than you are capable of at this time
- Remember you are growing another human being so don’t feel guilty about leaving friends early to get your “baby” sleep
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine four to six hours before bed
- Warm milk with honey works wonders and is good for heartburn. Or try a cup of hot chai (spicy tea) as this is one of the most beneficial (and delicious) comfort drinks around
- If you are hungry before bed, eat something small and nutritious.
- NO smoking before going to bed - in fact no smoking at all while you are pregnant is the best rule to follow
- Don't watch TV in bed
- Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and cool and make sure there is enough air. Pregnant women often experience night sweats
- If after 15 minutes you have not fallen asleep, get up and read a little (something light and happy) or do something else. Try not to stress over not being able to sleep
- Invest in decent pillows and adequate bed linen for the season. Try not to be too hot or too cold
- Learn relaxation and breathing techniques to soothe the body and calm the chattering of the brain.
- Choose positions that are comfortable for you. This may require a different sleeping system as the shape of your body changes. Try placing pillows at various places around your body until you feel totally supported
- Sometimes taking a bath with candles and calming aromatherapy oil helps (lavender is especially helpful)
- A visit to a reflexologist often improves sleep. Make sure you consult a qualified practitioner