Moms-to-be need their sleep. However, it can be hard to get a good night's sleep, especially during the first and the last trimester.
Why sleeping can be difficult
Each trimester comes with its specific sleep challenges.
First trimester- In the first trimester, there is a spike in the hormone called progesterone — which can make you feel sleepy. Progesterone can even cause daytime sleepiness and fatigue. You may need to go to bed early or take naps during the day.
Second trimester- The second trimester usually brings some relief, and your sleep normalizes.
Third trimester-As your belly grows, it can be challenging to find a comfortable sleeping position.
The other common reasons that may interfere with your sleep include:
- Substantial weight gain
- Back pain
- Baby kicks
- Leg cramps
- More frequent urination urges
- Irregular uterine contractions
- Anxiety about labour and delivery
- Some women experience strange dreams or nightmares about the baby, labour, and birth. It's important to remember that it's just a dream. Relaxation and breathing techniques may help reduce any anxiety you might be feeling. Talking to your partner may also help.
Tips to help you sleep better
The following tips might help you sleep better:
- Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool, and quiet.
- Develop a routine - try going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
- Avoid electronic devices such as TVs, computers, and smartphones for at least an hour before bedtime.
- Limit intake of foods containing caffeine such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate. Having a glass of warm milk before bedtime might help bring on sleep.
- Regular physical activity can aid in helping you sleep more easily. However, avoid vigorous exercises right before bedtime.
- Stay hydrated to help reduce leg cramping.
- Eat small, frequent meals.
- Avoid eating three hours before bedtime to prevent heartburn.
- Relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, or massage therapy can help calm your mind. Your prenatal classes can teach you some of these techniques.
Finding a bump-friendly sleeping position
Favour your side: The safest position to sleep is on your side. Sleeping on your back can put the weight of your uterus on your spine and back muscles; hence it's wise to avoid that position. It's okay if you wake up on your back – research suggests that the position we fall asleep in is the position we keep the longest. If you wake up on your back, you can turn over and go to sleep again on your side.
Use pillows: -Pillows can be used to support both the abdomen and back. Place a pillow between your bent knees or under your belly to help you get comfortable.
- Harvard Health Publishing. Insomnia During Pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/decision_guide/insomnia-during-pregnancy#noprobablynot. Accessed on Aug 24, 2020.
- Cleveland Clinic. Your Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: http://www.clevelandclinic.org/healthinfo/pdfv2/pdfs/15646.pdf. Accessed on Aug 24, 2020.
- Cleveland Clinic. 8 Best Ways to Improve Sleep During Your Pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/8-best-ways-to-improve-sleep-during-y.... Accessed on Aug 24, 2020.
- Mayo Clinic. Sleep during pregnancy: Follow these tips [Internet]. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-d.... Accessed on Aug 24, 2020.
- Tiredness in pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/tiredness-sleep-pregnant/. Accessed on Aug 24, 2020.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sleep and sleep disorders, Tips for better sleep [Internet]. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html. Accessed on Aug 24, 2020.