Sleeping soundly as your pregnancy progresses can prove a challenge, not only is baby and bump growing and you have late night runs to the bathroom to contend with, but it’s also medically advised that you avoid sleeping on your back as you can place too much weight on the major vein that moves blood to the heart from your feet and legs, which in turn requires the heart to work harder. So while you’re busy counting sheep, shifting positions and settling restless legs, we’ve compiled some top tips from sleep experts the world over to help all those mamas-to-be sleep more soundly.
#1. Skip late night treats!. Hunger can be insatiable throughout your pregnancy, yes baby may be hungry at 12.30am but seriously, it’s time to exercise your willpower. It’s recommended that you don’t drink or eat anything at least two hours before bed as there’s a strong likelihood that it will result in reflux or heartburn – keeping you wide awake and totally uncomfortable.
#2. Try to sleep on your side! As we’ve discussed you probably know it is vital that you aim to sleep on you your side for not only comfort but for the health of both you and your growing baby. Not only will sleeping on your side reduce the amount of pressure on your uterus it will enable you to breathe more freely and increase optimal blood flow and circulation between you and baby.
#3. Prop the pillows! All mamas-to-be need a firm pillow such as the Dreamgenii Pregnancy Pillow. It will optimise your comfort and sleeping position, allowing you to prop your head and upper body by a few inches, ensuring gravity puts less pressure on the diaphragm and allowing you to breathe easier. Strategically designed pregnancy pillows like the Dreamgenii will support the stomach and optimize the blood and nutrient flow between baby and mama.
#4. Be restless no more! Even though it may seem counterintuitive, if you can’t sleep, try not to lie in bed tossing and turning. Sleep specialists recommend getting up and engaging in an activity that bores you – like folding clothes. The more mundane the better and these activities can be used to your advantage, so once you’ve relaxed (or had enough of the clothes) go back to bed and catch those all important zzzzz’s.
#5. Is your bed comfy enough? A comfortable bed and sleeping environment is key! As the spine feels more pressure than normal during pregnancy, try arranging your pillows to elevate your body, this will help to alleviate back pain and take pressure of the uterus. Also make sure your mattress is offering optimal support, add a mattress pad if necessary or a pregnancy pillow like the Dreamgenii.
#6. Nap short and sweet! If you’re lucky enough to nap during the day, try to limit your naps to no more than 30 minutes. Napping longer will allow your body to enter into deep sleep and this will make it more difficult for you to wake and will leave you feeling groggy. Napping will also make it more difficult to sleep throughout the night, however if you are prone to fatigue during the day take a few 30 minute naps rather than one longer nap.
#7. Turn down the temperature! Did you know that your body heat increases during your pregnancy? Many women tend to feel hot all the time and coupled with a stuffy, too warm bedroom, it could prove very difficult to sleep. Why not experiment with the thermostat to find your most comfortable temp – it may be a few degrees lower than normal. For many people, a room temp in the low 60’s (degrees fahrenheit) is an ideal sleeping temperature.
#8. Put the phone away! Turn off the phone, sign out of Facebook and switch off the TV at least a few minutes before you go to bed. External stimulation including books, late night workouts etc will keep you wired and far from dreams of baby-gros!
#9. Bed equals sleep! Try to keep your bed and bedroom for sleep and sex only. Working on the bed, responding to emails, paying bills, checking out Facebook and Instagram detracts from the bedroom being a place of relaxation and tranquility. Train your body to recognize that your bed is for resting only, oh and baby making!
#10. Lights off! Ensure your room is both quiet and dark, turn any alarm clocks or media devices off so that there is no artificial light source. Artificial light can disturb natural sleep and inhibit the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, which will negatively affect your sleep cycle.