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Pregnancy | Your Wellbeing

Top Tips to Get a Good Sleep During Pregnancy

When you are pregnant your body is going through massive changes. Pregnancy symptoms, such as hormones running wild and rapid weight gain, are making you feel mentally and physically uncomfortable. In addition to this, your mind is working overtime worrying about everything and nothing – such as the health of your baby and becoming a parent. By reading through these top tips to get a good sleep during pregnancy, however, you should hopefully be able to sleep better – at least most of the time!

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Get into a bedtime routine
When you start having trouble sleeping, try your very best to get into a bedtime routine in order to settle down for the night. Have a soothing bubble bath with a few drops of essential oils recommended as safe to use by an aromatherapist, and drink a cup of hot milk with honey or a cup of calming chamomile tea. Read a few chapters of a good book or watch your favourite television programme for a bit of escapism and to put your mind off pregnancy related worries, or practice the breathing and relaxation techniques you have learnt during your prenatal classes. Whatever works best for you, make sure you remember to do it every night!

Use supportive pillows and comfortable sleep positions
Different pregnancy stages bring on different pregnancy symptoms. In your first trimester lack of sleep is mostly associated with the increased need to go to the bathroom as well as physical and emotional stress related to pregnancy, whilst in your second trimester sleep often improves slightly. Your third trimester is possibly the worst when it comes to lack of sleep, as your belly is growing faster and heartburn, indigestion and leg cramps are pregnancy symptoms that will occur frequently. You’ll also need to go to the bathroom more often because the baby is taking up more space and therefore putting more pressure on your bladder. When your belly gets bigger, lying on it or lying on your back is no longer safe. Lying on your side is always best, and this is when you need to make the most of supportive pillows – so put one between your legs and under your tummy in order to support your lower back. If you and your partner often fight over the blanket, or if he doesn’t feel hot or cold as much as you do, having separate blankets is a good idea. And if your bed isn’t comfortable, now’s definitely the time to do something about that!

Fit in a bit of exercise every day
Exercise during pregnancy is beneficial
for both you and your baby – not only because it prepares you for labour and keeps you fit and healthy, but also because it makes you tired and will help you sleep better. Try to avoid exercise within four hours of your bedtime as your body needs time to relax before sleep – rather take a brisk walk or swim a few laps in the early afternoon. Your physical and mental health improves with exercise, which should in turn promote sleep. Just keep in mind, however, that you need to do exercise suitable for pregnancy. If you are unsure about anything, check with your practitioner before you get started.

Let your partner help you
When you are battling to sleep – tossing and turning, getting up to use the toilet or stretching out a leg cramp – chances are you are keeping your partner awake as well. While some couples decide to sleep in separate beds during pregnancy, this can be avoided by being supportive of each other. If he complains, know that he is just as tired as you and try to suggest how he can help you sleep – as this will also benefit him in the long run. Help with sleep during pregnancy doesn’t necessarily have to involve just you! Your partner can assist you in alleviating pregnancy symptoms such as a stiff lower back. Why not ask him to give you a gentle back massage or a relaxing foot massage before you go to bed? Using aromatherapy oils may help – chamomile and lavender in particular are known to promote sleep. Some couples also find that having sex can help them sleep better during pregnancy.

Follow a sleep-friendly diet
Stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking lots of water, and try avoiding caffeine – especially after noon. Also try avoiding citrus juices, chocolate, alcohol and rich and spicy food. Instead of having a heavy meal, rather eat often – but in small portions. And to keep heartburn away, don’t eat too close to bedtime. But don’t go to bed hungry, however, as you’ll be starving when you wake up in the middle of the night! So if you do decide to have a snack before you go to sleep, have something that’s high in carbohydrates – such as bread or crackers – and drink a glass of hot milk.

Get out of bed and do something
If there is absolutely no chance of you falling asleep, or if you wake up in the middle of the night, get up and do something. Rather than being restless in bed, getting more and more frustrated and irritating your partner as well, stimulate your mind by watching television, reading a book, knitting a jumper for your new baby, logging onto the internet to chat to other moms-to-be, or having a healthy snack. Before you know it, your eyes will start to burn and you’re ready to sleep again. Also, if you wake up feeling the need to visit the toilet, do so straight away. Your bladder is under pressure throughout most stages of your pregnancy. The longer you wait, the worse it gets – which means you definitely won’t go back to sleep before you relieve your bladder.

There you go – you’ve now got some great tips to get some good sleep while pregnant! Also remember that napping during the day, if you feel the need to, is perfectly ok. Don’t worry about the fact that this might stop you from falling asleep at night – as some sleep is definitely better than none! If these tips don’t give you help with sleep during pregnancy, however, there are some medications that are safe to take. Always check with your gynaecologist first though – even if it only concerns herbal supplements. It is not advisable to take any medication at all while you are pregnant, but if lack of sleep is severe it might be affecting your health – which can in turn affect your baby’s health.

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