Sleeping while pregnant can be difficult. Having a baby bump can make it hard to get into a cozy position. Also, nausea, heartburn, and frequent urination can keep you up at night. If you’re having trouble sleeping during pregnancy, there are steps you can take to improve the quality of your sleep. You should work on finding a good sleep position each night. You should also form a sleep routine to signal to your mind and body when it’s time to rest. Lastly, make certain lifestyle changes, like exercising regularly and eating right, that promote solid sleep.
Method 1: Finding a Good Position
1: Sleep in the position that is most comfortable for you.
Sleeping on your left side during pregnancy can help to promote blood flow to your baby, and some women find it more comfortable than sleeping on your back. However, you can sleep in any position that you find most comfortable, whether it is on your left side, right side, or on your back.
- For added comfort, try to bend one or both of your knees.
- If you suddenly feel light-headed, dizzy, nauseous, or unwell, then this is a sign you need to change positions and turn to your left side. These symptoms should resolve shortly after changing to the left side position.
2: Use pillows for support.
You can use a pillow for support in a variety of ways. Use a firm, strong pillow that can support a lot of weight.
- Try placing a pillow between your knees or tucking it under your abdomen. You may also want to keep a pillow behind your back. This can increase comfort when sleeping.
- Consider purchasing a specialty pregnancy pillow. These are pillows specifically designed to support the bodies of pregnant women. A pregnancy pillow may work better for your needs than a regular pillows.
3: Elevate your head.
Heartburn is a frequent problem for pregnant women. You can lessen the symptoms of heartburn by elevating your head during sleep. Simply prop up your head on a pillow before nodding off.
Method 2: Forming a Sleep Routine
1: Get on a sleep schedule.
A solid sleep schedule is good for anyone’s sleep hygiene, and may help improve rest when you’re pregnant. You will fall asleep and wake up easier if you get yourself on a sleep schedule. This means going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time each day, even weekends. When your body is on a regular sleep/wake cycle, you’ll get tired at night and then energetic in the morning.
2: Avoid heavy meals before bed.
Indigestion and nausea are common problems during pregnancy. You can exasperate these issues if you eat a heavy meal before bed. Try to stick to light snacks in the hours leading up to bedtime and don’t eat within two to three hours of going to bed.
- It may help to schedule your big meals around lunch and dinner. Eating a big breakfast and a heavy lunch can stave off feelings of hunger at night.
- If you’re feeling hungry or nauseous before bed, try having a few plain crackers. This can fill up your stomach and may prevent nighttime nausea.
- It is important to avoid eating within two to three hours of going to sleep because this can increase your chances of developing heartburn.
3: Limit liquid intake close to bedtime.
When you’re pregnant, you will urinate more due to the baby pressing down on your bladder. It’s a good idea to cut back on liquids in the hours leading up to bedtime. Fluid intake throughout the day is important, so do not neglect water during daytime hours. Simply cut back on fluids close to bedtime.
- Caffeinated beverages, like teas and coffees, are a particularly big culprit in keeping you awake at night. As you should limit your caffeine intake when pregnant, it may be a good idea to cut out caffeinated beverages altogether during your pregnancy.
4: Practice relaxation techniques.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try relaxation exercises. They can get your mind off of the stress of your pregnancy, as well as any bothersome physical symptoms.
- You can try a breathing exercise. Breathe in and out in slow, steady breaths. Focus on the air going in and out of your lungs. If there is any tension in your body, release that tension as you breathe. If your mind starts to wander, bring it back to the breath.
- Try guided imagery. Imagine a relaxing scenario, like a childhood home or an ideal vacation. Take a mental vacation to that place and try to let go of other thoughts. Imagine all aspects of your imagined getaway, including sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste.
5: Make sure you have a solid sleep environment.
Where you’re sleeping can have an impact on the quality of your sleep. If you’re struggling to sleep while pregnant, evaluate your room and make any necessary changes.
- Try dimming the lights in your room before bed. This will alert your body that it’s time to sleep.
- Make sure your room environment is relaxing. A room should be calm and peaceful. If your room is cluttered, this can make sleep difficult.
- Reduce any bothersome noise. If you live in a noisy neighborhood, use a fan or a noise machine to block out unwanted sounds. Keep your windows closed at night to reduce outside sound.
- Remove any blue light sources from your bedroom as well, such as TVs, computer screens, tablets, digital alarm clocks, and cell phones.
Method 3: Making Lifestyle Changes
Exercising every day can help to regulate sleep during pregnancy as well. Get some physical exercise in every day. Try to get your exercise in the morning or early afternoon because exercising too close to bedtime can make it hard to fall asleep. If you want to do something physical in the evening, do something relaxing like yoga. This may have a positive impact on your sleep.
- Try taking a 30 minute walk when you wake up in the morning or after eating lunch.
- Exercise is safe for most pregnant women. However, talk to your doctor first if you have any health issues, or have had difficult pregnancies in the past. You want to make sure exercise is safe for you and your baby.
2: Eat a healthy diet.
As nausea and heartburn are a major culprit in sleepless nights when pregnant, work on regulating your diet. If you feed your body healthy foods rich in vitamins and nutrients, this may lessen symptoms of nausea associated with pregnancy.
- Avoid acidic and spicy foods, as these can make heartburn worse.
- Eat a balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables. Strive for lean proteins and complex carbs like whole grain bread, rice, and pasta.
3: Have bland snacks throughout the day.
Make sure to snack throughout the day, but go for bland foods like plain crackers. Such foods can help lessen nausea, which often keeps pregnant women awake during the night.
- Watch your calories, however. It’s healthy to gain weight during pregnancy, but only up to a certain amount. Many types of crackers and bland snacks contain a lot of empty calories, so keep an eye on portion size to avoid overeating.
4: Take daytime naps on occasion.
Naps are usually not advised as they can make it difficult to sleep at night. However, if you’re pregnant, naps can actually be helpful. Even when taking the proper steps to better your sleep, some nights will still be difficult during pregnancy. It’s important for your health to get enough sleep. Take daytime naps on occasion if you’re feeling particularly drowsy.
- Use heartburn medication if you’re finding indigestion is preventing you from sleeping. Check with your doctor to make sure your heartburn medication is safe to use during pregnancy.