Most expectant parents prepare for the lack of sleep that comes with the arrival of a new born. However, not many are prepared for the lack of sleep that comes about when pregnant. In the first trimester, you might actually need more sleep than usual and this is normal, as the body is tired from all the development changes. The placenta is at the formation stage and your body is producing and pumping more blood, leading to tiredness. However, many women can't sleep when pregnant. Learn what your sleeping will be like in different trimesters and how you can deal with problems if you can't sleep when pregnant.
What Can You Expect About Sleeping in Different Trimesters?
With all the hormonal and physical changes that come about with pregnancy, it’s no wonder that most women experience sleep problems. Each trimester comes with its unique sleep challenges as you will soon find out. The National Sleep Foundation lists the following as the common challenges that you are expected to experience with pregnancy.
- Increased sleepiness in the daytime
- Sleep disruptions due to emotional and physical stress
- Frequent trips to the bathroom disrupting sleep
In the second trimester, most women have some relief as far as sleeping problems are concerned. The expectant mother will experience:
- Less trips to the bathroom
- Improved sleep quality
Most sleep challenges are experienced in the final trimester. This is due to:
- Sinus congestion
- Leg cramps
- Discomfort from the growing belly
- Return of frequent urination as the baby’s position lays pressure on the bladder
What to Do If You Can’t Sleep When Pregnant
1. Darken the Room
Most hotels invest in heavy curtains that darken the room, as this creates a great environment to sleep well. You too could invest in room darkening curtains by installing drapes that are heavy and dark or blackout liners into your curtains. Blinds that completely shut out the light also may be an investment worth considering.
2. Find a Proper Temperature
Many of us sleep in rooms that are too warm, giving the body a difficult time of shutting down into a restful state. The most ideal sleeping temperatures range from 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. You can buy an indoor room thermometer to monitor the temperatures in your bedroom and regulate them accordingly. If you experience hot flashes while pregnant, you need to ensure that your room’s temperature is ideal.
3. Add Some White Noise
White noise machines are great for soothing you into sleep and the good news is that they are inexpensive as they go for less than $30. The noise emitted from these machines blocks out all other sounds such as snoring, kicking furnace sounds and ambulance sirens amongst other noises. If noise is getting in the way of your good night sleep, acquire a white noise machine.
4. Wind Down Before Sleep
A lot of people overlook the need to wind down at the end of the day. In the same way that you put your young one away from the TV before sleep, you too should avoid the TV for about an hour before sleep. Take a bath, write in your journal or cuddle with a good book before you head on to sleep. This relaxes your mind and body.
5. Find a Better Sleeping Position
Find a comfortable sleeping position, and one of the best positions for a growing belly is lying on the side with bent knees. Sleeping on the side improves blood circulation and relieves pressure on the inferior vena cava and the liver. Pillows contribute to better sleep and you can use them to support your belly, head and lower back when placed in between your legs.
Take some time to relax your mind and body. You can take on some relaxation exercises such as yoga or deep breathing, read a good book, listen to some soothing music, have quiet time or engage in a soothing hobby. Make time for yourself as this will lower your stress levels lead to better sleep.
Relaxing music for better sleep during pregnancy:
7. Invest in Pillows
Pillows as mentioned can help support your back, head and growing tummy making you more comfortable. Luckily, there are pillows designed specifically for pregnant women such as the donut pillow. You can have an array of pillows ranging from full length pillows to wedge shaped pillows.
8. Eat Well
A good diet will do wonders and you need to ensure that nutrition is at the core of your pregnancy routine. You can take up foods that help promote sleep such as crackers and bread. High protein snacks are also great as they regulate blood sugar levels and prevent hot flushes, headaches and nightmares.
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do, as it promotes your physical health and mental health too. Exercise helps you sleep better but be careful not to overexert yourself and avoid exercising close to bed time. Give yourself at least 4 hours before sleep.
Learn how to do yoga to relieve insomnia during your pregnancy:
10. Try Medication
There are both prescription and over-the-counter drugs that can be taken to help you sleep better while pregnant. However, you need to first talk to your doctor before you start taking any type of drugs as some of these medications can be harmful to the baby. Seek medical advice before taking any dietary supplements, herbs or medications.
11. More Tips
- As mentioned exercise is important and the best time to exercise in the morning. Exercise daily.
- A warm glass of milk has soothing power and it is recommended before sleep.
- A warm shower also relaxes the body and is helpful before bed.
- A good back rub could help relax your muscles. Ask your partner to massage your shoulders and back. But do this with caution because some pressure points can trigger labor.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and soda. If you must drink these beverages, limit your consumption to morning and early afternoon.
Watch a video to learn more tips on better sleep during pregnancy, such as proper sleeping positions so that you would no longer worry about can't sleep when pregnant: