By: Kristin Herman
Being pregnant can be a challenging time, especially when it comes to doing naturally easy every day things — like sleeping. While sleeping might not seem like a problem at first, you’ll eventually see what we mean. Here are 6 tips to help you get a better night’s sleep while your belly continues to grow.
- Clear Your Mind First
“As you go to bed, you have to have a clear mind first,” says Holly Manton, a lifestyle writer at Essayroo and Paper Fellows. “If you struggle with stress and anxiety, then it’s important to talk about what’s worrying you with someone you know, or with a professional. Or, you can jot down how you’re feeling in a notebook. Talking and writing about your issues will not only demystify them, but also help you to calm down, especially at bedtime.”
- Don’t Eat Heartburn- Triggering Foods Before Bed
Heartburn can be a real pain (no pun intended). It can especially be a pain for you, if you’re expecting and trying to settle for bed. While it’s reported that hormones can cause your esophageal sphincter to relax and allow partially digested food and stomach acids to backflow (acid reflux), the growing uterus while you’re pregnant can also contribute to heartburn. What foods can trigger your heartburn?
According to Parents.com, it’s best to avoid these trigger foods:
- Acidic foods (i.e. tomatoes, fruits)
- Spicy foods
- Fried or greasy foods
- Coffee/caffeinated drinks
As always, pay attention to how your body reacts to any kinds of foods that you eat. If it helps to keep track of things, keep a food journal and write about how you react to certain foods, especially which ones give you heartburn.
- Use Pillows + Prop
Pillows can be a good sleep aid for you. How? While bending the knees on your side is most effective in stabilizing you as you sleep, placing a pillow between your knees takes the pressure off your back. If dealing with heartburn, you can easily use pillows to prop, sleeping in more of an upright position.
“The best way to ease the heartburn when trying to go to sleep is to keep your head higher than your feet. In other words, have someone adjust the bed to ensure the head of the bed is higher than the foot of it. Or, you can opt for placing pillows under your shoulders at night,” says Poppy Dangar, a health blogger at Oxessays and State of writing.
While on your side, you can also place pillows under your belly to help raise your abdomen and get back and hip support. Specialty pillows made for pregnancy are readily available online to ensure that you get a better night’s sleep while you’re pregnant. The point of pillows in general is to ensure that you’re comfortable at night.
- Empty Your Bladder
This tip might seem weird, but you can’t go to bed without taking a pee first. In fact, according to Whattoexpect.com, frequent urination is one of the many symptoms that you’ll face during your pregnancy. As time goes on, you might find yourself going to the bathroom several times during the night, which disrupts your sleep patterns. It is in part because of the pregnancy hormone hCG, which causes your blood flow and volume to increase in your pelvic area, thus causing your bladder to fill and aggravate those urinary urges.
Even if you don’t feel like you need to go, take a few deep breaths to fully relax your pelvic floor and void your bladder. Going to the bathroom before bedtime will hopefully make you have less frequent late night (or early morning) bathroom trips, helping you get a better night’s sleep.
- Adapt A New Bedtime Routine While Pregnant
Bedtime should not only be something to get you energized for the next day, but it should also be a time where you unwind and feel at ease. So, why not make bedtime special? If you don’t have a set routine for bedtime, now is the time to adapt one. If you already have a set routine, why not tweak it by pampering yourself a little, too?
Having an established routine that’s consistent and comfortable allows you to fall asleep easily. So, consider the following to help:
- Try a warm cup of milk or caffeine-free tea with honey.
- Have a snack packed with protein — nuts, whole-grain crackers, Greek yogurt.
- Read a page-turner book.
- Take a warm shower to get yourself ready for bed.
- Gently brush out your hair.
- Use lavender-scented lotions or other oils to help relax.
- Ask someone in your home to give you a shoulder massage
- Lay On Your Side
As mentioned earlier, it’s important to have a good posture and position when sleeping. Many studies have suggested that it is best to sleep on your left side for best circulation and comfort for you and the baby, but doctors now agree that it really doesn’t matter which side you lie on. You’ll soon realize that the further you are in your pregnancy, the more uncomfortable you might feel when you try to sleep on your back or stomach (which many doctors advise against anyway).
In addition, sleeping on your back will only aggravate symptoms like:
- Pressure on the blood vessels delivering blood to the uterus
- Reducing the oxygen supply that’s traveling to the fetus
- Dizziness, and
- (You guessed it!) Heartburn
Your best bet is to roll over and sleep on your side. This allows you to get better sleep, without jeopardizing the health and well-being of both you and your unborn baby.
Pregnancy doesn’t mean that you should sacrifice a good night’s sleep. As your belly grows because the baby inside you grows, it’s more important than ever to be well-rested. By following these 6 tips, you’ll, at the very least, be comfortable and relaxed at night, which will hopefully lead to better sleep.
Kristin Herman is a writer and editor at UK Writings and Academized. She is also a contributing writer for online magazine and blogs, such as Boom Essays. As a marketing writer, she blogs about the latest trends in digital and social media advertising.