8 can't-fail pregnancy sleeping tips
Useful ideas that can help you get the rest you need when you're expecting a baby
We're usually prepared for the sleepless nights that babies bring after birth. However, according to a poll from the National Sleep Foundation, 78% of women claimed that their sleep was more disturbed during pregnancy than any other time. Read our expert tips on how to get a good night’s sleep when pregnant...
1. Find the perfect sleeping position
Sleeping on your side is recommended to help give you a better night’s sleep. Although you may not find this very comfortable to start with, sleeping on your side will help reduce backaches and haemorrhoids, as well as helping to control your digestion and breathing. It will also help to increase the flow of blood and nutrients to the placenta and baby, as well as helping your body to get rid of wastes and fluids more easily.
2. Use pillows
Tactically placing pillows around your body will help to make you feel more comfortable. Try using a firm pillow to prop your head and upper body to put less pressure on your diaphragm and make your breathing easier. As sleeping on your side is a great position to aid sleep, you could also try placing a pillow under your tummy and another one between your legs to help your support your lower back and generally make the sleeping position more comfortable.
3. Keep your bedroom at the right temperature
During pregnancy your body heat tends to increase, therefore a stuffy and overly warm room won’t do your quality of sleep much good. Whether you regulate your bedroom with a thermostat or experiment with opening windows or having a lighter duvet, try and find a temperature that works for you.
4. Turn off lights and tech
As part of your sleep sanctuary, keep any noise or lights that might disturb you during the night to a minimum. In particular, make sure you turn any tech off before bed that you may be tempted to look at during the night, as the blue lights emitting from electronic devices affect melatonin, the hormone responsible for inducing sleep. Avoid turning to your phone or any electronic devices for entertainment during the night as you only increase your wakefulness.
5. Watch what you eat and drink
There are certain foods and drinks that pregnant women are recommended to avoid altogether for the safety of their baby, however there are other food types you might want to avoid as they can contribute to a poor night’s sleep.
- Caffeine, found in coffee, tea and chocolate, will increase your heart rate and keep you awake.
- Spicy foods are also not ideal for an evening meal as the spices, in particular chilli, may increase your metabolic rate effecting the quality of your night’s sleep.
- Also try to avoid eating large and heavy meals late in the evening that could cause heartburn.
- Drink plenty of fluids during the day, however cut down before bedtime to reduce trips to the loo!
6. Soothe worrying thoughts
If you are having trouble sleeping, worrying won’t help. Interrupted sleep during pregnancy is normal and very common. Rather than lying in bed tossing and turning, try getting up out of bed and doing something mundane and boring like putting the drying up away or folding clothes. Reading a book or listening to soothing music may also help. Once you feel calm and suitably tired, try getting back into bed and see if you can drift off to sleep.
7. Exercise regularly
Exercise will help you stay healthy, improve your circulation, and reduce leg cramps. Although avoid exercise late in the day as exercise releases adrenaline that can keep you awake.
8. Get into a routine
Establish a comforting evening routine to help you drift off more easily. Try drinking a cup of caffeine-free tea, herbal tea or hot milk, taking a warm bath or shower and reading an ‘easy’ book or magazine or listen to an audio book.