Five Solutions for Top Pregnancy Sleep Issues

If you’re tossing and turning at night, unable to get the rest you need, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Many new moms-to-be have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, especially as their pregnancy progresses. It’s important to try to resolve your bedtime battles sooner rather than later, as good sleep during pregnancy is linked to a healthier baby and an easier delivery. Read on for some common pregnancy sleep problems and how to solve them.

Trouble getting comfortable: Use a pregnancy pillow to wrap around your tummy, elevate your legs, or assist you when lying on your side. If you have pain in your lower back, experiment with extra pillows to relieve any muscle tension. Try one pillow under your abdomen, one between your legs, a firm one behind your back, and an extra one under your head, for example.

Headaches and nausea: If headaches are disturbing your sleep, you may be suffering from low blood sugar. Try eating a light snack with protein and carbohydrates such as scrambled eggs and toast, which will help to keep blood sugar levels stable throughout the night. If you find yourself feeling nauseous when you lie down for the night, you may want to start eating small, bland snacks throughout the day, like crackers or toast.

Hot flashes or night sweats: Make sure the bedroom stays cool by cracking open a window, using a fan, or turning down the thermostat. Also, close the curtains or blinds before you turn in for the night. You’ll find it much easier to fall asleep and stay asleep if the room is cool and dark.

Frequent trips to the bathroom: Cut off your consumption of liquids a few hours before bedtime to reduce the number of times you have to get up during the night. However, with your growing new baby putting constant pressure on your bladder, some nighttime trips to the bathroom may be unavoidable. A nightlight or a dimmer switch is a better choice than turning on a bright overhead light, which can make it difficult to fall back asleep.

Heartburn: Avoid spicy, acidic, or fried foods, especially a few hours before bedtime, and make sure not to recline for at least an hour or two after eating. If the problem persists, try sleeping with your head elevated on a pillow or speak with your doctor.

You may need to follow more than one or even all of these tips in order to solve your sleep problems. But don’t give up! A proper night’s rest will give your body the energy it needs to have a healthy pregnancy.

Insomnia When Expecting

There’s nothing worse than tossing and turning when you want to be fast asleep. Your mind is racing, the room suddenly feels hot, and the longer you lie awake, the more frustrated you feel.  Add to this an ever-expanding belly, back and neck aches, and the inability to get comfortable in any position, and you’ve got pregnancy insomnia. Here are four tips to help you go from restless to restful:

New mom insomnia tip #1: Get up and change your setting. If you find yourself wide-awake in the middle of the night, lying in bed may not be the best choice. Instead, get up and read a book, listen to some calming music, or do a mundane chore to help get your mind off the fact that you can’t sleep. Then, once you feel yourself getting tired, lie back down and try again.

New mom insomnia tip #2: Avoid bright lights. Even if you feel wide-awake, resist the urge to throw on a bright overhead light before bedtime. Instead, go to a room where you have a dimmer switch or a lamp with soft lighting, which will be less arousing and allow you to return to sleep more quickly.

New mom insomnia tip #3: Try guided imagery. Picture yourself in a quiet, relaxing scene. You may be lying on a warm, sandy beach, or strolling through fields full of beautiful, scented wildflowers. Now, visualize every detail of the scene. Imagine the sounds, smells, and textures around you. It may take some practice, but guided imagery can calm your restless or anxious mind.

New mom insomnia tip #4: Take a bath. If you’re wide awake and feeling so tense that you can’t fall back asleep, a warm bath may help get you back to a more relaxed state. A cup of warm milk or chamomile tea can also help soothe you to sleep.

With any luck, one or more of these strategies will do the trick and send you off into dreamland. Enjoy your well-earned night's rest.

Pregnancy Tips for Better Sleep When Expecting

Pregnancy brings a lot of unexpected surprises, but perhaps one of the least welcome is a disruption to your sleep schedule. Being pregnant is exhausting, so why are you lying awake counting sheep at a time when you need sleep the most?

Rest assured that you’re not alone. It turns out that many moms-to-be have trouble falling -- and staying -- asleep while pregnant due to the hormonal changes and physical discomfort of carrying a baby. While it’s frustrating, experts say the situation is fixable, and since your new baby’s health depends on your health, the more sleep you get during your pregnancy, the better. Read on for a pregnancy tip for each trimester that will help you get the rest you need.

Sleep tip for the first trimester
During the first few months of your pregnancy, you may notice that you need to urinate more often in the middle of the night. This is normal, but to prevent the number of trips to the bathroom, avoid drinking too many fluids in the evenings. Just make sure you drink plenty of water during the day to make up for this.

Stress can also keep new moms-to-be awake, so if you’re worried about your new pregnancy, try keeping a journal next to your bed and jotting down your worries before you go to sleep. The act of writing them down may help alleviate your stress enough for you to fall asleep.

Sleep tip for the second trimester
Many moms-to-be find that their sleep improves during the second trimester as the need to urinate decreases. However, your changing body shape may present some sleep problems. As your baby grows, you’ll find that sleeping on your side with your knees bent may be the most comfortable position. While strategically placed pillows can help keep you in this side position, don’t worry if you roll over onto your back in the middle of the night -- it’s one of those parts of pregnancy that you can’t control.

Sleep tip for the third trimester
During the last trimester of your pregnancy, the need to urinate frequently often returns, along with heartburn, leg cramps, and discomfort due to your expanding belly. To help prepare your body for sleep, do something relaxing before you head to bed, such as taking a warm bath for 15 minutes.

Getting into a regular bedtime routine can also help your body shut down for a good night’s sleep. While it might be tempting to work into the night getting ready for your new baby, remember to put your needs first. The nursery decorations can wait until the morning!

If you find a bedtime routine that works for you, be sure to stick to it. While it is possible to get a good night’s sleep while pregnant, you’ll find that it isn’t as easy once you have a new baby in the house, so stock up on your shut-eye now!