Sleep is an essential part of our daily lives, but it becomes even more important when you are pregnant. Recommendations for sleep vary based on age, lifestyle, and several other factors. For example, a child should be sleeping a minimum of 9-10 hours, whereas an adult’s recommendation shifts to 7-8 hours of sleep. These recommendations come from several research studies, and following them is critical to functioning at a high-level in your day-to-day life. Pregnancy impacts so many aspects of life ranging from diet, exercise, and medications, with sleep being no different. As your body changes and your baby grows, it can become challenging to get a good night’s rest. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what to expect when it comes to sleeping while pregnant and offer some tips on how to cope.
How much sleep should you get when you are pregnant?
As mentioned above, sleep is critical while pregnant. The recommendations for sleep are similar to regular adults which is between 7-9 hours. This is important for the baby’s growth, as well as the well-being of the mother. Unfortunately, sleeping while a child is growing inside you may be rather complicated. Therefore, there are several ways for one to improve their quality and quantity of sleep.
What to expect
Pregnancy is one of the most incredible and rewarding experiences that life has to offer, but there are several challenges that occur with it. These challenges can be overcome with proper education, and sleep is no different. Pregnancy brings a lot of changes to your body, and these changes can affect your sleep. Below are some of the most common sleep disturbances during pregnancy:
- Increased need to urinate: As your baby grows, it puts pressure on your bladder, which can make you need to use the bathroom more frequently.
- Insomnia: Hormonal changes, anxiety about childbirth, and physical discomfort can all make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.
- Snoring: Hormonal changes and weight gain can lead to snoring, which can disrupt your sleep and your partner’s sleep.
- Restless leg syndrome: This is a condition that causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs, which can make it difficult to fall asleep.
- Heartburn: Many pregnant women experience heartburn, which can be worse at night and make it difficult to sleep.
How to sleep better when pregnant
Now that we’ve covered what to expect when it comes to sleeping while pregnant, let’s discuss some tips on how to improve your sleep. Several of these recommendations revolve around the idea of sleep hygiene. Much like personal hygiene, which includes showering, brushing your teeth, and shaving amongst others, there is hygiene that helps improve sleep. With improper sleep hygiene, you may be susceptible to insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, or a poor night’s rest. With this all in mind, let us discuss what you can do to improve your sleep:
- Develop a bedtime routine: Establishing a consistent bedtime routine can help signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. This can include activities such as taking a warm bath, reading a book, or practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation.
- Create a comfortable sleep environment: Making sure your sleep environment is comfortable can help you get a better night’s rest. This includes investing in a supportive mattress and pillows, using comfortable bedding, and keeping your bedroom at a comfortable temperature.
- Stay active during the day: Regular exercise can help improve sleep quality, but it’s essential to avoid high-intensity workouts late in the day, as they can make it harder to fall asleep at night.
- Limit caffeine and sugar intake: Consuming too much caffeine or sugar can interfere with sleep quality, so it’s important to limit your intake of these substances, particularly in the evening.
- Use pregnancy pillows: Pregnancy pillows can help support your growing belly and alleviate discomfort while you sleep. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate different sleeping positions and preferences.
- Drink plenty of water during the day: Staying hydrated is essential during pregnancy, but it’s important to limit your fluid intake in the evening to reduce the number of trips you need to make to the bathroom at night.
- Sleep on your side: Sleeping on your side, particularly your left side, can improve blood flow to your baby and help reduce snoring and heartburn.
- Talk to your doctor: If you’re experiencing significant sleep disturbances, it’s essential to discuss them with your doctor. They may be able to offer additional recommendations or prescribe medication if necessary.
- Avoid electronics 2 hours before bed: Electronics may be a major cause as to why you are not sleeping properly. Blue light from electronics, whether that be a TV, phone, or computer, tricks your brain into thinking that it is still daytime. Therefore, we recommend you not use any electronics 2 hours before bed. Instead, we suggest an activity such as journaling, reading, or playing a game.
In conclusion, sleeping while pregnant can be challenging, but there are many ways to cope with these sleep disturbances. By following the tips above and making adjustments to your sleep environment and routine, you can improve your sleep quality and feel more rested throughout your pregnancy. Remember to be patient with yourself and prioritize your sleep, as it’s an essential part of a healthy pregnancy.