We all need a good quantity and quality of sleep – it is when we are asleep that the body carries out some of the most vital processes, such as growth, repair and recovery. If you don’t get enough sleep, you can soon find yourself not only tired, but also irritable, stressed and more prone to illness. It stands to reason then, that when you are pregnant, you need your sleep even more since there are bodies to look after!
Despite this need for sleep, many women find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep when pregnant, particularly during the latter stages of pregnancy when your baby is getting big and restless! This article provides some useful tips that will help women to sleep better when pregnant.
Take care of your diet
Pregnant or not, you can take steps to getting a good night’s sleep by ensuring that you eat properly. Processed foods full of artificial additives and caffeinated drinks, especially consumed within an hour or two of bedtime, can stimulate your body and mind and keep you awake rather than allowing you to settle and relax. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, try not to eat too close to bedtime, and reduce your caffeine intake, particularly in the evenings. Herbal teas like chamomile may help to relax you.
Sleep on your side
Sleeping on your back won’t harm your baby, but as you get bigger you may find it uncomfortable. Many women find that sleeping on their side is the most conducive to sleep, and propping up your bump with pillows may help to make you feel more comfortable. Alternatively, sleeping in a more upright position, again with pillows for support, may help – and can help to reduce pregnancy-related heartburn too.
Take gentle exercise
Pregnancy makes you feel tired even without doing anything strenuous, but if you are finding it hard to sleep then taking some active exercise can help to tire your muscles and promote sleep. Gentle, low impact exercise such as yoga or walking is best – try not to exercise too close to bedtime as this can have the effect of stimulating you rather than helping you to relax.
Take a bath
The soothing properties of a nice warm bath are renowned for helping you to relax before bedtime. Add a lavender-scented bubble bath to the water, light some candles, listen to some relaxing music, and take time out before bed to calm your mind. The water will also take pressure off your bump and make you feel lighter.
If you find it hard to get enough sleep at night, it’s OK to nap during the day! You need enough sleep during pregnancy more than ever, so don’t feel guilty about sleeping during the day time – even if it’s only a half-hour catnap, you will feel much better for it than if you deprive yourself of sleep.