Tips for Better Sleep During Pregnancy

Posted by Julie Carter on 30th Sep 2022

Tips for Better Sleep During Pregnancy

Tips for Better Sleep During Pregnancy

You're suddenly sleeping for two and have been warned, "once the baby comes, you'll never sleep again." So why can't you enjoy nine months of restful nights to prepare? Whether it's nature's way of prepping you for the next phase or just plain unfair, getting good sleep during pregnancy can be challenging. Here are some hacks to help you get the necessary rest to support your growing baby.

Why do pregnant women have trouble sleeping?

During pregnancy, a woman experiences physiological changes that can wreak havoc on a good night's sleep. A sudden spike in hormones, an expanding body, frequent urination, and baby movement are a few reasons the REM cycle is compromised. Nothing wakes you up quicker than the sudden urge to pee or getting kicked in the ribs. Expecting Moms often experience anxiety about delivery and the changes that parenthood will bring. All this stress triggers the nervous system and results in sleep disturbances.

The most common pregnancy-related sleep issues include:

  • Physical discomfort – back, belly, side, and hip pain or numbness
  • Fluctuating hormones
  • Frequent urination
  • Baby movement
  • Leg cramps
  • Heartburn
  • Snoring
  • Contractions
  • Shortness of breath
  • Anxiety about pregnancy, delivery, and parenthood
  • Stress tied to life changes, financial burdens, or relationships

Just thinking about all these symptoms may keep you up at night. But you can take steps to improve sleep quality and daytime fatigue.

What sleep position is best for pregnant women?

Pregnant women may experience the most comfortable and restorative sleep by laying on their left side, with a bent and elevated leg, plus plenty of pillow support. A pregnancy pillow and a few extra standard pillows can provide the support you need to alleviate pressure points, maintain alignment, and relax fatigued muscles.

Sleep on your side

It's recommended that women over 20 weeks pregnant practice sleeping on their side for the safety of themselves and their fetus. At this point, stomach sleeping may compress the uterus and stress the baby. Lying on your back with a 20+ week bump can pressure the inferior vena cava, a central vein that returns blood to the heart.

To the left, to the left

Falling asleep on the left side has added benefits for expecting moms:

  1. It is ideal for good circulation, ensuring nutrient-rich blood reaches your baby.
  2. Lying on your left side protects the liver from added strain from a growing mid-section.
  3. Sleeping on the left reduces acid reflux, a common pregnancy symptom.

Put a leg up

Lying in the fetal position with an elevated leg can help reduce swelling and discomfort that many pregnant women experience from extra weight and fluid retention. A raised leg also promotes alignment of the hips and spine. Placing a maternity pillow or a medium pillow between the legs alleviates pressure points caused by the gravity of a growing body and helps a mom-to-be relax. Many women report that an elevated leg feels good and leads to fewer disruptions and a more peaceful night.

Give your bump a boost

By the third trimester, you may benefit from under-belly support. The baby's weight tends to pull the mother's body in an unnatural position that can result in pain, numbness, or tingling throughout the night. A pregnancy body pillow, wedge, or extra standard pillow directly under your bump offsets this pressure, relieves discomfort and prevents the baby from becoming compressed.

Other steps to improve sleep during pregnancy

Some people use good sleep hygiene every night to doze off and sleep all night. If you've been lucky enough to lay down and fall asleep without issues before getting pregnant, now may be the time to pay attention to habits that can improve your rest. Below are six tips to get a better night's sleep.

  1. Stick to a schedule: Get in bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
  2. Keep it cool: Make sure your bedroom temperature stays a little cool (around 65ºF), and keep your room as dark as possible for better sleep.
  3. Turn off the screens: Avoid watching shows or scrolling your phone within 30 minutes of bedtime. The blue light from these devices restricts melatonin production, a hormone controlling the sleep/wake cycle.
  4. Practice Relaxation: Incorporate relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, or meditation into your nighttime routine. Learn simple tips for better sleep during stressful times.
  5. Stay active during the day: You don't need to dive into intense HIIT routines or inclined treadmill sprints to get the effects. Going for a walk or practicing pregnancy yoga will prep your body for restful sleep come bedtime. Plus, low-impact exercise is healthy for pregnancy and delivery.
  6. Avoid eating within 3 hours of bedtime: Eating close to bedtime disrupts sleep for anyone but is even worse during pregnancy. When digestion and metabolism work hard, your body can't shut down properly and achieve restful sleep. Because pregnancy hormones slow down the digestive system, late-night snacking is also a recipe for heartburn at bedtime. Indulging in cravings in the late afternoon will be much more satisfying than sabotaging a good night's rest.

Downlite provides quality pillows, comforters, blankets, and other bedding designed to improve sleep. If you would like personalized assistance or professional advice on your next bedding purchase, you may contact our customer service representatives, who will assist you in your decision-making.

Photo by cottonbro