While pregnancy is one of the most magical moments in a woman’s life, there’s no denying it’s the most uncomfortable too. As a woman, you are growing another person inside your body. Your whole body is making changes inside and outside to accommodate the new life inside you. So when people tell you how truly wonderful this experience is going to be for you, they often forget to mention that you will be struggling with every function that came normally to you before. Such a huge change takes over your body and disrupts your normal functions. One thing that is highly affected during pregnancy is your sleep schedule. Having a huge stomach can cause you to experience numerous problems while sleeping. Your body needs to be lulled to sleep while experiencing pregnancy and you need some extra help to ensure that. From doctor prescribed OTC pills to prevent heartburn to pillows from Sleepy Dee, you need an arsenal of tools to make you get enough sleep. If you or anyone you know is having trouble sleeping while being pregnant, here are some tips to help them sleep more comfortably.
Get comfortable by sleeping on your side
People like to sleep in all sorts of different ways. While some people like laying on their backs, others like laying on their stomachs. However, with pregnancy, you can forget about sleeping on your stomach. Sleeping on your stomach while carrying a baby is a herculean task. While it would be hard to get comfortable that way, you would also be constantly worried about hurting the baby while sleeping in that position. While sleeping on your back while balancing your stomach on top can lead to the development of a host of issues including terrible backaches, breathing issues, low blood pressure, etc. The best position for you would be to sleep on your side with your stomach rested in front of you.
Stretch your legs before sleeping
Besides the obvious discomfort of having to sleep with a baby bump in the way, internal discomfort can also play a huge role in taking away your sound sleep at night. If you don’t want legs cramps to keep you awake at night, then you need to make sure to amply stretch your legs before sleeping. While doctors have not been able to pinpoint the exact cause of this, it is a common phenomenon that plagues pregnant women all the time. The best way to avoid this would be to stretch your legs adequately before bed. Obviously, this does not mean that you should go on a full exercise regime before bed. It just means that you need to stretch your legs for a bit till they feel tighter. This way you won’t have to wake up in agony with horrible cramps in your calves and legs.
Pee before you hop into bed
One common complaint that every woman has with the process of pregnancy is the fact that the baby pushes on the bladder a lot. Uterus rests directly on top of the bladder. As the baby gets bigger, the uterus starts pushing on the bladder. Secondly, since your blood volume increases exponentially in the first trimester, your kidneys have more fluid to process. That means more pee. This leads to frequent urination. If you don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night with the frequent urge to pee, then you need to empty your bladder beforehand. The trick is to pee right before you want to fall asleep. While there is no guarantee that you won’t have the urge to pee again once you get into bed, but there’s a chance that this urge won’t be there.
Avoid eating right before bed to avoid heartburn
Pregnancy comes with its fair share of food cravings. These food pangs can strike at any time at all. These food pangs can also make your body crave for the weirdest stuff. Besides the cravings, you are already getting hungry more often as you’re eating for two now. However, these hunger pangs can lead to discomfort for you. Eating food right before bed often leads to heartburn. Since your digestive system is working more slowly than usual due to the change in your hormone levels, that means snacks eaten right before bed might not get digested in time. Certain times of food can trigger more heartburn than other types so you need to make sure that they’re on your avoid list. These foods include spicy foods, chocolate, citrus, fried food, etc. Your body itself will give you cues to tell you what’s working for it and what’s not working. You need to listen to those cues if you want to sleep soundly.
Prop your bent knees with pillows
It takes a while to adjust to sleeping on your side. Often times, these positions can lead to more discomfort in your mind as you constantly think about sleeping in positions that you previously slept in. If you want to get more comfortable while sleeping on your side, do it by bending your knees. This way not only will you be more comfortable but you also won’t roll over on your back out of habit. Putting a pillow under the bent knees can help prevent back pain which comes with pregnancy as a very non-fun free gift. These extra cushions can help keep your spine straight, which is struggling under the weight of a growing baby bump. Your back muscles are working double their shifts to stop you from toppling forward under the weight of your own baby and hence they work harder to make you lean backward. The pillows help alleviate some of the pain that comes with this by helping your muscles relax while you’re sleeping.
Sleep in an elevated position for more comfort
While in normal situations, you might not have ever thought that sleeping in an elevated position would ever work out for you, pregnancy changes the rules. Heartburn is a common problem that plagues pregnant women. If you don’t want heartburn to ruin your sleep at night, then a change in position might help you avoid that. One way to do that would be to sleep with pillows under your shoulders but that is a position that comes with its own level of discomfort. Another idea would be to sleep on a recliner. Sleeping in a semi-sitting position has been lauded as one of the most comfortable ways of sleeping by numerous pregnant women. Sleeping in this position makes sure that your baby is not pushing up on your digestive tract, reducing the chances of heartburn. This way even if you have a little snack before bed, the chances of that snack keeping you up at night is very low.
Head to bed immediately when you’re sleepy
Pregnancy changes a lot of stuff about your body. This, in turn, changes the way you would do normal things. It changes your routine and your way of living your life. Another thing that it has a profound effect on, is your sleep schedule. Pregnancy means that you might need more sleep than usual. It might also mean that you might find yourself falling asleep at odd hours. The important thing to keep in mind is that you need to sleep whenever you feel yourself getting drowsy. Pregnancy means lots and lots of sleepless nights over one ailment or the other. To make sure that you are getting enough sleep, you need to make sure that you don’t stay awake when sleep beckons you. It doesn’t matter if its the middle of the day or super early in the morning if you feel yourself needing sleep then you need to sleep. The most important tip to a comfortable pregnancy is listening to your body and what it wants.
Avoid caffeine after lunch for a sound sleep
One addictive that people often find hard giving up while pregnant is caffeine. While no one is asking you to completely give up on your daily dose of coffee, you need to tone down the usage. If you want to go to sleep like a baby at night, you need to make sure that you are not taking any caffeine after lunch. As a stimulant, it can not only keep you up at night but your baby too. Even small amounts of caffeine can keep your baby up and move. And if your baby is up and moving, it means no sleep for you as you would be able to feel every single movement of the baby. If you can’t completely give up on coffee for the duration of your pregnancy, then the next best thing to do would be to limit its usage. By having your caffeine fix early in the morning, you are giving your body more than ample time to safely process that stimulant out of your system. That way you can have your fix while still sleeping soundly at night.
If restless nights still plague you even after following all tips and taking all necessary precautions, then it’s time to consult a doctor. Lack of sleep can make you irritable and lead to a host of other problems. Rather than bearing this all in stride, you can consult your doctor to make sure that your body is not trying to tell you something through these restless nights.