Sleeping for two: how to combat sleep disruption during pregnancy
Pregnant? Congrats. Now let’s talk about your lack of sleep.
Sleep and pregnancy just don’t seem to go together for some people. And there’s a whole heap of reasons why.
Some people will tell you it’s your body preparing you for the sleepless newborn weeks ahead. Others say it’s the increase in the volume of blood in your body, which leads to an increase in body temperature and more middle of the night trips to the loo.
Then there are the physical changes to your body which can lead to fluid retention and compression of the bladder, and let’s not forget the havoc all those hormonal changes can cause!
Hopefully these tips will help you catch up on some much needed pre-baby zz’s.
Keep your cool.
Waking with night sweats can be pretty common as your metabolic rate increases, particularly in the third trimester. A cool shower before bed can help regulate your body temperature. Also, consider ditching the doona, adjusting the air-con setting or strategically placing some fans around your bed.
Practice the art of ‘sleep walking’
When you get up in the night to go to the toilet, try doing it with your eyes half closed – and no lights, no checking phones or even the time (it will wake your brain up). Just make sure before you go to bed that there is a clear path to the bathroom so you don’t have to think too much or negotiate a floordrobe on the way!
Pillows. Pillows everywhere.
They will become your comfort cuddle and let’s face it, pretty much replace your partner!
An extra pillow under your head can support your neck and shoulders and elevate you (which can help with heartburn). In your second and third trimester placing a pillow between your knees will help even out your distribution of weight and protect your pelvis. A pillow behind you will help to support your back and reduce your movement.
Consider investing in a pregnancy pillow - wedge shaped, U-shaped, S-shaped or other. It will help keep you in the recommended side-sleeping position and prevent movement while you sleep so you’re less likely to roll onto your tummy or back.
Sleep on your left side to aid digestion and control heartburn
Heartburn is a hormone related condition. It relaxes the muscles of the oesophagus, which allows acid to “reflux” from the stomach. Almost a third of pregnant women report this symptom and sleeping on your left can help.
Everything at arms length
Getting in and out of bed isn’t easy when you’re pregnant, especially in the third trimester. So prep everything you might need during the night - water, lip balm, tissues, and some nice lotion - and keep it within easy reach.
Avoid restless leg for restful sleep
Nobody seems to know the exact cause of leg cramps in pregnancy, but there’s a lot you can do to help avoid it, such as stretching your calf muscles, walking, elevating your legs, being active during the day and drinking plenty of fluids.
Magnesium supplements can also help prevent leg cramps and help you switch off and fall asleep faster but make sure to check with your health care provider before taking a supplement. Magnesium-rich foods such as fatty fish, whole grains, dried fruits, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and green leafy vegetables can also help – nomnom!
Consider updating your mattress or base to reduce disturbance
There are plenty of reasons why you lose sleep during pregnancy; partner disturbance doesn’t need to be one of them! If your mattress is due for an update it could be worth investing in one that reduces partner disturbance, for both pregnancy and post pregnancy during those sleepless months ahead. If all else fails, just kick your partner out of bed.
Please contact your midwife or doctor if you are concerned about your sleep position or pregnancy.