There is nothing more elusive than sleep when you are pregnant. Especailly once your belly starts to grow. It can be hard to find a comfortable position, your muscles hurt in weird places, baby is kicking, and lets not get started on your bladder.
So what can you do?
At Lancaster Doulas we have years of helping pregnant people get a better nights rest, let us share our top suggestions on how you can make the most of the sleep you DO get.
Quality over Quantity
We all know that quality over quantity is the biggest factor in good sleep. Especailly in pregnancy when it can be hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. But how do you know if you are getting good quality sleep when it feels like you are up every 30 min to pee?
- You fall asleep quickly (in less than 30 min)
- You fall back asleep within 20 min if you do wake up
- You feel rested, restored, and energized in the morning
With leg cramps, tender muscles, and a stretched uterus getting comfortable can feel like a chore. If possible start your bedtime routine with a hot bath or shower to loosen up your muscles. Once you are ready to tuck in build a “nest” with pillows, or use a pregnancy pillow to help take some of the tension off of your back and neck. Don’t forget a pillow between your knees and ankles to support your pelvis and reduice hip pain while you sleep.
Lower Your Anxiety
We have all been there, you wake up in the middle of the night with racing thoughts and then cannot get back to sleep. Anxiety is no joke, especailly when it takes a toll on your sleep. Anxiety in pregnancy can be caused by pregnancy hormones, daily stress, unexpected complications, or trauma from a past birth experience. Wherever the anxiety is coming from we have some great tips on how to lower your anxiety on our blog.
Sex and Sleeping Only
Good sleep hygiene is imperative to getting the most out of nightime sleep. The bed should only be for sleep and sex. Try to avoid watching TV or playing with your phone in your bed or your brain will associate your bed with wakefulness. Whenever possible keep the bed for sex and sleeping only!
Set The Mood
Just like setting the mood for sex, you can set the mood for sleep. Brush your teeth, lower the drapes, and turn on a sound machine. Following a bedtime routine helps your brain know when it is time for sleep. Following the same routine everynight will train your body to know when it is time to relax (tip: this works for baby’s sleep routine too!)
No one says all your rest has to happen at night! If you have the opportunity to nap throughout the day do it. A good nap can be just as much of a pick-me-up as a full night of sleep.