6 Tips to Get a Good Night's Sleep During Pregnancy

Most new mothers have been given the same advice by experienced moms: To get enough rest, you have to sleep when the baby sleeps. But what about getting the necessary rest prior to baby's arrival? In a poll about women and sleep conducted by the National Sleep Foundation in the US, 78 percent of respondents reported they experienced more problematic sleep during pregnancy. Most women experience significant fatigue during the first and third trimesters as hormone levels shift. Add on the emotional and physical stress, and pregnant women are desperate for more sleep.

No mother wants to risk taking sleep medications during pregnancy, but the need for sleep can become overwhelming, eventually having an effect on daily living, work performance and mood. If you’re longing to sleep like a baby before the baby, there are many steps you can take to improve sleep naturally.

Watch What You Drink

Did you know that drinking caffeine even in the morning can affect the quality of your nights sleep. Try to avoid or limit caffeine intake after midday and track the effect of having a coffee if you feel your sleep may be affected. Also avoid drinking too much water in the evening so you avoid the need to use the bathroom during the night.

Watch What You Eat

Avoid eating spicy and acidic foods or big meals in the evening since these culprits can cause indigestion and heartburn when you lie down. Having a light snack before bedtime can help you sleep better and also may help prevent morning sickness.

Develop Regular Sleep Routines

Your body’s internal clock is more powerful than you may realize. Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day can help you tap into its power as your body will naturally begin to relax once bedtime nears. Having a nighttime ritual like reading before sleep or taking a bath can increase the body’s natural sleep responses.

Make Your Bedroom an Inviting Sanctuary

Eliminate electronics and reserve your room for sleep and sex only, not as a place to check email, watch TV or pay bills. Invest in soft bedding and a firm, comfortable mattress.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

That may seem easier said than done, but learning a few basic meditation techniques or yoga postures and practicing them a few times a day can help reduce or eliminate stress that might be keeping you awake. Sharing your concerns with an understanding friend or spouse may also help.

Get Up

If you’re tossing and turning for 20 minutes or more, get out of bed and listen to music or read until you feel drowsy. Worrying about not being able to sleep can make you stay awake longer.

Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be a time of stress and worry. Some factors affecting your sleep like fluctuating hormones are out of your control. But other factors can be changed to help you get a better night’s sleep. Use these guidelines as a basis for change so you can get the rest you need to welcome your new arrival into the world.

Author Tamara McLellan

Tamara recently quit teaching third grade to be a full-time mom (she is expecting her first this fall). Writing has been the only thing keeping her sane in between bouts of morning sickness.

This article was written for The Pregnancy Centre. June 2013.