Were you a sound sleeper pre-pregnancy? Kiss those restful nights bye-bye, baby. Now that your belly is weighing you down and baby is putting pressure on your bladder, you'll spend many nights tossing, turning, and rushing for the bathroom.
Your ballooning belly and bathroom breaks aren't the only things keeping you up each night. From backaches to heartburn to anxiety, a wide range of afflictions can disrupt slumber during pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones can also disrupt your sleep patterns, leaving you exhausted by day and wide awake by night.
Even though you may not be sleeping well, right now is when you need sleep the most. Your body needs to rest so it can feed and house your growing baby. Plus, once your baby arrives, he or she will be waking you up for feedings at all hours of the night.
How to Maximize Sleep Comfort
Here are some tips for making yourself more comfortable in bed so you can sleep as well as possible:
- Use pillows. Put a few extra pillows in bed with you. You can use an extra-long pregnancy pillow, or just any extra pillow you have lying around. Put one under your belly and between your legs to raise your abdomen and support your back and hips. But don't prop extra pillows behind your head. Instead, use blocks to prop up the head of the bed a few inches. This can ease breathing and help prevent any backflow of stomach acid from reflux.
- Roll over. Sleeping on your side or in a reclined position will be more comfortable than your back or stomach now that your belly is growing. Sleep with bent knees to take pressure off your back.
- Exercise. Every day, try to take a 30-minute walk or a pregnancy exercise class. Staying active can help you sleep better. Just do your exercise early in the day. Exercising within 4 hours of bedtime can be stimulating enough to keep you up.
- Relax before bed. To help calm you, try a pregnancy yoga video or some deep-breathing exercises before bed. A warm bath or massage is also a good way to relax.
- Stretch. Do a few leg stretches to prevent your legs from cramping during the night.
- Limit drinks. You need extra fluids now, but don't get them late in the day. Stop drinking within 2 to 3 hours of bedtime so you won't have to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Avoid coffee and caffeinated soda before bedtime, too. Caffeine is a diuretic that makes you have to pee more.
- Pee before sleeping. Make one last trip to the bathroom before you turn out the light to sleep.
- Turn down the thermostat. You're going to feel warmer right now because extra blood is rushing to your skin. Keeping your bedroom cool will make you more comfortable, and prevent you from having to kick off the covers in the middle of the night.