How to Get Good Sleep During Pregnancy
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- Prop, prop, prop it up.
Using a pregnancy pillow to help support your back, bump, and hips will help you get so comfortable that you’ll never want to leave your bed again. If you can’t afford a pregnancy pillow, utilizing regular pillows behind your back and between your legs can work just as well!
If you still find yourself tossing and turning, try sleeping in a comfy armchair in a semi-upright position.
- To the left now, y’all.
Did you know there is a recommended side of your body that pregnant women are told to sleep on? Laying on your left side can help increase blood flow to your babe, take pressure off your uterus, and help you breathe better.
Don’t like sleeping on your left side? That’s okay! As long as you find a position that’s comfortable is all that matters.
- Turn down the heat.
Pregnancy naturally increases your body heat (hence those pregnancy hot flashes). By turning down the temperature at night, you can help your body maintain a cool temperature and keep those hot flashes at bay.
- Turn up the noise.
White noise is a fan favorite for mamas for their tiny babes, but did you know it can help you sleep well during your pregnancy? White noise blocks out all outside noise like cars driving by, creaky floorboards, and television. By eliminating those sleep distractions, you’re on your way to hitting the hay.
- No funny business.
Our brains are notorious for creating certain associations with different objects. By keeping your bed for sleep and sex only and not for work, you’re training your brain to know that your bed is meant for resting only.
A good rule of thumb, even for non-pregnant women, is to stay away from screens a half hour before you go to bed. This means television, cell phones, computers, and tablets. This decreases stimulation, helping you settle faster and fall asleep quicker.
Another tip is to keep your nesting urges and any workouts for daylight and try to relax when the sun goes down. These activities are stimulating and will keep you wired, so if you want to avoid finding yourself washing the kitchen floor at three in the morning, settle for folding a basket of laundry right before bed.
- Time to black-out.
Black-out curtains, that is. Having a room that is dark and quiet is important for making sure your body and brain take the hint and prepare for a long rest.
If you have an alarm clock, try turning the clock around or putting a shirt over it to dim the light. Artificial light has a way of stimulating your brain and prohibiting your nightly release of melatonin, so keeping your phone off and alarm covered can majorly improve your quality of sleep.
- Say “ohm”!
Meditation may seem like a learning curve, but it’s well worth the practice! Meditation helps clear your mind and calm your central nervous system, leaving you in tip-top shape for a restful snooze.
Don’t know how to meditate? Download the Headspace: Meditation and Sleep or Calm app (both cost money) and get started! For a free option, check out this video on how to practice meditation!
- Get comfy.
This is your perfect excuse to buy new pillows, sheets, and a comforter. Comfort is key when trying to catch some shuteye while pregnant.
Make sure you’re sleeping in luxury with a dark and quiet room, a comfortable temperature, and those silky new sheets you just bought (with an equally dreamy pillowcase that feels like butter).
- Say no to...snacks?
As awful as it sounds, cutting out snacks (including late-night snacking) about 2 hours before you hit the hay may be imperative that great night’s sleep you’ve been craving (even more than those Oreos. And ice cream).
By cutting out everything (except water), popping a few antacids, and sleeping on your left side you’ll be keeping reflux and heartburn at bay.
- Fold laundry. Yes, seriously.
Okay, so you don’t have to fold laundry in order to get a good night’s sleep, but it can definitely help! Instead of watching the minutes (literally) tick away, get up and do something mundane. By getting yourself out of bed, you’ll be able to keep your mind from falling too deep down the rabbit hole and (hopefully) bore yourself to sleep.
Once you’ve folded a basket or two or washed a load of dishes, try falling asleep again. Plus, you’ll be able to scratch your nesting itch without getting yourself too worked up.
As always, if you find yourself struggling with sleep deprivation or suspect you’ve developed any of the above sleep disorders, make sure to talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.
Pregnancy isn’t all fun and games, but it should be more fun than it isn’t! Sleep deprivation can be a major mood killer, especially when you can’t sleep in anticipation of all the night’s sleep you’re going to miss once your babe is here. Luckily, with a few quick tricks, you can be well on your way to a sweet, sweet slumber.
So cut out the late-night snacking, put down your phone, and take a few minutes to meditate and go to sleep, mama! You deserve it!
National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, Problems sleeping during pregnancy, April 2018.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sleep and Sleep Disorders, July 2016.
National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, Sleep patterns and sleep disturbances across pregnancy, April 2015.
- Emily Rader