How to Sleep While Pregnant: Everything You Need to Know (Part 4)
- Tips For Sleeping While Pregnant
1. Avoid Sleep Aid Medications
While it may be tempting to turn to a pharmaceutical or herbal supplement to help you sleep, they are generally not recommended for pregnant women. Effects of sleep aids on pregnant women are not fully known as there is limited research. Sleep aids are often unreliable and might end up doing more harm than good. If you feel you need a sleep aid in pregnancy, talk to your doctor.
2. Limit Caffeine Intake
Pregnant women can safely consume up to 200 mg of caffeine per day, according to The March of Dimes. Consuming too much caffeine during pregnancy can cause increased blood pressure, dehydration, increased risk of miscarriage, and low birth weight.
3. Manage Your Meals
Hormonal changes, coupled with a growing uterus, cause the whole digestive system to slow down during pregnancy. Symptoms include constipation, indigestion, and heartburn. Dietary changes can help improve digestion and ease symptoms.
Here’s what you can do to improve digestion during pregnancy:
Avoid carbonated beverages, citrus, peppermint, tomatoes, and spicy or fatty meals.
Avoid eating within three to four hours of bedtime.
Instead of three big meals, eat small meals throughout the day.
4. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene is a set of routines and behaviors that help you get a good night's sleep. Sleep hygiene is crucial for everyone, especially during pregnancy.
These tips will help improve your sleep hygiene:
Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
Your bed should only be used for sleeping and sex.
Avoid exercise within three hours of going to bed.
Keep electronics out of the bedroom and avoid looking at screens before bedtime.
If you can't fall asleep in 30 minutes, get up and do something non-stimulating, like reading.
5. Plan Naps Wisely
A brief afternoon nap may help with pregnancy fatigue due to poor sleep at night. Too many naps during pregnancy have been linked to hyperglycemia. Taking long naps may make it harder to fall asleep at night. One study found a connection between sleeping more than nine hours uninterrupted and an increased risk of stillbirth.
- What Are The Best (And Worst) Sleeping Positions For Pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a tough time, especially for getting quality sleep. Now that you need sleep more than ever, it can be difficult to get it. With your expanding belly, finding a safe and comfortable sleeping position may be difficult, and not every posture is suitable during pregnancy. Looking to get comfortable? Here are the best positions for sleep during pregnancy.
Sleeping on Your Back
Try to avoid sleeping on your back during pregnancy. Back sleeping during pregnancy can cause breathing difficulties, digestive problems, hemorrhoids, low blood pressure, backaches, and a reduction in circulation to your heart and baby. Your expanding abdomen rests on your intestines and main blood arteries. As your bump grows, you may develop sleep apnea.
Sleeping on Your Side
During pregnancy, the recommended sleep position is on the left side with the legs slightly curled. This position increases oxygen and nutrients to the baby by facilitating blood flow to the heart, kidneys, and uterus. If you're not used to sleeping on your side, try using extra pillows. To support your stomach, put a wedge cushion in between your knees, or place a small pillow between your knees to alleviate strain on your lower back.
Sleeping on Your Stomach
Stomach sleeping may be fine for the first few months of pregnancy until the increasing baby bump makes this position uncomfortable. Your breasts get more sensitive as your pregnancy progresses, and your abdomen continues to expand, making sleeping on your stomach uncomfortable. A donut-shaped pillow (with a hole in the center) may make sleeping on your stomach more comfortable.