Trouble Sleeping During Pregnancy
Finding a comfortable resting position can become difficult later in pregnancy. And your ballooning belly and bathroom breaks aren’t the only things keeping you up. From backaches to heartburn to anxiety, a wide range of concerns can affect slumber. 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, now is when you need sleep the most. Your body needs to rest so it can feed and house your growing baby.
When you are pregnant, finding a comfortable position to sleep in can be challenging at best. Sleeping on back is not recommended because it can obstruct blood vessels and slow blood circulation for you and your baby. But sleeping on your stomach will hurt your belly or breast or cause stomach problems.
So what to do?
Side sleeping is considered the best for you and your baby. Sleeping on left side whenever possible is best recommended because it will improve circulation and protect your liver but either side is fine. Just find the spot that’s most comfortable for you.
How to get comfortable?
- Prop with pillows. Placing a pillow between your knees or underneath your tummy can give you extra support. A full body pillow is great for this. Pillows positioned in the right way can also keep you from rolling onto your back or stomach while you sleep.
- Prop up the top of your bed a few inches with books or blocks. This will elevate your head and help reduce heartburn.
- Placing a pillow under your hip will allow you to lay more on your back without being completely flat.
- Don’t take sleep medication.
- Try drinking warm milk at bedtime.
- Take a warm shower or bath before bedtime.
- Sleep with bent knees to take pressure off your back.
- Exercises: Every day, try to take a 30-minute walk or a pregnancy exercise class. Staying active can help you sleep better. Just do it early in the day. Exercising within 4 hours of bedtime can be stimulating enough to keep you up.
- Relax before bed. Try a pregnancy yoga video or some deep-breathing exercises.
- Stretch. Do a few leg stretches to keep your legs from cramping during the night.
- Limit drinks. Stop drinking within 2 or 3 hours of bedtime so you won’t have to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
- Avoid late meals as well as spicy, greasy, or acidic foods close to bedtime.
- Pee before sleeping. Make one last trip to the bathroom before you turn out the light.
- Turn down the thermostat. You’re going to feel warmer 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.
No matter what you do, sleeping while you’re pregnant is a challenge. But understanding why you’re having a hard time sleeping will help you address the problems.
DR VANDANA BIWAL
SENIOR CONSULTANT OBSTETRICS & GYNECOLOGY
SWASTIK HOSPITAL AND RESEARCH CENTRE, JAIPUR