We all know that sleep is harder to come by once babies come into our lives! But as most mothers will tell you, being pregnant can have an effect on your sleep too. Your body is going through so many changes during this time that it’s hardly surprising you’ll notice a difference in your sleeping habits.
Some of the reasons you might find it harder to sleep when you’re pregnant include:
- Needing to go to the bathroom more frequently during the night
- Being more prone to shortness of breath and nasal congestion that can cause sleep disturbance and snoring
- Nausea, particularly during the earlier months
- Back pain from carrying the extra weight of the baby
- Leg cramps
- Abdominal discomfort due to constipation or the baby shifting and pressing on your organs
- Vivid dreams caused by hormonal changes or stress
- Not being able to get into a comfortable sleeping position due to your growing bump
Before you think that you’ll have to say goodbye to a good night’s sleep, don’t worry! There are plenty of things you can do to help you get the rest you need while you’re doing the incredible job of nurturing another little human being.
Top tips for improving sleep when you’re pregnant
- Take cat naps – if you find it hard to sleep at night, you’ll obviously be more tired during the day. If you can, take daytime naps whenever you need them to top up your energy levels.
- Set a bedtime routine – try to go to bed and wake up at the same times every day so your body gets into a rhythm. Avoid using a phone, computer or watching TV for at least an hour before you want to go to sleep. Do something relaxing like taking a warm bath or reading a book instead.
- Exercise during the day – staying active earlier in the day will help prepare your body to get the rest it needs during the night. Exercises like yoga help improve flexibility and can also make you more relaxed (although it’s always best to check which exercises are safe with a health professional).
- Drink plenty of water – hydration is really important for staying healthy when you’re pregnant and can help reduce leg cramps too. It’s a good idea to cut down on your intake in the hours before bedtime though and avoid caffeinated drinks in general if you don’t want to be running to the loo all night.
- Get cosy with pillows – pillows can be your best friend when you’re trying to get into a comfortable position. You can use them to prop yourself up if your nose is stuffy or you have heartburn, place them along your bump and back when you’re on your side or pop one between your knees to make your hips more comfortable.
- Eat well – making sure you have a healthy diet will mean you’re less likely to have any deficiencies or issues like constipation that might interfere with your health and cause sleep disturbances.
- Try not to stress about things – pregnancy can be an anxious time, so finding ways to relax and deal with your concerns is important. Attending ante-natal groups, reading parenting books, joining online pregnancy forums or talking to friends and family can all help reduce anxiety levels.
- Don’t worry too much when you can’t sleep – it’s so frustrating when you just can’t drift off but the worst thing to do is to lie there thinking about it! If you wake up in the night, it’s best to get up and do something quiet and relaxing until you feel tired enough to sleep again.
OK, so there might be a difference in how much sleep you get when you’re pregnant but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s an incredible time. If you’d like to celebrate your pregnancy, come down to the Tiny Posers studio for a professional maternity photo shoot. Even if you haven’t had much sleep, our timeless, classic images will make you look a million dollars! Just get in touch to find out more.