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When you are pregnant, it is such a joy to feel the little life growing inside of you, picking out baby names, and thinking about nursery decor. One of the parts of pregnancy that isn’t so joyful is the difficulty in finding just the right sleeping position as your tummy gets bigger week by week. Between the changes in your body and hormones and the excitement of preparing for the arrival of your little one, sometimes getting good solid sleep while pregnant can be a challenge! Thankfully, there are many tips and tricks to help you catch those elusive z’s during this important stage of life.
One of the easiest ways to ensure you are getting enough GOOD sleep is to develop good sleep hygiene habits and a relaxing bedtime routine. Sleep hygiene refers to things such as how late in the day you have caffeine and refined sugars as well as things such as how long before bed you turn off the screens, the activities you do in your bedroom, and what you do to prepare yourself for bed. Most likely since you are pregnant, you are not having a large intake of caffeine or processed sugars (except when the baby craves them of course!) However, being mindful of the time of day you are intaking these stimulants can help your body more readily relax at the end of the night. A general rule of thumb is to turn off and stop using all screens – whether it be your phone, tablet, or television – before you start your bedtime routine. This allows you plenty of time for your brain to develop the needed amount of melatonin for you to get a restful sleep. When it comes to sleep hygiene, your bedroom should only be used for intimacy with your significant other, carrying out your morning and bedtime routines, and the most obvious – sleeping! This trains your brain and body to react to your bed and bedroom as a calm and relaxing place, not a place for working on the computer, grading papers, or any other stimulating activity.
Bedtime routines are something that most of us already have. As women, we often have a constant “to-do” list running through our heads at all hours of the day and night. Spending a few minutes at the beginning of your bedtime prep to do a “brain dump” and write out any lists you may need the next day or make any notes about the ending day is an excellent way to help your mind be a little less busy as you are preparing to sleep. Including a relaxing bubble bath into your nightly habits with epsom salt and certified pure therapeutic grade lavender oil will really help those muscles loosen up after a long day. Taking your time going through your skin care routine whether it is a simple one-step or complex 6 or more step one, will help your body feel truly pampered after that bath! Remember to try to go to bed about the same time every night as this creates a muscle memory of sorts and over time you will feel your mind and body starting to get ready for that bedtime routine and then, sleep..
Sleep Positions and Support
When it comes to getting great sleep while pregnant, sometimes the most relaxing bedtime routine and excellent sleep hygiene habits in the world are not enough to get you comfortable! Thankfully, manufacturers have seen a need for better sleep for pregnant women and have created a few different types of sleep aids such as body pillows specifically designed for pregnant women! These pillows are created to relieve stress on the joints and muscles by supporting your growing tummy, fitting between your knees helping alleviate pressure on your pelvis, and circling around you providing support between your neck and shoulder as well. If you are unable to find a comfortable position using one of these pillows, using your regular pillows works just fine too! As you try to find the position that works best for you, remember that your tummy is going to continue to grow so getting used to sleeping on your side is a good idea. This is often the preferred position of pregnant women as it puts less strain on the spine than trying to sleep on your back and sleeping on your stomach is obviously going to fly out the window soon, if it hasn’t already!
Help from Your Significant Other
One of the final tips for getting great sleep when pregnant is to have a relaxing bedtime massage from your partner. Have them focus on the main areas that tend to get sore during the day (such as your feet) and the more they are able to massage the better! Massage will not only work out any knots in your muscles but will also help circulate your blood flow. This will also help reduce the likelihood of muscle cramps in your sleep. Other little things that are soothing and relaxing to you such as playing with your hair or lightly rubbing your back are ways your significant other can play a role in helping you have an extra restful night. While there may not be many things they can actively do to help, simply knowing they are there for you and willing to help can be relaxing for you!
In conclusion, keep in mind that what works for one woman may not be what is best for you. Once you have a good bedtime routine and sleep hygiene habits developed, you can easily test and try other methods to give an additional level of relaxation to your great sleep! Remember that as your baby grows and your body changes, what helps you sleep best may change as well. The most important thing is to discuss any concerns regarding your quantity or quality of sleep with your OBGYN as plenty of rest is needed for growing a healthy baby!