Five ways to get a better night’s sleep when you’re pregnant

We all know that once your baby is born, getting a good night’s sleep can become a distant past time, however, pregnancy can affect sleep too. Having a big bump on your front can cause discomfort when trying to find the right position, and needing to pee every ten minutes can make sleep seem impossible. There’s no need to accept defeat and feel tired all the time (as rest is very important to baby’s health and development), you can take some steps to feeling refreshed every waking morning.

1. your position

Once you’re in the third trimester you’ll no longer be able to sleep on your back as baby will put weight on your vena cava, which is the vein that carries blood to your heart. But what if you’ve always slept on your back? Good question. You’re going to have to try out some new positions - some which won’t suit you, but through trial and discomfort, you’ll find the right one. The most obvious position is sleeping on your side, with the left-side being advisable as it helps to flow nutrients and blood to the baby. One common problem with sleeping on your side is uncomfortable legs, so to alleviate this, you can try putting a pillow between your thighs, which helps to align the spine.

Alternatively, if side sleeping is just not working for you - you could try sleeping in a recliner or with pillows propping you up in bed. By being half up, half down, you’ll feel more relaxed than completely sat up, and there will be no pressure on your vein as you’re not completely lying down either.

2. get boring

Sometimes lying in bed just waiting to fall asleep can mean we actually don’t get to sleep at all, but why? Our mind goes into overdrive and focuses too much on not being able to sleep, that it doesn’t shut down and start to relax. One way to combat this is to get up and out of bed… You’re thinking this seems counterproductive, but actually, if you start performing mundane chores or tasks, it can make your mind feel ready to sleep.

Think of all those moments where you’re half way through doing a week worth of laundry or shifting through paperwork, and your eyes begin slipping to sleep. The same mundane actions can be put into practice when you’re struggling to sleep - once you start feeling drowsy, hop back into bed and you should fall asleep quickly.

3. keep it dark and cool

When you’re pregnant your body heat naturally increases, and some women find their senses become heightened slightly. Feeling hot at night is bound to cause you to feel uncomfortable and not sleep well, so the best way to prevent this is to turn the temperature down and keep the room cool. Through summer the heat will become more bothersome, so you can try opening the windows and also investing in a fan.

Along with keeping the room cool, you’ll also want to make sure no sunlight is creeping through and causing sleepless nights. Investing in blackout blinds will ensure that your room is completely dark, although you might also want to cover any glowing electrical lights coming from objects in your room.

4.unplug your mind

Pregnant or not, this one is a great pointer to always take into consideration if you’re not sleeping well. In the age of technology, it’s hard to really switch off and unplug from the constant that is social media, emails, news and basically our entire lives that are entwined within the HTML and coding of our mobile devices.

At least half an hour before bed try tuning out from anything like mobiles, iPads, laptops or TVs. That’s much easier said than done, but if you need to read or watch something before you go to bed, try reading a book in a dimly lit room to help you wind down before you get ready for bed. Alternatively, you could run yourself a nice bath, and unwind with a little you time before dreaming peacefully.

5. toilet troubles

One of the biggest problems that pregnant women face, whilst asleep and awake, is the constant and often urgent need to pee. Due to the baby’s placement, they are always putting extra pressure on your bladder, which means you’ll need to go to the toilet more often. Getting up throughout the night to go to the toilet will leave you feeling exhausted by the morning, and often seems like there is no solution.

Although you can’t stop this from happening completely, you can reduce the amount of liquid you drink before going to bed. It’s advisable to drink lots of water during the day to avoid high blood pressure, but about 30mins before climbing under the duvet, avoid drinking too much - and especially avoid caffeine, as it not only keeps you awake but is also a diuretic and will make you need to pee more often. One other trick you can try, is making sure not to turn lights on when you do go to the toilet - this will wake you up again, so try using a small torch, but never stumble around in the dark as it can be dangerous.

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