Sleeping Tips for Pregnant Women

Tired? It seems to be a common complaint during pregnancy! Your body is working hard growing a baby, and sleep can be harder to accomplish with a growing belly and shrinking bladder. The less we sleep, the more stress we tend to have, and that creates a whole new set of problems.  Here are some easy tips to help you sleep better!

Start with a comfortable mattress and get the right pillow support. A good mattress and the right pillow support for your head, and knees can help you fall asleep faster, and keep you from tossing as much at night.

Exercise – not only will that reduce stress, it can increase the deep sleep that will help you reset. Try to avoid exercise within a couple of hours of bedtime. Instead, consider exercising in the morning and early afternoon.

Turn off all the lights.  Darkness promotes the production of melatonin. Even a digital clock can disrupt some peoples’ sleep. Most experts recommend reading from books rather than spending time on tablets, or other electronic devices.   Avoid grabbing your phone and looking at it as you wind down in bed.  Even if you are having trouble falling asleep, this might only make it worse.    

Keep your cool. For most people, 65 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal for sleeping well.  (Sorry for those of us who live in Texas).    Make sure the fabric on your bed is breath-able so your body heat is not stuck in bed with you.  A warm bath is great, and although it can help you feel relaxed, it may not help you fall asleep right away, so consider bath-time at least 2 hours prior to turning in.

Eat sleepy foods. Though you might find you get a better nights rest if you eat lightest at dinner time, sleepy foods might be an added bonus! Foods that are higher in tryptophan help produce melatonin, which is the sleepy “hormone’. Dairy, beans, eggs, oatmeal, turkey, chicken, salmon, tuna, hazelnuts and almonds are among some of the foods high in tryptophan-containing proteins.    Just don’t eat too close to bedtime, or heartburn will be keeping you up.  Try light snacks high in tryptophan at least 1-2 hours before bed, and sleep on an extra pillow if heartburn gives you trouble. 

Hydration is important, and sometimes it is tempting to STOP drinking fluids in the evening so that you aren’t up running to the bathroom every 20 minutes.  However, dehydration can cause cramping and an irritable uterus, which can also wake you up, so find a good middle ground.  Make sure you are well hydrated in the daytime to help get you through the night.  It should go without saying that you should avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evenings to encourage your body to fall asleep faster.

Meditation and/or Prayer. Think positive thoughts. You can use mental imagery, and also practice progressive relaxation at the same time. Breathe slowly in through your nose and out though your mouth to help counteract stress hormones.

Have a great night!