Four Tips to Sleep Better During Pregnancy

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Congratulations, you’re pregnant! You may have found out in the first month or you could have found out in the second but regardless you’re ecstatic with the news.

One of the first inconveniences that rear their ugly heads early on can be first trimester insomnia and trouble with sleeping. Pregnant women tend to get more sleep during their first trimesters but experience a big drop in the quality of their sleep. It doesn’t take long for pregnancy to start having an effect on your body. Long before the baby bump starts to show, you’ll experience morning sickness, frequent urination, and other symptoms that make it increasingly difficult to sleep.

According to the European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 2018 study of 486 pregnancies, 44.2% involved insomnia during the first trimester. The study concludes that insomnia is more likely to occur in those who have sleep problems before they become pregnant. However, anyone can experience sleep disturbances in pregnancy.

There are many reasons at play contributing to your lack of quality sleep. Women can experience insomnia during all stages of pregnancy, but it tends to be more common in the first and third trimesters. Between midnight bathroom breaks, out-of-control hormones, and pregnancy woes such as congestion and heartburn, you might be spending more time out of your bed than in it. The good news is while trouble sleeping may feel miserable, it’s not harmful to your baby.

There are many potential reasons why you may be experiencing insomnia or trouble sleeping at night. Sleep in the first trimester is largely influenced by rising levels of progesterone, which is necessary to support the pregnancy but can make you feel more tired and uncomfortably warm. You may also find that your body clock shifts, prompting you to adopt an earlier bedtime. By the end of a pregnancy, many women have a hard time just getting comfortable enough to sleep well. During the first trimester, you might not have much of a baby belly to accommodate, but there are other issues that can prevent a good night’s sleep.

Other causes of insomnia can be stress-related. You might feel anxious about labor and delivery, or worry about how you’ll balance work with being a new mother. In your first trimester and during your early weeks being pregnant, many mothers-to-be are often anxious about their symptoms or lack thereof. There is truly no end to potential worries that can plague your sleep during pregnancy. These thoughts can keep you up at night, especially after your third visit to the bathroom.

We have put together some tips to help you soon-to-be mamas with sleeping better at night!

  1. Put away the electronics

Try to avoid smartphones, TV screens, and laptops an hour before bedtime, as the blue light triggers your brain to stay awake. Instead, consider unwinding with a relaxing warm bath, a good book, or a soothing music playlist.

  1. Stay hydrated!

It is easy to think that forgoing water in the hours leading up to bedtime is a good idea but do not try that at home! Stay hydrated and drink your water steadily throughout the day. If able, refrain from caffeine before bed as well as sugary drinks. Please remember to continue to drink water, waking up dehydrated can add to feelings of nausea and fatigue.

  1. Scheduled and smart eating

Pregnant women who suffer from nausea in their first trimester should try to eat frequent smaller and nutritious meals instead of larger meals. To prevent heartburn, avoid spicy and fatty foods. If you need to, eat a light snack before bed, or keep crackers by your bedside table to ward off midnight nausea attacks. Try and eat at the same time at night if possible. Going to bed with a full and queasy tummy is never enjoyable and can lead to a night of restless tossing and turning.

  1. Exercise

Many women aren’t able to routinely exercise in their first trimester due to nausea, fatigue, or dizziness. If able, aim to get a 30 minute walk in a day to get your blood moving and keep your nausea at bay. An additional benefit is that exercise helps tire your body out and can help you get a smoother and more restful sleep at night.

Shoshi S.
Shoshi is a graduate from Stern College for Women in New York City. Her areas of interest include policy, non-profit organizations, and administration. During winter 2018, she was a White House intern. Shoshi has also interned at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles and at Save the Children in New York. As a millennial, Shoshi brings a young and fresh perspective to the worlds of pregnancy and lactation.

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