Soon enough, you’ll have to wake up for midnight feedings and early morning diaper changes, so you want to sleep while you can. But pregnancy often has the unhappy side effect of insomnia. Up to 78% of pregnant women suffer from sleeplessness, and it’s completely normal.
Normal or not, you still value your sleep. Try the following 10 strategies to remedy your pregnancy-induced insomnia.
Your bulging belly and subsequent pressure on the spine can make it hard to find a comfortable position for sleeping. Don’t rely on your habitual positioning for sleep – find a new one. Sleep on your side, and you may need to enlist support from extra pillows, placing one between your knees and positioning another one to support your baby bump.
Prepare for bed 30-60 minutes prior to when you plan to shut your eyes for the night. Reading a book, taking a warm bath, or doing some gentle prenatal yoga can help you wind down, especially if you’ve had a stimulating day.
Relaxation techniques go a long way in reducing stress and relaxing your system. Deep breathing, meditation, and visualization practices help slow down your bodily systems to invite in sleep. These same techniques can help you relax during labor, too–so it makes sense to practice them now.
Set up a proper sleep environment
The right environment promotes sleep. Make sure your room is cool, but not cold, and dark. Keep electronics out of the bedroom. Invest in a white noise machine to drown out distractions and soothe your mind.
Don’t fight it
If you can’t fall asleep after 20-30 minutes, don’t keep trying. It’s okay to get up and read a magazine or eat a small, healthy snack. Lying in bed, stressing that you can’t sleep, only makes insomnia worse.
Exercise during the day
Exercising while you’re pregnant promotes a healthy pregnancy, birth, and baby. Exercise helps you release feel-good hormones during the day and regulates your bodily systems so slumber comes more readily. Try water aerobics, prenatal yoga, or a good, old-fashioned walk outside.
Limit long naps
You may find yourself tired during the day and should indulge this fatigue and rest. But overly long naps can interfere with your ability to sleep at night.
Beware of hidden caffeine and stimulants
Whether you’ve decided to give up caffeine altogether during pregnancy, or reduced your intake, it may still be slipping into your diet. Caffeine in the afternoon can make it hard to fall asleep. Caffeine isn’t just found in coffee – colas, green and black tea, yerba mate, and chocolate can all be sources. Depending on your sensitivity to the substance, it could be enough to keep you from a restful night.
Keep a journal bedside
Pregnancy can stimulate all sorts of anxiety. You may worry about names, parenting techniques, or work schedules. When you lie down for sleep, all of these thoughts whirl around in your head – preventing you from sleeping. Keep a journal bedside in which you can record all your worries and possible solutions. Discharging in this way can help you rid the thoughts from your mind so you can deal with them during daylight hours.
Therapies, such as acupuncture and massage, can help balance your energy and reduce muscle tension. Your body will just feel better, so you can find more comfortable sleep.