If you thought sleepless nights were there only after the baby is born, you are mistaken. Some women experience disturbed sleeping pattern during the course of their pregnancy. This is because your growing uterus puts pressure on your bladder causing you to make umpteen visits to the bathroom at all odd times in the night (and day). I was expecting twins and I had issues sleeping while pregnant and of course post pregnancy too! In this post I have attempted to capture my experiences as well as of those I read on the internet.
Some other types of sleep disturbances faced by pregnant women include heartburn, snoring, the restless leg syndrome and the ever-present nausea. While these symptoms are sometimes unavoidable, these problems could be aggravated if you have a bad sleeping pattern that has been established before pregnancy. Luckily for me, I was never faced with the nausea attacks. I did have constant nose bleeds though.
Follow these guidelines to get a better night’s sleep, during pregnancy and beyond.
Give up the bad habits
If you are a smoker, its still not late to quit your smoking. Smoking and consuming alcohol can have adverse effects on your unborn baby. It can also affect your sleep pattern by causing you to sleep less.
Reduce your intake of caffeinated drinks, such as tea, coffee and cola drinks in general, and avoid them completely before your sleep time.
Make your bedroom comfortable
Since you are going to spend maximum time in your bedroom, make it as relaxing as possible. It will help you sleep better. Keep your room cool as pregnant women feel warmer than usual. Use thick curtains to ward off outside light and look for options to reduce noise levels in your room so that you can sleep better. I would need my favourite pillow and quilt to get a nice sleep!
Don’t take worries to the bed
Stop ticking off the done things mentally in your ‘To Do’ list, while you are lying on the bed trying to get some sleep. If you do have a list, make it by dinner time and assign yourself time to complete the chores the next day. Ensure that you have the time to before you head to the bed. Keep a notebook next to your bed just in case you wake up in the middle of the night remembering a task to complete! Jot it don and go back to sleep. I used to do this, rather type the reminders in my phone!
If you exercise, finish exercising at least three or four hours before you sleep. Some studies show that exercising close to your bedtime can cut down on deep sleep.
Take regular naps
You’ve heard it before, but we’re telling you again! Short naps in the day are known to improve alertness, decrease fatigue and sharpen your memory. Of course, it is good to catch up on as much sleep as you can, because with the baby’s arrival, your sleeping routine is likely to change to a great extent. However, do remember that sleeping in the daytime can cause some women to be up at nights, so if you are one of them, avoid sleeping in the mornings, instead relax by doing an activity you like.
Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine
If you are a working professional, relax when you get back home. Enjoy your dinner at a leisurely pace and don’t just gobble it up! After your dinner, indulge in something that relaxes you, listen to music, read a book or just have a warm bath. A warm bath will reduce your fatigue. Also try to go to bed at the same time so that you can establish a sleeping pattern.
If you are awake at nights for what seems like an eternity (check your watch, its possible that you have been awake for just a couple of minutes!), get up and take a small walk around the house. Listen to music pr read a magazine, and when you feel drowsy go back to bed.
Practice relaxation techniques
There are a number of self-help techniques you can try that should encourage sleep, such as guided imagery, deep breathing, or progressive muscle relaxation.
Avoid deep fried, oily, and spicy foods; these are likely to cause an indigestion triggering nausea. Drink plenty of water and any other fluids. This will help you battle dehydration. Also drink lesser fluids just before you go to sleep to avoid the frequent trips to the bathroom.
Eat small portions at regular intervals through out the day. Give yourself at least two hours after dinner time to digest the food. If you’re troubled by nausea, avoid spicy and oily food. Instead eat light and bland snacks to avoid indigestion that can trigger your nausea.
Sleep on your left side
Sleeping on the left side during pregnancy helps blood and nutrients flow to the foetus and the uterus. It also helps the kidneys eliminate waste and fluids.
Don’t get stressed out if you can’t sleep
If you wake up umpteen numbers of times at night, don’t fret. Disturbed sleep is common during pregnancy is perfectly natural. At the start, you may wonder how you will cope up with the disturbed sleep, but relax, once you establish a sleep routine that works for you, it will be easier to get a good nights sleep.
To wrap it up, a glass of warm milk is a good remedy for inducing sleep. All through my pregnancy I was advised to drink a glass of warm milk with a pinch of grated nutmeg. This was quite a life saver for me!