It’s 3am, and your significant other is snoozing away while you stare blankly into the dark. You know this all nighter is going to cost you BIG TIME in the morning, but the presence of your ever-growing belly is making it impossible to find a position that’s comfortable for more than a few seconds. When you finally do, your mind races with a million thoughts:
When’s my next prenatal appointment?
Crap, I’m out of vitamins.
Time to pee again.
If you can calm your mind for long enough to drift to sleep, the pasta you scarfed down at dinner (#pregnancycravings) comes back to haunt you in the form of heartburn. Just another night in the life of a pregnant chick.
Getting a good night’s rest while expecting may feel like an impossible feat. With each trimester, new challenges and symptoms appear to steal your precious z’s.
And it’s not like you can just suffer through. Forming another human being inside your body isn’t exactly a cake walk. It’s exhausting work, and our bodies require adequate rest while we’re making this miracle happen. Your health (and the health of your unborn baby) truly depends on it.
“Great, so now I’ll lie in bed at night and lose sleep over losing sleep?”
Hold on there, mama. We’ve got your back, so you can move on with more important matters (like creating a human being).
For some pregnant women, sleep problems pop up almost immediately. Morning sickness can hit like a beast, and it is relentless. Contrary to its name, morning sickness is actually quite common in the evening and overnight hours. And let’s face it — it is NOT easy to sleep when you’re queasy.
Create a “sick stash” within reach of your bed. Stock this area with anything and everything that soothes your nausea. Seltzer water, La Croix, Saltines, ginger cookies, peppermints; heck, even salt and vinegar chips have been known to do the trick. (No judgment from us!)
If you wake up feeling queasy, nosh on a few of your snacks right away to balance your blood sugar and get ahead of the nausea.
Sipping ginger tea before bed and wearing acupuncture bands like these also have a great track record for controlling pregnancy night sickness.
Stress during pregnancy is totally normal. Whether it’s your first kid or your fifth, having children is one of those things that sets a control freak’s brain on fire because so much is beyond your control. It’s normal to worry, and it’s normal that it keeps you up at night, but you don’t have to suck it up and live with it.
Here’s how to deal:
- Start a journal. A simple notebook and pen is all you need to pour out your thoughts and fears. Journaling is great for everyone, but during pregnancy, it can be even more beneficial because emotions can be at an all-time high. (Thanks, hormones).
- Meditation. Centering yourself and chasing inner peace, even if life feels externally chaotic, is so important for the mental health of a new mom. Do it in any position that feels comfortable to you — there’s no right or wrong way. Focus on breathing, and let your mind clear itself before bed.
Feel the Burn
Heartburn can strike even the most health-conscious moms-to-be. It’s extremely uncomfortable, and it’s almost impossible to sleep when you’re suffering from it.
If you’re going to kick heartburn to the curb, you might have to make some sacrifices.
This includes saying a (temporary) goodbye to:
- Spicy foods
- Citrus fruits
- Fried foods
- Tomato-based ingredients
- Carbonated beverages
During the day, be sure you’re drinking plenty of water and eating slowly. Try not to lie down right after eating — give yourself at least two hours between your last meal and your next snooze to avoid heartburn.
If there’s no avoiding post-bedtime heartburn, there are a few simple, natural remedies you can use to keep the worst of it at bay:
- Prop yourself up with pillows in bed
- Drink a little diluted apple cider vinegar
- Eat a banana before you go to bed
Bursts of Energy
Many women come alive during their second trimester, which is great, except sometimes that energy can carry over into the nighttime hours. The midpoint of your pregnancy is a great time to establish a bedtime routine to counteract these sudden, albeit untimely energy bursts.
A good routine involves a winding down period. This can include a warm bath, sipping chamomile tea or warm milk, and engaging in low stimulation activities such as reading or listening to an audiobook.
Guess what shouldn’t be a part of this routine? You guessed it, screens.
The blue light emitted by your device — phone, laptop, television, etc — can really throw your sleep rhythms out of whack. Be sure to put the phone away at least a couple hours before bedtime to best signal to your body that it’s time to rest.
That growing belly sure is cute, but it doesn’t help much when you’re trying desperately to get comfortable at night.
Staying in any position for long when you’re pregnant is pretty much the worst, so you can bet that trying to sleep in one position for six to eight hours can be tough.
All of that extra weight pulling on the front of your body puts unusual amounts of strain on your hips and lower back when you’re upright, but then pulls in new directions when you try to sleep in one spot for a few hours.
In addition, circulatory issues can plague expecting moms thanks to overactive hormones and an increased blood volume. Many even report being woke in the middle of the night discovering their hands or feet have fallen asleep.
Here are a few ways to get your new body into a comfortable position:
- Sleep on your left side. Because of your increased blood volume and, erm, circumference, your left side is both most comfortable to sleep on and safest. It can prevent putting extra strain on your body’s circulatory system and keeps all of that extra pressure off of your lower back. Slightly bend your knees, and put a pillow between them to reduce the strain on your lower back.
- Stay cool. Extra weight, muscle tissue, blood, and hormones are the perfect recipe for a hot, sweaty pregnant chick. To combat this, turn the thermostat down a solid five to ten degrees below your norm, use sheets that are made of natural cotton fibers, and wear loose, comfortable pajamas (or nothing at all).
- Sleep on the best mattress ever. While a firm mattress is ideal for the average person’s overall sleep health, a side-sleeping pregnant chick may find that a pillow topper mattress is more comfortable. If you’re long overdue for a mattress upgrade, don’t wait until your third trimester to do it.
Make Your Bedroom a Palace of Sleep
Sleeping’s hard enough when you’re pregnant — don’t let a bad setup keep you from getting sleep before baby even arrives. Your bedroom is a shrine to rest and recovery, so set it up that way!
- Run a fan at night to drown out random noises.
- Ditch strong smelling detergents.
- Make your room dark. Like, really dark. Get some blackout curtains for you, and use them postpartum for daytime naps with baby.
- Add houseplants to your bedroom that clean and oxygenate the air naturally.
Sleep Is Your New Mortgage
I get it — there are 10,000 things to do, you’re resembling a ripening watermelon more every day, and you have to pee every 45 minutes.
Hang in there, queen. This is the hard part — the part where you share your body with a developing human and sacrifice some comfort to create something strong, healthy, and beautiful. You are a force of nature, and you’ve got this.
But you don’t got this if you’re sleep deprived, so make it a priority as important as paying your mortgage or putting gas in your car. It’s a non-negotiable, especially when you’re burning energy for two.
Fact: Prioritizing sleep benefits you and your baby, so make it happen.
Have you discovered the key to getting great sleep while pregnant? Share it with us on Facebook or Instagram and tag us in the post! @AvocadoMattress or #AvocadoGreenMagazine
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