How to sleep when pregnant is a question many mamas-to-be ask. Let’s be real, growing a tiny human is exhausting work, both physically and psychologically. Particularly in your first trimester, after creating a whole new organ from thin air and supporting an entirely new life force, your body is going to feel pretty drained!
Plus, there’s a host of other reasons why suddenly the thing you crave most – sleep – is even harder to come by than usual, with up to 78% of you struggling with pregnancy insomnia. But obviously as a mama-to-be, you want to feel as well-rested as can be for when baby arrives, because we all know sleep is going to be even more elusive from then on!
So we’ve put together some of our top tips for getting better sleep during pregnancy (and beyond) with a bedtime routine that will help you feel refreshed, healthy and content. A good regime is essential for helping you get into the right mind-set for sleep, and a great habit to get into for when baby arrives to help set a sleep standard – most babies are receptive to a schedule from as early as six weeks old!
Try and eat your tea up to three or four hours before you plan on going to sleep, allowing plenty of time for it to settle. Avoid rich and spicy food like curry or chocolate (sorry!) to try and ease heartburn and indigestion.
With baby essentially using your bladder as a pillow, getting up to pee in the middle of the night becomes the norm. Unwind with a caffeine-free hot drink around two hours before bed, then avoid any other fluids to help reduce the need to go.
Unplugging from everything electrical – phone, tablets, laptop, TV – gives your mind time to truly switch off. We’re all guilty of checking social media too often or bingeing Netflix until the early hours, but the blue light emitted from screens negatively disturbs the sleep-inducing hormone Melatonin. Set devices to automatically switch off, or put them away in another room to reduce temptation.
Take Some Me-time
Use the last half-hour of your tech-free evening to indulge in some much-deserved me-time. Draw yourself a warm bath (37°C/98°F) or pop in a shower to help ease aching joints and minimise restless leg syndrome occurring during the night. Afterwards, indulge skin with some pampering treatments, or enlist your partner with a tension-easing massage. Our very own Sleep Easy Mama Kit contains a special selection of products to help get you in the perfect head-space for the land of nod.
Your newly formed bump and ever-changing body can lead to endless tossing and turning to find the perfect sleeping position. Forget about snuggling up with your partner – pillows will become your best friend! Lie on your left side with your head slightly elevated to optimise circulation and help avoid acid reflux.
Place a pillow between your knees, which will help align your legs and spine, or invest in a big body pillow to cuddle through the night that will provide support to your abdomen and alleviate muscle strain. Recent studies suggest that it's really important to go to sleep on your side during your third trimester to help minimise the risk of stillbirth, so place extra pillows behind your back to help keep you in position through the night.
Mama, you’ve got this! It’s completely normal to feel anxious and have a million-and-one questions, which tend to come to the forefront of your mind when you’re trying to get to sleep. Try to concentrate on rhythmically breathing, or go through the motions of relaxing each individual muscle in your body, from your feet up to your forehead. Hopefully you’ll be fast asleep before you reach bump!