Even though quality sleep is essential for your health and that of your baby, all the changes your body goes through can make it tough to get the shut-eye you so desperately need. The progesterone that’s released during the first trimester causes daytime drowsiness and nighttime wakefulness. Meanwhile, your bladder works overtime for the full nine months of pregnancy, and as your body changes to accommodate your growing baby, you’re prone to aches and pains that can make it difficult to relax.
The good news is that there are some tried and true methods for sleeping better during pregnancy. Try the following tips next time you’re feeling wide awake when you’d rather be resting.
1. Ensure you’re well-supported
A good mattress is an ultimate key to enjoying quality sleep – particularly when your body shape is changing. If your old mattress is no longer comfortable and you’re in the market for a new one, check out Bedroom Critic’s tips and try to reach a happy medium. Beds that are too firm can create uncomfortable pressure points at the shoulders and hips while one that’s too soft simply won’t provide the support your neck and back require.
Orthopedic mattresses are ideal as they’re designed with comfort and ergonomics in mind. Whichever mattress you choose, ensure that you spend plenty of time testing it out. Some of the best mattresses for pregnancy come with long trial periods that essentially allow you to spend anywhere from 30 days to an entire year sleeping on your mattress with the option of returning it if it doesn’t work out.
2. Pillows, pillows, everywhere
While we’re on the subject of your bed, let’s talk pillows: Many women find that specially designed pregnancy pillows make a major difference in comfort, supporting the back, hips, abdomen, and legs while allowing the entire body to relax. If a giant huggable pillow isn’t for you, tuck a pillow under your stomach and placing a second one between your legs. Extra pillows help alleviate pressure and having the ability to relax will make a major difference in how rested you feel.
3. Got heartburn? Try elevating your torso
There are a few different reasons why pregnancy and heartburn go hand in hand. Besides avoiding spicy foods and staying away from greasy meals, try keeping the upper portion of your body elevated while you’re sleeping. This is easy to accomplish if you have an adjustable bed; if not, Recliner Life suggests sleeping in a recliner when heartburn is at its worst. This makes it easy to find a comfortable position and during the daytime, your favorite chair lets you elevate your legs, easing soreness while helping to cut back on the pressure that leads to varicose veins.
4. Optimize your sleeping environment
In addition to sleeping in a position that supports your body comfortably, make sure that you’re sleeping in a room that’s slightly cool, dark, and quiet. Turn on some white noise (a fan will work) if outside noises are preventing you from resting.
5. Create a relaxing bedtime routine
Try not to watch TV or use electronic devices during the hour before bed since blue light contributes to wakefulness. These are tough habits to break, but it can help to replace them with self-care rituals such as a warm shower followed by a comforting layer of lotion and a little time relaxing with a book. If reading isn’t your thing, consider spending a little time listening to quiet music or meditating.
Lastly, treat yourself to a daily walk, preferably outdoors, either during the morning or at least a few hours before bedtime. Easy exercise and daily activity will help improve your sleep. Meanwhile, 20 or 30 minutes of exposure to bright, natural light can help ensure that your melatonin level is optimized, and this, in turn, will help you sleep better throughout your pregnancy. With a combination of proper support and a few simple changes to your routine, it’s easier to get the rest you need.