During pregnancy, one of the things that I was frequently told and which irritated me to no limits was, “Sleep well during pregnancy and sleep all that you want to. Once the baby comes, you won’t get much of it.” If you are pregnant and reading this, I am sure you will agree with me. Sleep is a very important commodity. We know that. But during pregnancy, it’s more so, as a good night’s sleep is a scarce commodity. There are various factors contributing to it. Hormones, morning sickness, exhaustion, bulging tummy and frequent urination all are major culprits in stealing away your precious zzzzzzs.
Here are some tips that might help you sleep well during pregnancy:
Eat well: Even though you feel like giving into your food cravings during pregnancy, you don’t always need to. Remember, these cravings might not be good for your sleep. Eating rich, fried and spicy food plays havoc with your digestion. And all that indigestion and bloating might keep you awake all night.
- Eat light, but nutritious food. If you want to know more, read about the pregnancy super foods that you must have.
- Try to fulfil your food cravings during the first part of the day. It will give your system the whole day to digest the food and help avoid morning sickness.
- Eat foods like soups, salads or home-made cooked meals in the evenings.
- Avoid drinking liquids and diuretics like green tea and coffee post evening to control frequent urination.
- A glass of warm milk just before bed helps many in sleeping well. Try it out; it might work for you.
Be active: I had read this line somewhere and had made my mantra during pregnancy – “I am pregnant, not sick.” Physical exercise is very important for a good digestion. So move a little, do a little and walk a little. It is important to ensure a good night’s sleep.
- Be active throughout the day; run small errands. Instead of asking a maid or a family member for a glass of water or other things, get up yourself and take care of these things on your own.
- Indulge in light exercise, pregnancy yoga, walking for at least 30-45 minutes daily.
Pregnancy sleep positions: Sleeping positions are important. In the first trimester, you can still sleep on your tummy. However, to sleep well in late pregnancy, sleeping on your tummy or back is not advisable – not only you will be uncomfortable, but it is not good for the baby either. For people like me who usually sleep on their tummy, it is a painful transition.
- As soon as you learn about your pregnancy, practice sleeping on your sides, so till the time you reach your second trimester, you are used to it.
- Buy a maternity or pregnancy sleep pillow. It will help you sleep more comfortably without the frequent fear of you crushing your tummy. Post delivery, it doubles up as a nursing pillow.
- You can use regular pillows like I had used. You will need 2-3 extra pillows. Put one pillow cushioning your tummy and the second one between your knees. As I frequently changed sides in sleep, I kept a third pillow on the other side too so that I didn’t need to keep on moving the pillow back and forth while sleeping.
Right environment: You can’t sleep if you are feeling too hot or too cold or feeling all worked up. The best thing is to create the right environment to get some sleep during pregnancy.
- Take a shower. A hot or cold, whichever helps. It will help you sleep well at night during pregnancy.
- Switch off your smartphone/tablet. Or whatever it is that you are hooked to at least half an hour before sleeping. Thank God, I didn’t own a smartphone back then; or it would have been such a fight logging off from Facebook, Instagram or What’sapp.
- Read a good book. Many people swear by reading to make them sleep. I am still trying to figure it out how it happens. Give me a good book and I can stay awake the night. Anyway, if reading works for you, go for it. You might try something that you find the least interesting, I am sure, it will put you to sleep (oh, that came out wrong! Ummm, but you still got my meaning, right?)
- Listen to music. I remember logging on to YouTube and listening to ‘Music to help me sleep’ or ‘Music to help me relax’. Even before it was halfway into the audio, I was already transported to the dreamland. Nowadays, there are many podcasts or mind-soothing apps (Calm, Pzizz, Headspace : Meditation) that help you relax and go to sleep. Try them.
- Essential oils. Essential oils like chamomile and lavender have been proven to relax your senses and lull you into sleep. Warning: DO NOT INGEST THESE OILS. Or use them topically. They can be used in aromatherapy or in diffusers.
- Sleep in portions. Also, sometimes you are not able to catch up on your sleep at one go. Then it makes sense to break your sleep; indulge in a mid-morning nap or an afternoon siesta. But make sure to switch off your cell phone or door bells to avoid getting disturbed.
Some of the above pregnancy sleep hacks are tested by me and they helped me to sleep well during pregnancy. The others I have heard or read. Try them out, for you never know which tip or trick clicks for you.