Fatigue is definitely a common pregnancy symptom, but for many tired moms-to-be, a good night’s sleep can still be hard to achieve. Whether you’re struggling with leg cramps, the constant need to relieve your bladder, or you just can’t get comfy, there are a lot of reasons you might be tossing and turning at night.
Let’s get your body and mind the rest you so desperately need during this time – read on for our tips to get a good night’s sleep when you’re pregnant.
Drink plenty of fluids – but not too close to bedtime: Make sure you’re hydrating well throughout the day (8 to 12 cups of water is recommended) but cut down as you’re approaching bedtime to reduce how many times you wake up at night with the urge to go.
Stay active throughout the day: We’ve already shared how exercising throughout your pregnancy can help improve your sleep quality, so whether you’re into yoga, cardio, or swimming, make sure to keep finding ways to move your body. Even a walk around the block can help improve circulation and reduce annoying nighttime leg cramps. Just remember to finish your workout at least two hours before bedtime so that the adrenaline doesn’t make it harder for you to fall asleep.
Play with pillows: It’s time to make pillows your new BFF. Tucking a pillow between your bent knees may make side-sleeping more comfortable – you can also put another one behind your back to help hold you in that position. A pillow under your belly will also provide some comfort to your changing shape. If regular pillows aren’t working for you, you can try getting cozy with a special pregnancy pillow, either one that’s body-length, C- or U-shaped, or a wedge.
Watch what you eat and drink: While you probably already know that you should limit your caffeine during pregnancy, you should also be careful about when you have that sacred cup of coffee. If you’re struggling to fall asleep, try avoiding any drinks or food that contain caffeine (yes, that means chocolate, too!) in the afternoon and evening. If you’re battling heartburn or indigestion, try avoiding spicy and acidic foods, as well as heavy meals too close to bedtime.
Practice good “sleep hygiene”: Creating a consistent, comforting evening routine will help you relax and drift off to sleep more easily. As you’re getting closer to bedtime, try out a few soothing rituals to see what works for you, like reading a book, taking a warm bath or shower, or drinking a cup of caffeine-free tea. You might also try going to bed and waking up around the same time every day to train your body into a regular sleep rhythm.
Relax your mind: It’s common for stress and anxiety to amp up during pregnancy, but if you’re in a constant state of worry it’s important that you talk to your doctor. To help fight some milder anxiety, try meditating or doing some restorative yoga in the evening to put you in a better frame of mind for sleep. Another trick that might help clear your mind before bed? Keep a notebook on your night table to write your thoughts in before you turn off the light.