Pregnancy is an experience often associated with happiness and anticipation, yet eroded sleep levels can easily drag down a mum-to-be’s energy and spirit.
Poor sleep, a common pregnancy pitfall, may have several root causes:
- Changing hormones
- Body niggles, such as Restless Leg Syndrome, heartburn, frequent urination and sleep apnoea
Tiredness during pregnancy
Despite how consistently poor sleep occurs among expectant mums, however, addressing the issue is of critical importance – and not just to your mood.
According to the National Sleep Foundation in the US, a link may exist between women who net less than six hours’ sleep per night and the incidence of longer labours.
Better sleep with a bump: your guide
Make sleep a top priority. One way of doing this is to allow more time for sleep, say by going to bed earlier than your non-pregnant self might (this can make up for periods of broken sleep). Also commit to going to bed and to waking up at the same time each night and day.
Then there’s the ‘nap solution’! = Need more sleep? Try napping early in the day.
2. Be on the move
As well as improving your circulation, endurance, mood, back strength and chances of putting on excessive kilos (please note that it’s completely typical for women of healthy weight to gain up to 15kg during pregnancy
), exercise can help pregnant ladies sleep more soundly.
“Most women have some trouble sleeping through the night by the end of their pregnancies,” the American Pregnancy Association says. “Exercising on a regular basis (and making sure it’s at least three hours before you go to bed) will help you work off excess energy and will tire you enough to lull you into a deeper, more restful slumber.”
HOW TO: Keeping fit during pregnancy
3. Sleep on your left
It’s commonly thought that sleeping on the left side of your body can result in a more peaceful sleep. According to the Mayo Clinic, this habit can boost blood flow to both you and your baby. It also advises to:
- Sleep with one or both legs bent – though don’t stress if you shift about during the night and wake up in a different position
- Use support pillows between your knees, under your belly and behind your back. Many women sweat by full-body pillows, too
- Sleep with your head elevated. This can ease heartburn– a condition that can bother up to 50 per cent of pregnant women
References available on request