Many many mothers I work with complain about not being able to sleep when they are pregnant. Between the heart burn, weird dreams and need to pee, some women say they actually end up getting more sleep after baby arrives.
It may sound crazy, but even though many women are more tired than ever during pregnancy, sleep can remain elusive. And sometimes, the more you want high quality sleep – the further away it seems.
If you can’t sleep during your pregnancy, you are not alone. Although it was done quite a while ago, one survey reported that 78% of pregnant moms had difficulty sleeping.
But why is it so hard to sleep? Well, sleep is affected by many things, including hormones, anxiety, pressure, depression, and physical changes to your body. So as we talk about how to sleep when pregnant, keep in mind that there are many things to try. My goal here is to help you find simple solutions for how to sleep when pregnant.
But – if you just want a simple supplement to sip on before bed that will help you relax and sleep better, make sure to check out the Needed Sleep + Relaxation Support.
This is a is a science-backed, safe and effective botanical that promotes optimal sleep quality, relaxation, and overall cognitive health for moms. Plus, it tastes like a lightly sweet and delicious Chamomile tea
How Many Hours Should A Pregnant Woman Sleep?
The amount of sleep you need when pregnant can vary from person to person and throughout different stages of pregnancy. However, on average, most pregnant women need about 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
During the first trimester, many women may feel more tired than usual and may need more sleep. I know – this can seem like ALOT of sleep.
Getting enough sleep during pregnancy is important for both the mother and the baby’s health.
Sleep plays a crucial role in the body’s ability to repair and regenerate tissues, regulate hormones, and support the immune system. Inadequate sleep during pregnancy (less than 6 hours regularly through the week) has been linked to a higher risk of complications such as preterm labor, gestational diabetes and even an increased need for surgical births.
Therefore, if you are pregnant, it is essential to prioritize sleep and aim to get at least 7-9 hours of good quality sleep per night.
5 Steps To Better Sleep When Pregnant
Step One: Create The Perfect Bedtime Routine
Figuring out how to sleep when pregnant is not always easy. But there are things that can help!
One thing that you will eventually use to help your little one learn to sleep is a bedtime routine. There’s a reason a solid bedtime routine is an essential part of putting a newborn to sleep – it’s because it works.
Here is a sample of a simple bedtime routine for mamas wanting to know how to sleep when pregnant.
- Set the stage. 30 minutes before bed, turn on calming and peaceful music. Set water to boil for a final cup of tea. Put a calming scent in the diffuser. Turn off all electronics. Enjoy that final cup of tea.
- Release the day. Spend 5 to 10 minutes journaling about the day. Write down any experiences you had that you want to remember, and release your thoughts. This is a great time to practice a short 5 to 10 minute breathing practice.
- Clean your body. If you shower or bathe at night, do that next. Wash your face, pull back your hair, brush your teeth. Do whatever makes you feel clean and fresh.
- Seed your mind with good thoughts. Do something to bring joy into your life. Read a few birth affirmations. Enjoy a good orgasm or read an uplifting book.
- Say goodnight. Inwardly or outwardly say goodnight to the people in your life, like your partner, and the growing baby in your tummy. You can also say goodnight to any work assignments, any stresses, or any pressure you feel. In the morning, you will be able to pick the ones that are important to you back up.
Step Two: Choose A Position That Is Not On Your Back Or Your Belly
Sleeping flat on your back during pregnancy is one of the things you should avoid. It is not recommended, especially in the second and third trimesters.
This is because the weight of your growing uterus can compress the major blood vessels that run along your spine, reducing blood flow to the placenta and your developing baby.
Studies have shown that when moms rest on their back for only 30 minutes, babies can shift to a lower oxygen consumption state. Many babies can tolerate this for a while. However, if combined with other factors, it could become dangerous. In some cases it can increase risk of stillbirth in the second and third trimester.
Keep in mind, while sleeping on your back is not recommended during pregnancy, occasional short periods of back sleeping (e.g., to change positions) are unlikely to cause harm to you or your baby. If you have concerns about your sleeping position or experience any discomfort during sleep, speak with your healthcare provider for advice on how to optimize your sleep during pregnancy.
A good pregnancy pillow that wraps around and supports your back and belly can help prevent you from accidentally rolling to your back, and help you stay extra comfy while you sleep. We like this one with nearly 30,000 positive reviews.
Step Three: Take The Pressure Off Your Hips
As you pregnancy progresses, it is really common to have difficulty getting comfortable. Do you find your hips are hurting while you sleep? Let me show you how to take the pressure off of them.
This is the ideal position to sleep on during pregnancy.
First lay on your side with your hips stacked.
Then, use your pregnancy pillow to elevate your top leg.
Now, tilt forwards so that your bottom leg is straight and your top leg is elevated and supported.
You shouldn’t have pressure left on either hip now.
Step Four: Protect Yourself From Late Night Pee Wake Ups
This tip may be a bit more crazy – but, there is an old wives tale that if you eat a banana with salt before you go to bed, you won’t have to wake up to pee as much in the night.
Why banana? This one little fruit has potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and fiber – all things that can help with sleep in various ways.
One medium-sized banana includes
- 9 percent of your daily potassium requirement,
- 33 percent of your vitamin B6 requirement, and
- 8 percent of your magnesium requirement
Potassium can relax your muscles and reduce nighttime cramps. It can also be very helpful to moms suffering from restless leg syndrome, which often happens when moms are deficient in potassium.
Magnesium is linked to lower stress and anxiety levels. Magnesium affects the hypothalamus. This is the part of the brain that controls the adrenal and pituitary glands – which are responsible for your stress hormones. It also helps the body maintain GABA levels (Gamma-Aminobytric acid), which plays a significant role in helping you achieve restful sleep.
B6 in bananas works to convert the amino acid tryptophan to serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate sleep by creating clear sleep and wake periods in your body.
This is why a banana might be helpful… but why put salt on in?
The electrolytes found in Sea Salt can help balance your fluid levels and help the water in your body go into your cells instead out your bladder.
So with one strange little snack, you can help prevent several factors that could be keeping you up at night. And now that you know why this tasty snack can be beneficial, you can look for those nutrients in other foods as well.
Step Five: Get Morning Sunlight
Morning sunlight is important to sleep because exposure to natural light helps regulate the body’s internal clock, also known as the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is a 24-hour cycle that influences various physiological processes, including sleep and wakefulness.
Exposure to natural light in the morning helps reset the circadian rhythm and signals the body to wake up and be alert. This is because sunlight contains blue light, which stimulates the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes wakefulness and helps regulate mood.
When the body is exposed to natural light in the morning, it suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleepiness, and helps reset the circadian rhythm to be aligned with the natural day-night cycle. This can help improve the quality of sleep at night and promote feelings of alertness and well-being during the day.
If you have trouble getting enough natural light in the morning, you may consider going for a walk outside or sitting near a window that receives sunlight in the morning. This can help you reset your internal clock and improve your sleep-wake cycle.
What Supplements Can You Use For Sleep?
If you are having trouble falling asleep and a salty banana just isn’t for you, we have a much tastier option for you . The Needed Sleep + Relaxation Support is a science-backed, safe and effective botanicals that promotes optimal sleep quality, relaxation, and overall cognitive health for moms. Plus, it tastes like a lightly sweet and delicious Chamomile tea.
How does it work?
Magnesium: Magnesium is needed for every cell in your body to function. It supports relaxation, improved sleep quality, and cognitive function.
L-Theanine (L-TeaActTve®): Promotes alpha-wave brain activity, the brain waves that help reduce stress and anxiety and promote creativity.
L-Glycine: Research in people with sleep issues has shown that taking 3 grams of L-Glycine before bed decreases how long it takes to fall asleep, enhances sleep quality, lessens daytime sleepiness, and improves cognition.
Chamomile Flower Extract: Traditionally used to promote overall relaxation
Plus, you can use code SBB20 to get 20% off your order.
Why Is Sleep Important To Your Pregnancy?
According to sleep expert Mathew Walker PhD, in his book Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, after just ONE NIGHT of less than five hours of sleep, the cells that are in charge of getting rid of cancer cells drop by 70%!
Your body uses your sleep to restore and repair your body. And this is even more important in pregnancy when your body is working even harder than usual.
During pregnancy, you are basically working as hard as an endurance athlete – for the entire 9 months. You are pushing the limits of what is possible, even when you are just going about your normal day.
Sleep is one of the MOST sophisticated, potent and powerful performance enhancers that can reduce injuries and improve performance for athletes and it is equally important for pregnant mothers.
I guarantee that actively getting sleep during pregnancy will improve your state of being and well-being. Your entire body, mind, spirit connection will be affected.
Taking the time to learn how to sleep when pregnant is going to be one of the most important skills you can teach yourself and your baby.
Do You Have To Get All Your Sleep At Once?
Ideally, getting all your hours of sleep at once is the best way to ensure your body gets the rest it needs. However, it is not always possible, especially for pregnant women who may need to get up frequently to use the bathroom or manage other pregnancy-related discomforts.
If you are unable to get all your hours of sleep at once, you may be able to make up for it by taking naps during the day. Short naps can be a helpful way to catch up on missed sleep and reduce feelings of fatigue during the day. Aim for naps that are no longer than 30 minutes, as longer naps can interfere with your ability to sleep well at night.
It’s important to keep in mind that while naps can help, they are not a substitute for a full night’s sleep. Try to prioritize your sleep at night and make adjustments to your routine and sleep environment to improve the quality of your sleep. Some strategies that may help include creating a relaxing bedtime routine, avoiding caffeine and heavy meals before bed, and creating a comfortable sleeping environment with a supportive mattress, pillows, and bedding. (https://jcsm.aasm.org/doi/abs/10.5664/jcsm.10350)
When Should You Get Help With Sleep If You Can’t Sleep During Pregnancy?
It’s common to experience some sleep disturbance during pregnancy, but if you’re consistently having trouble sleeping, it’s important to seek help. Poor sleep can lead to fatigue, anxiety, depression, and other health problems that can affect both you and your developing baby.
Here are some signs that you may need to seek help for your sleep issues during pregnancy:
- You’re consistently having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
- You’re experiencing symptoms of insomnia, such as feeling tired but unable to sleep, waking up frequently during the night, or waking up too early in the morning.
- You’re experiencing daytime sleepiness, even after getting a full night’s rest.
- You’re snoring or experiencing other sleep-related breathing problems.
- You’re experiencing physical discomfort or pain that’s making it hard to sleep.
- You’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety that are impacting your sleep quality.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider for advice and guidance. In additional, depression and anxiety can be major contributors to sleep problems. These are things you can and should talk to a provider about if they are a part of your day to day experience.
You care provider may recommend lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques, or other non-medical interventions to improve your sleep quality. In some cases, your healthcare provider may also recommend medications that are safe to take during pregnancy to help alleviate sleep problems.
Remember, getting good quality sleep is essential for both you and your developing baby. Don’t hesitate to seek help if you’re struggling with sleep during pregnancy.