Sleep During Pregnancy
Getting enough sleep is a challenge for many pregnant women. There are many reasons why it may be difficult to get adequate amounts of sleep during pregnancy. Avid caffeine fanatics often have to curb their caffeine intake during pregnancy. This, combined with inadequate levels of sleep and the naturally exhausting pregnancy process, can lead to an incredibly worn out mother. It is common knowledge that sufficient amounts of sleep are a vital component of good health for everyone, but this is especially true for pregnant women.
Several studies have shown that levels of sleep during pregnancy have a significant impact on the health of the baby. In fact, women who obtained an average of less than 6 hours of sleep a night were at increased risk of requiring a C-section and generally had much longer labor periods. Less sleep also resulted in an increased chance of preterm labor. Not only is getting enough sleep important for the mother’s health, but it is also important for the health of the baby.
Common Pregnancy-Related Sleep Issues
As the body changes during pregnancy, many issues may arise that can make it difficult to sleep. Overwhelming worry is often a culprit that keeps many pregnant women awake at night. This can include everything from worrying about the intricacies of raising a child to stressing about not getting enough sleep. Morning sickness is another common reason many women don’t get enough sleep during pregnancy. It can be difficult to rest when nausea wakes you up early in the morning.
The need to urinate frequently can wake pregnant women up frequently throughout the night, which can both disrupt sleep patterns and make it difficult to get sufficient amounts of rest. Back and pelvic pain in the advanced stages of pregnancy can make it difficult to get comfortable enough to sleep. In addition, the weight gain that is consistent with pregnancy may result in snoring that can wake a woman up throughout the night, particularly if she has never snored before.
The Benefits of Obtaining Adequate Sleep During Pregnancy
Though it can be difficult to get enough sleep, it is vital to take the steps to get as much sleep as possible during pregnancy. Sleep serves to reduce stress levels and promoting relaxation. Many studies have shown that adequate amounts of sleep increased the likelihood of a healthy baby weight, as well as lowered the chances of preterm birth. There is a solid connection between sleep deprivation and depression, so getting enough sleep can minimize feelings of depression during pregnancy. Sleep is an important component of a healthy immune system. It can also enhance the blood circulation between the mother and the fetus. One of the most obvious, though still important, benefits of getting enough sleep is maintaining higher energy levels.
Tips for Getting More Sleep
Here at My Family Birth Center, we are passionate about optimizing the pregnancy process and protecting the health of you and your baby. Pregnancy is a naturally occurring process and many steps can be taken to ease the burden on your body during this time. Since it is so important to get enough sleep during pregnancy, we have compiled a list of tips to help you get more sleep while pregnant.
Stick to a Routine
A regular nighttime routine will help alert your body when it is time to sleep. If you follow the same routine every night, it will be easier to relax and fall asleep. This can include anything from a hot relaxing shower before bed to listening to a meditation soundtrack prior to sleeping.
Participate in Relaxing Activities
Though a regular routine can certainly help with sleep, it is important that the activities in the routine are relaxing and promote drowsiness. Refrain from watching the newest episode of your favorite TV series. Try reading something that isn’t particularly interesting to you or watching an old movie that you’ve seen many times. You may also want to consider meditation, taking a hot shower, or listening to relaxing music.
Foods that Promote Sleep
Implementing certain foods in your dinner before bedtime can help enhance the quality and effectiveness of your sleep. Certain dairy products, like yogurt and warm milk can help you fall asleep more quickly. Kiwis, beans, whole grains, bananas, kale, and soy products can all be used to help encourage sleep. However, take care not to eat too close to bedtime and avoid sugary products, as these can make you jittery. In addition, it is vital to remain hydrated throughout pregnancy. Drink lots of water throughout the day but avoid drinking any fluids too close to bedtime. This can help reduce the number of times you must get up to urinate throughout the evening.
What to Avoid
Avoid electronics for at least an hour before bed. Yes, this includes your phone. Not only is it easy to get sucked into whatever you’re doing on your phone, whether this means social media or playing games, but the screens actually have a negative impact on your sleep. Electronic screens mess with your alertness levels and have been shown to suppress the body’s natural production of melatonin. You should also try to avoid taking too long naps, particularly if you have been having difficult sleeping at night. Though naps are great for pregnant women to get more sleep, try to refrain from napping too close to bedtime or taking naps that are long enough that they disrupt your ability to sleep at night.
Consider your Bedroom
Implementing the superior environment can go a long way toward keeping you more comfortable and providing a better night’s rest. Ensure that your bedroom is at a comfortable temperature. Keep in mind that cooler temperatures often make it much easier to rest. Block excess lighting from entering the room with dark curtains or shades. Invest in comfortable blankets and sheets to make your bed much cozier. Pregnancy pillows have been shown to exponentially enhance levels of comfort while sleeping, so it can be incredibly useful to obtain pregnancy pillows, as well. You may also want to consider a white noise machine to help you relax and sleep.
Getting the appropriate amounts of sleep can be incredibly difficult during pregnancy, but it isn’t impossible. Following these tips should help you to achieve a better night’s sleep during pregnancy. To obtain more information about optimizing your health during pregnancy, contact us at My Family Birth Center today!