Pregnancy is an exciting and transformative journey, but it often comes with its share of challenges, one of which is disrupted sleep. Hormonal changes, physical discomfort, and anxieties about the upcoming changes can all contribute to sleep disturbances during pregnancy. To help you get the rest you need we have put together a list of our top eight tips to get a better nights sleep and some extra advice for navigating the hot summer months too.
Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment
A comfortable sleep environment can work wonders in promoting better sleep. Invest in a supportive pregnancy pillow to alleviate back and hip pain, and consider using a pregnancy wedge to support your growing belly. Keep the room cool and well-ventilated during the summer months, using fans or air conditioning if necessary. Additionally, use blackout curtains to block out excess sunlight during early mornings and late evenings, aiding in maintaining a consistent sleep schedule.
Develop a Bedtime Routine
Establishing a consistent bedtime routine helps signal your body that it's time to wind down. Incorporate relaxing activities like gentle stretches, deep breathing exercises, or reading a book. Avoid stimulating activities or electronic devices with blue light exposure before bedtime, as they can disrupt your natural sleep-wake cycle. In the summer months it is also a good idea to take a refreshing, cool shower before bedtime can help lower your body temperature and prepare you for sleep.
Monitor Your Diet
Be mindful of your food and drink intake, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime. Spicy or acidic foods can cause heartburn, which is common during pregnancy and can interfere with sleep. Caffeine and sugary beverages should also be limited, as they may lead to restlessness or frequent trips to the bathroom.
Regular, moderate exercise during the day can contribute to better sleep at night. Prenatal yoga, walking, and swimming are excellent options. However, avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime to prevent overstimulation. In the summer months, avoid spending too much time in direct sunlight in peak hours and plan outdoor activities for the cooler parts of the day. Read our blog about pre and post pregnancy fitness here.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and cool, especially in the summer months. A well-hydrated body is better equipped to regulate its temperature and will be more comfortable throughout the night. While it's essential to drink enough water throughout the day, try to reduce your fluid intake a few hours before bedtime to minimise nighttime bathroom trips disturbing your precious sleep time.
Manage Stress and Anxiety
Pregnancy can be a time of heightened emotions and anxiety. Engage in stress-reducing activities such as meditation, mindfulness, or gentle prenatal yoga. Consider keeping a journal by your bedside to jot down any worries or thoughts before going to sleep, helping clear your mind.
While napping can be beneficial, especially during pregnancy, it's crucial to nap wisely to avoid disrupting nighttime sleep. Limit naps to short durations (20-30 minutes) earlier in the day, preferably before 3 PM so your body is still tired when it comes to the time to wind down for the evening.
Sleepwear and Bedding
Choose loose-fitting, breathable sleepwear made from natural fibres like cotton or bamboo. Avoid anything tight or heavy on your body, even in the winter - save this for a weighted blanket. Lightweight, moisture-wicking sheets can also help you stay cool during hot summer nights.
Making sure you get enough sleep during pregnancy is beneficial for your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing as well as your babies. By creating a comfortable sleep environment, adopting a bedtime routine, managing stress, and implementing these helpful tips, you can improve your sleep quality during pregnancy, even in the hot summer months. Remember, every pregnancy is unique, so it's essential to listen to your body and consult with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your sleep or overall well-being during this time. Rest up!