Getting good sleep can be difficult, but it can be even more difficult when you are pregnant. From having to get up throughout the night to use the bathroom, to struggling to get comfortable as your body grows and changes, there can be many reasons why it is harder to get a good night's sleep when you are expecting. That being said, there are things that you can do to help improve the situation and get better rest. If you are looking for some tips that can help you sleep better while pregnant, here are some things to keep in mind.
Seek New Ways To Keep Comfortable
If you are having trouble falling asleep at night while pregnant, then it can be a good idea to start exploring new ways to keep yourself comfortable during the night. As your bump grows, it may be harder and harder for you to adjust yourself at night. Not only that, but increasing weight can mean more pressure on your joints, too. Doing your research and looking up things like pregnancy sleep positions is one of the top things that can be beneficial when you are looking for new ways to be comfortable. Something else that can be worth trying is researching different pillows that can help support your body while you rest.
Consider What Beverages You're Drinking
When you're pregnant, you may be more limited than you used to be when it comes to the beverages that you drink, but that doesn't mean that all of the beverages that you consume will be beneficial for getting deep sleep. Drinking even a limited amount of caffeine can be highly detrimental to sleep, as can drinking sugary drinks. While it isn't advised to drink high levels of caffeine during pregnancy, even drinking a small amount can end up keeping you awake at night, especially if you consume it later in the day. This is because caffeine is a nervous system stimulant, and can keep you alert for up to several hours after drinking it.
To avoid sleep issues due to caffeine, it can be beneficial to either cut it out altogether or to limit your intake to the morning hours. Along with cutting down on caffeine or cutting it out, it can also be helpful to watch how many sugary drinks you are consuming. Whether it is soda, juice or something else, drinks with a high sugar content can contribute to keeping you wired when you should be feeling relaxed and getting ready for bed. By avoiding these drinks at near nighttime, you can help ensure that you are getting deeper, more restful sleep.
Watch What You Eat
Along with paying more attention to the beverages that you drink, it can also be important to make sure you are considering the foods that you eat, too. Foods that are high in carbs and sugars can cause your blood sugar to spike and crash. The more that your blood sugar is spiking and crashing, the more that your energy levels will, too. This can cause you to feel exhausted when you should be full of energy, and energetic when you should be tired.
To avoid dealing with blood sugar spikes and crashes, it can be a good idea to start assessing your diet more closely. If this is something that is difficult for you, then keeping a food journal for a while could be a good move. When you have to record everything that you eat throughout the day, it can become much easier to detect the areas of your diet that need work. Additionally, keeping a food journal can also be great for assessing how certain foods affect you, and impact your health overall. While working to cut out foods that cause your blood sugar to spike and crash, it can also be a good idea to start including more foods that will help to stabilize it. Some of these foods include lean proteins, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Manage Your Stress Levels Effectively
Stress can be difficult to avoid, especially when you are pregnant. That being said, there can be many benefits to finding ways to manage your stress, especially when it comes to getting better sleep. When you are feeling stressed, your body will pump out hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. While your body needs these hormones and they can be beneficial when you are experiencing acute stress, having too much of them in your system can end up being disruptive to your health.
These two hormones can not only lead to things like weight gain, but they can also be big sleep disruptors as well. To prevent them from interrupting your sleep, it can be a good idea to start finding effective ways to reduce your stress levels. One common way to start slashing stress is to begin a mindfulness or meditation practice. Meditation can be a good way to clear your mind, and it can also help calm your nervous system while it reduces tension in the body. Not only can it have many short-term benefits, but over time it can help improve your brain's ability to respond to stress, as well. To get the most out of mindfulness practice, it can be a good idea to practice for at least 20 minutes a day. However, this may seem like a long time to do it at first, especially if you aren't comfortable with it yet. To get the hang of mindfulness, it can be beneficial to start out in 5 to 10-minute intervals.
Start a Nightly Ritual
Another way to help improve your sleep, especially while you are pregnant, is to begin a relaxing nighttime ritual to help you get in the right mood for sleep. The kind of ritual that will work best for you can depend on a few different things, like what your hobbies are and what you find truly relaxing. Some simple ways to help get yourself in gear for bed can include taking a hot bath, drinking tea, reading a book or doing some gentle stretches. Other things like journaling or drawing can also be great for relaxing your mind before you go to bed for the night. Additionally, while you are implementing new ways to relax, it can be a good idea to cut out things that aren't conducive to good sleep, like watching TV or spending time on your phone.
Some Parting Considerations
For many new mothers, getting adequate sleep is even less likely after labor and delivery. It's critical that all pregnant women prioritize sleep before then. Identifying and treating any sleep breathing disorders benefit both mother and baby.
A few ways to ensure adequate sleep and defend against sleep breathing problems during pregnancy include:
- Napping whenever practical.
- Left-side sleeping, which improves blood circulation and helps keep the airway open.
- Using saline nasal spray for congestion.
- Get 30 minutes of exercise daily (per physician approval).
- Eating a balanced diet for a healthy metabolism.
- Opting for a bedside humidifier to keep sinuses clear.
- Treatment for OSA during pregnancy
OSA in pregnancy is a dynamic process made apparent by different markers with each passing trimester. A thorough healthcare provider should screen patients at trimester intervals to identify any breathing problems.
Screening especially during the second trimester has been shown to be effective in pinpointing sleep breathing problems, and comparisons of BMI in the third trimester can reliably predict the new onset of OSA.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is considered the safest and most effective treatment for OSA, but it does require diagnosis and a prescription.
Don't put your and your unborn baby's health at risk. If you have any signs of sleep apnea, call Alaska Sleep Clinic for a FREE sleep assessment.