Sleep is always valuable, of course. It's the only way we can function effectively the following day. When you're pregnant, however, getting a good night's rest is even more important. By the time your little one arrives, you'll be left with precious few hours each night to recuperate. Unfortunately, it's during these nine months - and especially during the last trimester - that sleeping becomes more difficult than ever.
Below, we'll explore some of the challenges you'll face in getting to sleep during your pregnancy. We'll start with the first and third trimesters - since those tend to be the most problematic - before making the case for sleeping on your side. We'll then offer a few tips for paving the way toward a full night of peaceful slumber.
Sleeping During The First Three Months
Two or three weeks after conception, your bladder will have you making frequent trips to the bathroom. This is normal. There's more pressure on your bladder, and your kidneys are processing more urine. The problem is, the urge to pee often comes just as you're falling asleep, shattering any hopes of enjoying a full night of rest.
Your first three months are also filled with increasing anxiety, restlessness, and growing discomfort as your body expands. These factors make sleeping even more difficult.
Sleeping During The Last Three Months
The second trimester is less challenging than the first. Consider it a 3-month reprieve. By the time you enter your seventh month, you'll find it more difficult than ever to fall asleep. Your body will have grown dramatically, and sleeping on your stomach or back is not only less comfortable, but ill-advised. Meanwhile, your bladder will need to be emptied even more frequently as the pressure upon it continues to grow.
The Case For Sleeping On Your Side
If you normally sleep on your stomach, you'll need to abandon that position for comfort reasons. Essentially, it's akin to sleeping on a beach ball. If you're accustomed to resting on your back, you'll need to abandon that position because it's unhealthy - for you and your baby. During your final trimester, lying on your back places excess pressure on important blood vessels, such as your vena cava. This can impair your circulation.
Experts recommend lying on your left side. Doing so eases the pressure on your blood vessels, and thus prevents problems with your circulation. The drawback is that lying on your left side may make getting to sleep more difficult, especially if you're unaccustomed to that position.
A Few Helpful Suggestions
Sleep challenges are a natural occurrence while you're pregnant. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to improve your chances of getting a good night's rest. First, drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated, but avoid consuming large volumes before going to bed.
Second, exercise on a daily basis. Not only will doing so expend energy, but it will also help ease your anxiety. This relaxes your body and your mind, making it much easier to fall asleep at night. One side note: avoid working out right before going to bed since doing so provides an initial boost of energy.
Third, enjoy a warm bath leading up to your bedtime. The sensation of warm water on your skin will have a calming effect that makes the transition to peaceful slumber easier.
Lastly, if possible, maintain the same sleep schedule each morning and night; wake up and go to bed at the same times. This helps your mind and body regulate your sleeping pattern. As your bedtime approaches, they'll automatically prepare you for a full night's rest.
Getting a good night's sleep is fraught with obstacles as your body changes to make room for your baby. Use the suggestions above to keep insomnia at bay while giving your mind and body the rest they need.