Snoozing for Two: How to Get a Good Night's Sleep While You're Pregnant

Being pregnant is a wonderful time in your life, but it also floods your body with hormones and adds stress to your body systems that can produce unwelcome symptoms like nausea, heartburn, or leg cramps. All of these uncomfortable symptoms can make sleep seem impossible. Dr. Renan lists tips to help you get the rest you need during this special time.

Limit fluid intake in the evening


Everyone is familiar with the need to empty your bladder more frequently when you’re pregnant. To keep the number of times to a minimum when you’re getting up at night to go to the bathroom, maintain or increase your fluid intake during the day, but limit your intake in the hours before bedtime. Your bladder will be happier and you’ll sleep easier.

Change what you drink


If you love coffee, tea, or soda, it’s time to cut down on these beverages when you find out you’re pregnant. Caffeine can keep you up at night, and that’s the last thing you want now.


In addition to causing insomnia, caffeine can also cause your body to produce stomach acid, which leads to heartburn. As your pregnancy progresses, it takes longer for your body to process caffeine, and the effects linger. Start limiting your caffeine intake early on, and you’ll feel better and sleep better throughout your pregnancy.

Exercise to ward off leg cramps


After consulting with Dr. Renan on the appropriate amount of exercise for you, keep your exercise routine going if you get the green light. Besides keeping you healthy, exercise decreases the chance of those pesky nighttime leg cramps that can keep you wide awake.


Later on in your pregnancy, you may need to cut back on the type or rigor of your preferred method of keeping fit. Communicate regularly with Dr. Renan at your appointments to ensure you’re following the best protocol for your individual pregnancy.   

Create soothing nighttime routines


Try to establish a calming routine at night before you get in bed. Have a cup of caffeine-free herbal tea such as chamomile. Take a warm shower, put on soothing music, or read a magazine offering uplifting, stress-free topics.

Listen to soothing music


According to the National Sleep Foundation, listening to soothing music before bed can help you fall asleep and wake up less often during the night. When you listen to pleasing music, your brain releases dopamine, the ‘pleasure’ neurotransmitter. It also promotes the antibody immunoglobulin A that attacks viruses and bacteria!


Music has long been used to help people heal. Put it to work for you.

Position yourself in bed

 

Sleep on your left side. It provides better blood flow to your baby, uterus, and kidneys than other positions do. If you normally sleep on your back, start changing your position as soon as you know you’re pregnant so you can become used to it.

Avoid foods that give you heartburn

You probably already know which foods give you heartburn. They’re likely spicy or fried foods. Sometimes tomato-based foods can give you heartburn because they contain acid.


It’s also good to avoid eating a big meal right before going to bed, which can be a heartburn trigger. If you do get heartburn, sleep so that your head and chest are slightly elevated.

Use relaxation strategies

Guided imagery, deep breathing, muscle relaxation — these are all good techniques to help you relax and get to sleep.

Dr. Renan offers comprehensive, individualized pregnancy care. Call or book an appointment online for expert care for you and your baby-to-be.

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