Already Sleep Deprived? Tips for Your Best Rest During Pregnancy
Between trying to get comfy, dealing with heartburn, and dragging yourself to the bathroom AGAIN, getting a good night’s sleep while pregnant can feel, well… impossible. Every mama-to-be knows that those first few months with a newborn are bound to include plenty of sleepless nights, but having a hard time resting even before babe arrives? Ugh, the struggle is real. Each trimester brings its own set of challenges as your belly grows and body changes. You are nurturing human life, after all. That first trimester you might feel so exhausted that you could sleep for 24 hours straight, but by the third trimester everything from back pain to leg cramps is keeping you up staring at the ceiling instead of catching those ZZZs.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to improve your sleep quality and inch yourself towards those recommended 7-9 hours. So before you swear off the possibility of sweet dreams, we’ve got a few tips for you, mama :)
1. movement is key
We’re not saying you have to go for a long, intense run or sign up for the hardest workout class out there, but the truth is that a little bit of movement can go a long way when it comes to sleep. Exercise not only helps improve overall sleep quality, but decreases the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and keeps you from waking up as frequently throughout the night (ummm, sounds like bliss to us). We recommend taking a walk each day at minimum, even if it’s just around your neighborhood. Just be sure to do so earlier in the day, as exercising too close to bedtime can do a bit more harm than good.
2. create a sleep schedule
Sure, a schedule might sound boring, but we’re alllll about it when it means finding that sweet, sweet rest. Research has shown that going to bed and waking up around the same time every day can have some serious benefits. Just think about it: if you do this day after day, your body will adjust to this schedule naturally, making it easier for you to fall asleep at the end of the day. Consistency can really do wonders for that circadian rhythm. Be sure to pick a time that’s realistic for both weekdays and weekends, so you won’t be tempted to give up on your sched. And although this blog post is about sleep, just know that this habit can also lead to a healthier immune system, a brighter mood, and increased focus as well. Talk about a HUGE win.
3. set the mood
Good vibes = even better sleep. 1-2 hours before bed, change up your space to switch from “daytime you” to “nighttime you” as a way to signal to your body that it’s time to unwind. Dim the lights, tidy your space real quick, and light your favorite candle. This once again helps get your body into a routine so that each day becomes easier for you to fall asleep. And a quick PSA for the moms with kiddos… getting kicked in the face does not make for great sleep. Try to save family time for the family room :)
4. get comfy
Okay, so your space is feeling dreamy and relaxing. Now’s the time for you to feel the same. Add changing into your comfiest sleep clothes to that wind-down routine… it just may be one of your favorite parts of the day. And as far as those comfy clothes go? May we recommend The Slumber Pant paired with The R+R Tank? Super soft and made with sustainable modal fabric, you’ll want to wear this set throughout your entire pregnancy and beyond. Oh, and if you’re a nightie gal, The Restful Nightie has you covered, with bonus points for easy nursing access.
5. resist the urge for a netflix binge
There’s nothing quite like catching up on your fave Netflix show, but if you’re looking for your best sleep, it’s smart to say goodbye to screens. Resist the urge to continue the scroll or reach for the remote by turning off your devices and switching your phone to airplane mode. We really recommend keeping all of that technology at a distance so you won’t find yourself checking Twitter one last time. Have a tendency to grab your phone in the middle of the night or the second you wake up? Keeping it outside of the bedroom can be a game-changer.
Me time, anyone? A restorative bath not only gets you feeling realllll calm, but can also help you fall asleep faster as warm water stimulates blood flow and lowers blood pressure. How about making a whole self-care ritual out of it? If it were up to us, we’d toss in some bath flakes, soak for at least 20 minutes, and finish everything off with a little dry brushing and a moisturizing natural belly oil. Now you have an excuse to practice self-care on the daily. I mean, it’s science.
7. drink up (but put the coffee down)
You’ll want to aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water during the day (but *not* right before bed). For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, drink at least 70 ounces of water daily. Let all that water replace the Ventis you were hoping to hold onto this pregnancy. Newer research shows caffeine may not be so safe for babe after all, and it can impact your sleep in erratic ways. Do yourself a favor and nix the caffeine.
8. give meditation a try
You’ve probably heard everyone talking about meditation and how amazing it is for a healthy pregnancy, and we honestly have to agree. Although you can practice at any time of day, a session right before bed is the perfect final step in your evening wind-down routine. Just 10 minutes of focusing on and counting your breaths can balance the nervous system, lower your heart rate, and ignite the body’s relaxation response so you can achieve a deeper sleep. It’s even been proven to help people fall asleep twice as quickly. Byeeeee, tossing and turning!
9. find a good sleep position
To fall asleep and stay asleep, you need to feel as comfy as possible, which can be soooo hard when you’re pregnant. It’s recommended that pregnant women sleep on their sides (turns out the right side is OK after all!), but a few pillows can make all the difference in your comfort level. Try a few different shapes until you find the right one, and look to support the areas that need it most (like under your belly or between your knees). You’ll be drifting off in no time!
your best rest
Although we can’t promise that all of your pregnancy sleep struggles will magically disappear, we’re pretty confident that these tips will help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and just sleep so much more comfortably. From one trimester to the next, use these habits to build a routine that helps you relax, unwind, and prepare your body for the quality rest you truly deserve. I mean, most of these tips are backed up with some cold, hard science! So the next time you’re worried about getting enough hours in, you know what to do. Sweet dreams, ma!