One of the least glamorous changes that happen as the baby gets bigger and the belly protrudes out is that to your sleeping routine. Now you have to deal with hormones that keeping you awake, morning sickness interrupting your breakfast, and general aches and pains throbbing throughout the night. Getting a good night’s sleep may feel like a thing of the past.
Rest assured, quite literally, that pregnancy doesn’t have to ruin each night you want to tuck up under the blankets. There are many positions that can help you sleep better. You may still wake up throughout the night, but getting yourself back to one of these positions can help you fall into a comfortable state of REM sleep for longer.
Here are some of the best positions to sleep in while pregnant.
Sleeping on the side
This position, sometimes referred to as SOS (sleep on side) is by far the best during pregnancy and the most reliable come trimester three. Sleeping on the side will be the most comfortable for the body and the bump towards the end. During trimester three, it is better to avoid sleeping on your back as this can be bad for blood flow and can cause headaches.
Sleeping on the side is very comfortable. The best way during pregnancy is to keep the legs and knees bent, ideally with a pillow between the legs for extra comfort. Sleeping on the left side is even better as it promotes better blood flow to the placenta, meaning the baby gets all the nutrients and minerals required without any interruptions overnight. Of course, you are allowed to switch sides throughout the night!
Sleeping on the back
In the initial stages of pregnancy, sleeping on the back is fine and comfortable, but it is not advised later on. It puts too much pressure on the spine and back muscles as the uterus continues to grow. If you do need to sleep on your back at any time, make sure you have some pillows to prop you up a bit higher, but it is not recommended to sleep on the back for long periods. It is better to make the most of sleeping on the back during a quick daytime nap.
Using a pillow or sleeping aid
Even if you are lying on your side, sometimes it still might be uncomfortable and difficult to get a good night’s sleep. This is where sleeping aids can come in handy and make a big difference. Using pillows, either standard pillows or a sleep pillow, to prop under your belly and between the knees makes a big difference. This is fine if you are sleeping on your left or right side. A cushion under the lower back, if you are lying on your back, can also help you fall into a more settled sleep.
Also, you can try using a sleeping aid such as a maternity belt. These are designed to be worn during sleep as the belly continues to grow bigger and bigger. Maternity belts are support systems that ease the stress and pressure on the lower back, uterus, and groin muscles.
Watch your diet
Not surprising, what you eat during pregnancy plays an important role in everything about the how the baby grows and functions as well as how your body responds to pregnancy. This includes how you sleep at night.
Eating smaller portion sizes is the first key to a good sleep, such as six small meals instead of three big ones. The rising levels of estrogen in the body during pregnancy make the digestive system slower. Therefore, it takes longer for food to be broken down and this can cause upsets in the stomach as you try to sleep. Have smaller meals and eat at least an hour or more before going to sleep. Finishing off the day with some herbal tea can also help to get to sleep.
Keep the room temperature lower
During pregnancy, along with the other changes happening, the body temperature also rises. This is because the heart is now pumping twice as much blood and dividing up the supply between you and the baby. This means there is more flowing around the body and warming things up.
In terms of sleeping, the result is that you feel warmer at night and are more aware of the heat levels of the room. In summer, avoiding blankets and keeping a fan or air conditioner on will help. In winter, you won’t need super warm and heavy pyjamas. If you layer up too much before bed, you will be disturbed more as your body retains the heat. Consider it your own personal heating system for nine months!
So now you know there are ways to truly enjoy your sleep while pregnant. Unfortunately, these positions don’t work once the baby is out of the womb and demanding your attention throughout the night! Make the most of pregnancy by stocking up on comfortable sleep with these positions so that you are rested and energized for the even bigger change that is coming at the end of those nine months.