Good Night! 7 Ways to Sleep Better During Pregnancy
The next time you find yourself up at night, try these pregnancy sleep tips to get the rest you need
Between the bathroom runs, heartburn, and your growing belly, it’s no wonder you’re not getting enough sleep during pregnancy. Get the Zzzs you need with these expert suggestions from the National Sleep Foundation and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine:
1. Grab some propsA body pillow not only keeps you on your side (the best position for sleeping in your second and third trimester), it’ll also support the weight of your growing belly so you can nab some shuteye. Regular pillows are fine, too—place one between your knees, and another under your belly or behind your back to ease the pressure, recommends Natalie Dautovich, PhD, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and a fellow at the National Sleep Foundation.
2. Limit the H2OOf course you need to keep hydrated, but drinking too much too close to bedtime guarantees you’ll be waking up to pee several times. Cut back after dinner but be sure you’re drinking plenty during the day to make up for it, says Dautovich.
3. Time your napsA short siesta can boost your energy, but to get the most out of daytime snoozes, doze in the mid-afternoon, not the early evening. And stick to 20-minute catnaps, says Shalini Paruthi, MD, a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and a professor at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Longer ones will leave you feeling groggier.
4. Eat easy-to-digest fareHeartburn is the bane of many moms-to-be and it can get worse when you’re lying in bed. Try eating smaller portions—especially when you’re having spicy, acidic, or fried foods—and stop eating 90 minutes before bedtime, suggests Michael Breus, PhD, a clinical psychologist who’s known as the Sleep Doctor. If acid reflux is still a problem, put a couple of pillows under the mattress at the head of your bed so you can sleep slightly elevated.
5. Get mindfulThere’s nothing like pregnancy to bring out your inner worrywart—especially at night. To keep anxiety at bay, do a few minutes of prenatal yoga stretches before bedtime. Or practice deep and focused breathing, which can calm your nervous system and help send you to dreamland.
6. Set the sceneIf you’re still scrolling through your phone at bedtime, put it away—it’s preventing you from winding down. Instead, take a warm bath. Then make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet, and dark, like a cave. If it’s not, invest in a powerful fan (it can double as a white noise machine) and blackout curtains.
7. Don’t force itStill staring at the ceiling? You may need to climb out of bed and try dozing again later. “Go into another room and read or knit—and return when you truly feel sleepy,” suggests Dautovich. For more healthy tips, check out sleep.org.
Advice is given as a suggestion only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider.