Due to the changes taking place in your body, achieving a good night’s sleep while pregnant can often be difficult. From heartburn and nausea to a moving baby and even bedwetting, pregnancy can disrupt your sleep in many ways. As such, this joyous time can often become challenging and frustrating.
Thankfully, there are ways to help combat the issues that are causing you to lose sleep and get the quality rest you need. Here, we take a deeper look at how pregnancy can affect sleep and what you can do to sleep soundly at night.
The Importance of Sleep During Pregnancy
Due to physical and emotional demands, pregnant women require quality sleep to maintain the health and well-being of both themselves and their unborn child. They also often need more hours of sleep per night or naps during the day.
Unfortunately, many pregnant women have difficulty sleeping, which can lead to tiredness and fatigue along with other issues. This is especially true for those in the first and third trimesters.
How Pregnancy Can Affect Sleep
Despite being a time when your body needs rest the most, pregnancy can cause serious sleep disturbances for many, including those who have never had issues before. These can be caused by a variety of factors.
Changing hormone levels are a common culprit for fatigue and sleep problems. Not only can they cause excessive daytime sleepiness, they can also be responsible for snoring and the need for frequent bathroom trips at night.
Other factors that can affect sleep include nausea, discomfort, night sweats, anxiety, and heartburn.
Pregnancy Sleep Positions
Pregnancy limits your choice of sleeping positions. For many, this can cause discomfort and make getting to sleep difficult.
To ensure you can rest comfortably, you should get into the habit of sleeping in the correct position as early as possible. Laying on your left-hand side with your knees bent is often the ideal option, as sleeping on your back or right side can constrict your vena cava (a major vein that takes blood back to the heart).
If you feel uncomfortable in this position, try adding cushioning. Using a body pillow to support your top leg and a rolled-up blanket to support your abdomen and relieve pressure off your lower back is particularly ideal.
Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep
For many pregnant women, the key to getting a better night’s sleep is identifying the issue that is affecting them the most and working to reduce that.
If your baby is particularly active when you go to bed it’s likely because your movement rocked them to sleep during the day. Gently rubbing your tummy can help to calm your baby while breathing deeply and meditation can aid your own relaxation.
For those who suffer from night sweats, having a cool, damp cloth nearby can be useful for quickly cooling yourself down before returning to sleep. Alternatively, if heartburn is causing your grief, avoid eating large meals before bed and opt for more frequent smaller meals throughout the day. And if you’re struggling to unwind at bedtime, consider establishing a relaxing routine that will prepare your body and mind for sleep.
Pregnancy and Bedwetting
Although not often spoken about, bedwetting during pregnancy can affect the sleep of many women. As well as being uncomfortable, wetting the bed can also lead to nights spent cleaning instead of sleeping.
Like daytime leakages and incontinence, pregnancy bedwetting typically stems from one of two changes to your body. During the early stages of pregnancy, heightened hormone levels can often make you feel like you need to urinate frequently. In the later stages of pregnancy, your growing baby can put pressure on your bladder, decreasing the amount of urine it can hold and weakening your pelvic floor muscles. As such, there is a higher likelihood of accidents and leakage.
If you’re experiencing pregnancy bedwetting, there’s no need to feel embarrassed. It can be completely normal, but be sure to speak to your doctor if you have any concerns. Additionally, there are a variety of products and tips that can make dealing with bedwetting easier. As a bonus, many of these products, such as waterproof mattresses and covers, can also shield your bed from night sweats.
No matter what’s causing you to lose sleep during pregnancy, it’s essential to try and fix the issue to ensure you can get the rest your body requires. If sleep still eludes you after following this guide, speak to your doctor about other options.
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