Ah sleep. Sleep and pregnancy do not go hand and hand with me.
I have had so many people tell me to get as much sleep as I could before the baby arrives.
Little did they know sleep stopped long before the baby even arrived! Especially in my 3rd trimester I constantly was tossing, turning, and getting no sleep.
And don’t get me started on the lack of sleep I had when I was overdue. Thank goodness I was able to sleep throughout the day or else my sanity would have been gone!
I started to try different things to help me sleep better during my 3rd trimester and they worked! Some of the things listed below are ones that worked for me and some worked for my other mamma friends.
If you had anything that worked for you comment them below so other people can try them!
Regular Sleep Schedule
According to Harvard “Keeping a regular sleep schedule—even on weekends—maintains the timing of the body’s internal clock and can help you fall asleep and wake up more easily. Even if real life stands in the way of achieving the perfect sleep routine, making just a few small changes can improve your sleep dramatically.”
I’ve noticed a huge difference when my husband and I go to bed the same time every night. Even when we are just 30 minutes past our usual time of going to bed my body starts getting tired and I feel ready for bed.
This may be a difficult task when you have other kids or things that get in the way of your sleep schedule. Just do the best you can with this and know that any kind of regularity will help you sleep better at night.
Exercise helps stabilize your mood, decompresses the mind, reduces stress, tires you out, and may reduce insomnia.
The way to get great benefits for your sleep is to exercise on a regular basis and for at least 30 minutes. This gives your body time to tire out and release endorphins into your body.
You will want to figure out what time works best for your sleep. For example if you feel tired after a workout and just want to conk out nighttime might be best for you.
If you get a rush of energy you should workout in the morning or afternoon. You will just have to test which time of day helps you to sleep better and fall asleep faster.
If you don’t know any pregnancy safe workouts you can check out my fitness tab.
Relaxing Night Routine
I love doing this one! For my nighttime relaxing routine I like to do some yoga and take a long hot shower, as hot as I can have it!
Sometimes if my back is hurting pretty bad I’ll ask my husband to massage my back to help relax me.
You can also try meditation after yoga to clear your mind and relax your body.
You need to find something that will relax you before bed. For some that may be reading, crocheting, getting a massage, or taking a bath. Just have a routine to relax yourself every night.
Clearing your mind is huge! Have you ever went to bed and had a lot on your mind and couldn’t fall asleep.
Some of y’all may have a busy mind every single night and it can be hard to clear your mind.
One thing that I do to clear my mind, because I always have things on my mind, is to meditate. Lay down in bed, breathe in deep for about 4-6 seconds and breathe out slowly for 6-8 seconds. Then you will hold your breath for 4 seconds. Do this till your mind is clear and your body is relaxed.
If you have a hard time meditating alone you can either do a guided meditation on youtube or just listen to calming music while doing your breathing exercises.
We love to listen to ocean or rain sounds every night to help our body relax. We have done this for so long that when I start to hear ocean sounds I feel a little tired and my body feels ready for bed.
There is a lot of water that you need to drink while you are pregnant to make up for your growing baby, blood volume increase and the fluid in your uterus.
I seriously went to the bathroom almost every hour because of all of the water I drank and with my baby pushing on my bladder.
What helped with the nighttime potty breaks was drinking most of the water that I needed during the daytime. If you slow down the amount of water you are intaking at night than you won’t have to go to the bathroom as often.
Just make sure that you drink the amount of water you need because you don’t want to get dehydrated at night. A lack of water could cause leg cramps and restless leg syndrome. Those most definitely don’t feel good when you are trying to get sleep at night.
Avoid Certain Foods
If you notice that certain foods are giving you heartburn you should avoid those foods at night, even if they are one of your cravings!
Having heartburn at night makes sleeping that much harder. I’ve made this mistake too many times and it’s hard to get the rest that I need when I’m constantly burping and having acid come up my esophagus.
After you eat you should avoid laying down for a couple of hours in order to let your food digest well. This also helps with avoiding heartburn.
According to Sleepeducation.org “The most obvious effect of the stimulant is that it can make it hard for you to fall asleep. One study also found that caffeine can delay the timing of your body clock. These effects will reduce your total sleep time. Caffeine also can reduce the amount of deep sleep that you enjoy.”
Now I totally understand the exhaustion that is felt during pregnancy. I felt like a dead person most of the time, and looked like death too. Where was that pregnancy glow everyone talks about?
Anyways according to American Pregnancy Association you should limit your caffeine intake to 200mg which is equivalent to one 12oz. cup of coffee.
If you do plan on drinking caffeine do it in the morning so it has time to get out of your system by the time you get to bed.
This is something that you will need to test. Some women will sleep better when the room is warmer and some like it colder. I like to freeze my husband out because if it’s not freezing I don’t sleep well.
If you are too warm its going to be hard to sleep and you will be waking up in sweat while tossing and turning.
If you are too cold then you will be waking up shivering all of the time. Neither is a comfortable situation.
Try to find the ideal temperature for you to sleep in which may change night to night. If it does change just adjust the thermostat, your partner can adjust to you. You are growing a human and you need as much sleep as you possibly can so make sure you are comfortable.
If it’s possible take naps throughout the day to make up for the lack of deep sleep you may be getting throughout the night.
I know for a lot of people this is going to be a hard one to do because lets face it we are all lacking in the time department, but if you can get a nap in it will make life so much easier!
Even if you can manage a 15 minute cat nap this will greatly help your energy levels throughout the day.
I know for me I’m misses grumpy gills (thats what my husband calls me) before a nap and then I magically turn into an angel after my nap. As long as my husband doesn’t talk to me right away. I need time to face reality.
Pillows are every pregnant womans best friend! I would have died without my pillows once I had to sleep on my side.
My tummy felt so heavy and my hips would have fallen asleep if I didn’t have my pillows.
This pregnancy pillow is most definitely the way to go. It supports you all the way around and you can easily roll over and have support right away.
When I just have my single pillow tucked in between my legs and under my tummy its a pain in the rear when I have to roll over. The second I need to switch sides I have to readjust my pillow and it feels like a complete workout when I’m finally done.
So if you can invest in a pregnancy pillow you most definitely should!
Get Up and Move
This was so important when I was coming close to having my baby. If its hard to sleep in the middle of the night get up and move. I would go into my living room and start bouncing on my exercise ball.
It helped me so much to get out of bed because most of the time I was just restless and needed to clear my mind.
You could also do some yoga if you are feeling tight in your body. This will help calm you back down and you can do some meditation as well to help you feel relaxed again.
According to Health.com “Your body is programmed to sleep when it’s dark, so you can encourage that rhythm by easing into nighttime. Light inhibits the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that naturally promotes sleep.”
Melatonin will help regulate your sleep cycles. Some people take melatonin supplements to help them sleep better. If you plan on taking a melatonin supplement be sure to ask your doctor first to make sure its safe for you and baby.
Get Some Sun
Sun throughout the day is so beneficial for your body. “Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused. At night, darker lighting triggers the brain to make another hormone called melatonin. This hormone is responsible for helping you sleep.” (Source)
You should try for at least 30 minutes a day of sunlight exposure. I know for me going on a 30 minute walk outside makes me feel happier and more sleepy at night. You also are killing two birds with one stone when you walk outside because you are getting sun exposure and getting some exercise in!
If you can’t do that sit by a window that has great sun exposure. Sun is just a great way to feel happier in life!
I hope you mamas can get better sleep throughout your pregnancy and that these tips are helpful for all y’all!