It's downright exhausting to make a baby. You're making an entire other person -- or two, or more -- and that's no easy task.
Your body works overtime, around the clock, to build this tiny person, and that, along with pregnancy hormones, means you're likely to be tired all the time while you're pregnant. And you need all the sleep -- the best sleep -- you can get while you're pregnant.
Of course, even though you need sleep, that doesn't mean you're going to get it. Pregnancy hormones could trigger insomnia, and when your belly starts growing out of control, you might feel like you'll never be comfortable enough to sleep again. There's heartburn, nausea, restless legs, and more. And let's not get started on the multiple bathroom trips each night that can completely disrupt your sleep.
At the same time, you need sleep to stay healthy and keep your energy up. So what can you do in pregnancy when you need sleep, but it can feel impossible to get the rest you need? It's not always easy, but there are some steps you can take to improve the quality of your sleep.
Ways to Improve Pregnancy Sleep Quality
How can you improve the quality of your sleep while you're pregnant? Use these tips to support healthy sleep in pregnancy and beyond.
- Prioritize sleep.
Pregnancy is surprisingly busy. You've got a lot of appointments to make it to, nesting, organizing a nursery, and more -- and that's on top of your normal life commitments. It's easy to let rest take a backseat to other needs, but that's a mistake. Make sleep your top priority, so you can be well supported with a night of good rest as you go on about your day. Schedule your day around sleep, planning what time you need to go to bed to wake up on time well rested.
Give yourself good sleep habits.
Make sure you're sticking to a regular bedtime schedule and sleep routine, which can help your body fall into a predictable schedule of rest. It's easier for your body to know what time to go to sleep if you do it at the same time each night -- and walk through the same routine before you go to sleep, too. Stay away from sleep pitfalls that could keep you up too late, like late night screen time, drinking coffee late in the day, or even exercising late at night.
Mom's the Word note: This will serve you very well when you have your baby and are trying to get them to sleep! Schedules help-you and baby!
Create a healthy sleep environment.
Pregnancy sleep is challenging enough. Make it easier with a comfortable place to sleep. Your bedroom should be dark, quiet, and cool, and you may have additional needs in pregnancy. For example, a pregnancy pillow could offer support for your body as you go through the changes of pregnancy. Keep in mind you may need to modify sleep positions as your body changes, too.
Don't be ashamed to nap.
If there's ever a time when you need extra sleep, it's pregnancy. You might feel like you hit a wall midday and just need to lie down. And if you can, you really should. If you're suffering from exhaustion, you need the rest, and sometimes, you're just not going to get the sleep you need at night. It's ok to make it up during the day, but keep in mind that naps should be short (usually 20 to 30 minutes in length), and not too late in the day that you won't be able to get down to sleep at night.
Avoid late night fluids, heartburn, and hunger.
Sleep may feel like an afterthought in everyday life and especially a busy pregnancy. But you need to prioritize sleep for your health and to maintain the energy you need to go on with your daily life.
Amy Highland is a sleep expert at SleepHelp.org.