Congratulations, you’re expecting! For most women, pregnancy is an exciting time in your life with many new changes to come. However, your hormone levels are all over the place right now and this can have a great effect on how well you sleep.
Some of the sleep-related symptoms you may experience during pregnancy include:
- Insomnia: the stress of everything going on in your life, in addition to a kicking baby is not helpful for sleeping and can keep you awake at night.
- Restless legs: Your legs may feel tingly or achy, and it tends to strike at night time. Stretching may help relieve this. If not, have a chat with your doctor.
- Heartburn: a common symptom during pregnancy, but this often strikes at night and can potentially damage the esophagus while you sleep
- Snoring: if you didn’t snore before you were pregnant, there is a good chance that you will start when you are pregnant. Snoring is often caused by weight gain and nasal congestion, both things that are likely to occur during pregnancy
Also, women who are pregnant are at higher risk of developing sleep apnea, a sleep disorder where your breathing is periodically interrupted while you sleep. It is most likely to occur in the third trimester of your pregnancy. This can pose significant risks for both you and your baby so it is important to recognise the signs and seek help when you need it.
Here are some important sleeping tips to keep in mind when you are pregnant:
- Make sleep a priority! Stick to the same bedtime every night and follow a routine.
- Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day (unless your doctor advises otherwise)
- Sleep on your left side to improve blood flow to the fetus
- Avoid spicy and acidic foods in order to relieve heartburn
- Drink lots of fluids throughout the day
- Try to limit napping during the day, if you have trouble falling asleep, nap earlier in the day, or go to bed earlier
- If you are snoring more than normal, think about using a humidifier in your room at night to try and cut down on the nasal congestion
- Talk to your doctor if you are having a lot of trouble sleeping or if you think you may have sleep apnea.