Why do you have sleepless nights during pregnancy?
Pregnancy can throw multiple challenges when it comes to getting good sleep. Let’s understand why you don’t get proper sleep and what can you do to rest comfortably.
Pregnancy sees an upsurge in progesterone level and various structural and physiological changes, resulting in a great deal of discomfort. Your metabolism is also running very high to support your and your baby’s energy requirements, which causes sluggishness and fatigue during the day.
After a long tiring day, you desperately feel like retiring to bed to revive your energies but may not be able to sleep comfortably. Here are the reasons for the same:
Reasons for sleeplessness during pregnancy
- Acidity, nausea, and heartburn
- Frequent urination at night
- Tender breasts
- Restlessness due to hormonal fluctuations
- Foetal movement
- Leg Cramps
- Anxiety and fear of delivery
- Uterine contractions
Discomfort when lying down
Pregnancy brings about a slew of new onsets which also affect our sleep posture. As the trimesters pass by, it gets increasingly perplexing to figure out the best position to get optimum rest while keeping our baby safe. Let us see what some of the most common sleep snatching culprits of pregnancy are and their remedies.
A really big belly
Some women have petite bellies that cutely snug their bodies and to others, pregnancy might be a really challenging journey with their huge tummies. To keep your bulging abdomen from disturbing your sleep, use a good body pillow that comfortably fits your body contour and relives some weight off of you. Keep an extra pillow lying on the floor beneath you to switch in the middle of the night to get a fresh new cool pillow. Investing in soft bedding and blankets that you love can help you relax and fall asleep quickly.
Frequent urination occurs during pregnancy because of two reasons:
- Your body now has 50% more fluids circulating inside for the nourishment of both of you. So the excess/ waste urine outcome is also high.
- Your timid bladder is also being squished by the uterus with the growing baby.
You can try these measures to see if they help you in getting decent uninterrupted sleep.
- When you pee, lean forward a little so you are emptying it fully every time you go.
- Drink a smidgen fewer fluids in the evening, but don’t starve yourself to the point of dehydration.
- Scour for hidden caffeine in your diet. Caffeine makes you pee more often and it can hide sneakily in the most unsusceptible places like energy bars, juices or even in decaf drinks.
- Begin short kegel sessions to strengthen your pelvic muscles and prevent urine leaking when you are pregnant and during post-partum.
When you’re pregnant, you can get back pain for no reason at all. It’s easy to ignore the mild aches in the busy of the day, but in the solitude of the night, your back can kill your sleep.
Here are some ways to keep back pain at bay:
- Don’t lift heavy objects.
- Use orthopaedic flat footwear to kill the uneven stress on your back.
- Use maternity support pillows at work and during travels if you are going to sit for long stretches.
- Don’t bend over to pick anything up from the floor. Bend at your knees instead and squat to pick stuff, keeping your back straight.
- If your mattress is very soft, firm it up with a mat to better support your weight at night.
- Soak in some warm water before you go to bed.
Also, your body starts loosening up ligaments to help your body stretch and soften for labour. This loosening can add an extra strain on your lower back. So stay careful not to injure yourself and maintain good posture when sitting, standing and sleeping to keep your back pain free.
You may find yourself gasping for breath as you suddenly wake up at midnight, particularly in the third trimester. This is brought to you by the uterus pushing on the diaphragm. To escape from this condition, lay on your sides when sleeping. If you are susceptible to going back lying flat frequently through the night, use a pillow fort or a body pillow or a wall to block you and keep you on your side the whole night.
It is no fun jolting out of the bed every other day feeling like your calves are on fire. Even doctors aren’t sure why this happens more to some women. Your uterus might be garrotting the nerves passing on to your legs, suffocating the blood supply to your legs or you might be a deficit in magnesium or calcium.
To alleviate sleep disruption because of leg cramps, try the following:
- Make sure that you take your multivitamins, folic acid and calcium supplements regularly throughout and after pregnancy.
- Stretch your body slowly with extra focus on your legs before you settle in the bed.
- Wear compression socks or stockings to improve blood flow.
- Educate yourself with simple feet exercises to do when you are caught in an episode of nocturnal leg cramp. Have proper arrangements to balance yourself so you don’t fall off trying to stretch your feet standing up half asleep. Pointing the toes causes severe cramps for many women, so always try to soothe your calf by lifting your heels.
Acidity, Nausea, and Heartburn
Heartburn has nothing to do with your heart or hairy babies. It is very common in pregnancy because the progesterone released during pregnancy causes your stomach valve to relax, causing the backflow of stomach acid into the oesophagus. In addition to the burning sensation, this also causes indigestion. The pushing of the belly on the stomach also makes the leakage more pronounced when lying down to sleep.
Follow these tips to combat heartburn and get a peaceful night’s rest:
- Say no to fatty, greasy, spicy food, especially after the evenings.
- Finish your last meal for the day an hour before you hit the bed.
- Never go to bed hungry. Keep something neutral on your bedside to deal with midnight hunger pangs. Nuts and honey, honey water, thick milk with honey, and yoghurt are a good food to calm your flaming oesophagus.
- To reduce heartburn during the day, split your meals into smaller portions and munch something at regular intervals rather than packing your stomach at times and leaving it empty afterwards.
- Do not take over the counter antacids during pregnancy because they can sometimes contain aluminium or high doses of sodium which can be harmful.
How should you not sleep when pregnant?
Sleeping on your stomach
If you love snoozing cuddling a pillow while lying on your stomach, it is generally safe to do through the first trimester. After that, it can get naturally challenging for you to even try it. To avoid sleeping on your stomach after the first trimester.
Sleeping on your back
Sleeping on your back is more dangerous than sleeping on your stomach when you’re pregnant. You should strictly aim to zero down any back sleeping because:
- By the second trimester, the uterus is heavy enough to compress the major blood vessels like aorta and vena cava, causing impediments to your blood circulation.
- Hindrances to blood circulation cause faster heartbeat, swelling of the legs and decreased blood flow to the baby.
- Sleeping on your back in the third trimester can throttle the diaphragm and cause difficulty breathing.
- Your belly pressing on your intestines can cause bloating and digestion problems.
- Lying on your back can stress your spine more and cause backaches.
- Lying on your back is also said to increase your chances of developing haemorrhoids.
What can you do to rest comfortably?
You can take steps to manage sleep disturbances during pregnancy. For example:
- Meditate: Meditation immediately relaxes your mind and body. It is an excellent way to relax just before hitting the bed. If you cannot meditate, you can start with a simple ritual of gratitude. Feeling thankful releases endorphins and elevates your feelings, making you feel happier. You will see immediate results of this small bedtime ritual, which will impact your sleep quality.
- Stop seeing your phone: The bright light of your phone can shoo away your sleep. So, remove all the electronic devices from your room before sleeping, as they are the biggest distractors to falling asleep.
- Stay active: Although pregnancy can make you feel lethargic and drained out, you must go out for a walk in the morning and evening. This will rejuvenate your energies, improve blood circulation, and tire you enough to fall asleep at night. You would be glad to know that regular walks also help to ease out the delivery.
- Prevent acidity: Make sure to sip in ample water and liquids throughout the day to keep acidity at bay. Having frequent small meals will surely help you fight giddiness.
- Read something motivating: Another good thing to keep in mind is to read some inspirational content during pregnancy. Science is increasingly proving the impact of thoughts on the body. When you read positive stuff, it not just rewires your brain but also positively impacts the little wonder inside your belly.
- Take it Easy: Almost 95% of women feel scared of delivery and labour pain, haunting their minds for 9 months. Delivering a baby is a natural process, so enjoy it and take it easy. Don’t surf the net to read those scary stories of prolonged labour pain; instead, affirm that you will have a safe and easy delivery each day.