If you’re anything like me, you love to sleep. I’ve never been one of those women that could function off of just a couple of hours of sleep a night. I need the full 8, though I would definitely prefer more. This made getting enough sleep during pregnancy a must for me.
I’m sure by now that you are realizing that being pregnant not only makes you exhausted all the time (building a baby is hard!), but also that getting enough sleep and adequate sleep can be a little harder than it once was.
The importance of sleep during pregnancy is unparalleled though, so making a real effort to get enough quality sleep should be your top priority.
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Why is Pregnancy so Exhausting?
Pretty much every aspect of pregnancy can make you feel more tired than usual.
Hormonal changes, blood sugar levels, increased blood circulation, and increase progesterone levels can all make you want to go to bed much earlier than normal. (Source)
On top of all of the physical changes, emotional changes such as increased anxiety can also lead to feeling sleepy.
The important thing to remember is that it is completely normal, and there are ways to combat it.
I am sorry to say though that this is only the beginning of your exhaustion. Welcome to motherhood!
Why is Sleep During Pregnancy Important?
Sleep is important for everyone for many reasons. Getting enough sleep improves your immune system, brain function, and allows your body to heal from every day wear and tear.
Getting enough sleep while you’re pregnant is even more important because in addition to all of that, it also helps to regulate growth hormone levels.
Your baby needs a lot of effort from you to be born. Much of his growth and development is all based on your hormones and how they all work and function together.
Making sure that these hormone levels are regulated correctly ensures that your baby’s systems all develop normally.
Getting enough sleep during pregnancy is vital for this development.
Can Lack of Sleep Affect Pregnancy?
Yes. Not only will less sleep make you feel like crap, but it can affect your resulting labor.
A sleep study done on pregnant women, found that women who got less than 6 hours of sleep a night were 4.5 times more likely to have a c-section. Those women were even reported as having longer labors in general. (Source)
For me, I’d much rather have the extra nap.
How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Need While Pregnant?
The National Sleep Foundation says that the average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night to function normally. (Source)
As a pregnant woman, you should be getting at least 7 hours a night MINIMUM. Though to be honest, shooting for more is never a bad idea.
You will feel SO much better if you are able to get more sleep each day.
How to Get More Sleep During Pregnancy
Being pregnant means that you have a gang ton (technical term?) of stuff going on internally.
I wasn’t kidding when I said building a baby is hard. Your body needs fuel for all of that extra baby building stuff. That means your body needs water.
Normal people need about 8 glasses of water a day, pregnant women need between 10 and 12 glasses a day.
I know that that is only going to add to the trips to the bathroom, but trust me when I say that you will feel SO much better if you are well hydrated.
I will never forget the night I woke up in shear agony from a massive charlie horse in my leg during my second trimester.
I was in tears I was in so much pain and had to frantically wake my husband up to help massage it out because I just couldn’t move. That stupid thing made me limp for a solid week and my leg was still really painful for at least a week after that.
Please, please, please don’t be me. Drink your water!
Ever since then, I made sure to always have a water bottle (or two) with me everywhere I went.
I personally LOVE my Hydroflask. It’s basically indestructible and I need that considering how clumsy I am.
It also keeps the water at the perfect temperature for hours which is great for all of those people that like really cold water, or the people like my husband that like hot water. Well, he technically drinks hot tea out of his, but you get the picture. It’s awesome!
Limit Fluids Before Bed
Okay, I know I just told you to hydrate, but bear with me. All of those fluids have to go somewhere, and having a baby pressing on your bladder means that you aren’t going to be able to hold quite as much as you normally would be able to.
You should definitely make sure that you are getting all of your water for the day, but I’d stop drinking anything a few hours before you plan on going to bed.
That’ll help you sleep a bit longer instead of getting up 30 times a night to pee.
Pee Before Sleeping
Remember the peeing all the time thing? Yeah, it’s real.
It may sound like common sense, but it deserves repeating.
Make sure that you pee before bed. I would even try to go one more time after you think your bladder is empty just in case.
I know I HATED being woken up by a full bladder in the middle of the night. Then having to do that half-asleep shuffle through the dark room to the bathroom. UGH!
Just do yourself a favor and go before bed. You might be able to get a little more rest if you do.
Learn to Side Sleep
I’ve always been a back or a stomach sleeper. During pregnancy though, those positions won’t be nearly as comfortable.
You can probably get away with sleeping on your stomach through your first trimester.
After your belly starts to grow though, that’ll just become uncomfortable. It isn’t really safe for the baby once you get bigger either.
The same goes for sleeping on your back during pregnancy. The weight of the baby can actually restrict the vena cava (the main vein that carries blood back to your heart from your lower body) which can be harmful for you and your baby.
The best way to sleep is on your side. Most doctors will even suggest that the left side is the most preferable since it allows for better blood flow, but I say do what is most comfortable.
You’ll know if a position isn’t working for you because you’ll get a bit lightheaded and dizzy.
While there are specifically made pregnancy pillows on the market, and I’m sure that they work great. I personally didn’t want to buy a one purpose object. So I got a body pillow instead.
I absolutely loved my body pillow when I was pregnant, and I still use it to sleep today.
It was so much better for me to sleep during pregnancy with the body pillow because I could put it in between my knees and also still get it under my belly. To me that extra tugging sensation just hurt my back more. I liked having my stomach supported when I slept.
I also found it to be hugely beneficial for my growing breastfeeding boobs. I totally put that thing between my boobs when I sleep to eliminate the pulling sensations there too. I love my body pillow!
In addition to my body pillow, I also would take just a regular pillow and place it behind me when I slept. This helped to keep me from completely rolling onto my back when I was sleeping.
I actually found it really comfortable to lie with it under my back so that I was kind of tilted to the side.
Though your partner may not love all of the extra additions to the bedding, they can get over it. You’re busy building a baby. They’ll survive for a few months.
Speaking of pillows, if you are prone to heartburn (most pregnant women are) lying down will only make it worse. Use an extra pillow or two to prop yourself up in bed to try to help with the burning sensation.
If your heartburn is really bad, then you should definitely try to limit any of the heartburn inducing foods at dinner time.
You may love those spicy enchiladas, but right before bed probably isn’t the best time for that. Save those things for lunch time instead.
I’m sure that the thought of trying to exercise while you’re pregnant is just exhausting, but hear me out. Exercising, even if it is just a short walk around the block or a little prenatal safe yoga, helps release endorphins that puts you in a good mood and helps you to relax.
It will also help to make sure that your muscles are being used and stay healthy. Pregnant women are more likely to get blood clots since they’re pumping more blood through their bodies, and probably also because they’re more sedentary (hello exhaustion). Getting up and moving your body can help with that.
Remember that charlie horse story?? Exercising will help with that as well.
If you won’t get up and do a full-fledged exercise routine (I don’t blame you), at least make sure that you’re getting up and moving every hour or so.
This is especially important if you have a desk job. Just get up and walk up and down the hallway for a minute or two and do a little stretch. Your body will thank you.
Use a Humidifier
When I was pregnant with J, I just felt so dry! My whole body just felt like all the water had been sucked out of it.
I noticed this even more at night when I was trying to sleep. I had so much trouble breathing. A humidifier was the one thing that really helped with this.
I had already been planning on getting humidifier for J’s nursery, but I have to admit, I’ve gotten more use out of it than he has.
I had nosebleeds almost daily when I was in the later stages of my pregnancy, especially as the weather started changing and it got cooler.
Pretty much every morning, like clockwork, my nose would start bleeding. Using a humidifier at night helped me to breathe better, which made me sleep better, and it kept my nose from bleeding in the morning.
Keep the Temperature Low
Being pregnant will make you feel like you’re having hot flashes, at least it did for me.
Keep your house a little cooler than you normally would to help keep from overheating at night. You can always add extra blankets to the bed if you (or your partner) really needs the warmth.
A couple of degrees off the thermostat will really make a difference though.
Keep Your Naps Short
Remember when I said building a baby is hard? You are going to be tired all the time. There is no shame what so ever in taking a nap. Hell, take 10 naps a day if you need to. Whatever helps you make it through. Just make sure those naps aren’t too long.
Pretty much anything over an hour can cause you to not sleep as well at night, and also cause you to just feel more tired during the day since your body is getting into that REM sleep stage.
Think power naps. Short and sweet is the way to go.
If you aren’t a great napper now, I suggest you try to figure out a trick that works for you. When your baby arrives, you will be thankful for all the little bits of extra sleep you can get. Trust me.
Related: Easy Tips to Help Your Newborn Sleep
Have a Good Nighttime Routine
Do something relaxing in the evening that fosters good sleep. Whatever it is that will help you feel comfortable.
Whether it’s taking a bath, having your partner give you a foot rub (I preferred a back rub), or just taking a few minutes to read a book. Do something for you that will help calm you. Your sleep will thank you.
Make sure though that this routine doesn’t involve any screen time. All of that extra artificial light has been scientifically proven to hinder your sleep.
You don’t need all that extra nonsense keeping you up at night. Facebook can wait, I promise.
How Can I Boost My Energy During Pregnancy?
First and foremost, getting more sleep can give you more energy during the day, but taking a good quality prenatal vitamin can help as well.
Pay attention to your body and follow its cues.
Your body is busy building your baby. If it tells you that you need to slow down, then do so. It will make your whole pregnancy more enjoyable if you aren’t stressed out and exhausted the whole time.
Are you struggling to sleep during your pregnancy? What tips have you tried? Leave me a comment below or join the conversation in our Facebook group.
Until next time!