Earlier this week I wrote about why it’s so vital to get the best quality sleep possible while you’re expecting—it helps stabilize mood, improves your body’s immune response and can help prevent mood disorders after pregnancy, including postpartum depression. But how?
There are so many obstacles that it can feel daunting—doubly so if you already have children. From those midnight trips to the bathroom to heartburn, restless leg syndrome, a perpetually clogged nose and just the sheer effort it takes to get into a comfortable position in your third trimester, sleep can seem like more elusive than a dream. Don’t lose hope—sleep is possible and I say this not just as a nurse and educator, but as the mother of two. There’s a solution to every problem.
PROBLEM: Hip discomfort. SOLUTION: Pillows
Your hips take a lot of punishment during pregnancy and can even put pressure on the sciatic nerve. Putting a pillow between your knees can ease, or even prevent, the ache. For extra comfort, many women swear by a full body pillow.
PROBLEM: Nocturnal trips to the bathroom. SOLUTION: Stay in the dark.
While it’s important to stay hydrated during the day, try to avoid drinkingliquids within three hours of bedtime. When you do get up to go, keep the house as dark as possible. Nightlights can be your friend here, especially if the bulb is in the red spectrum. Studies show that light in the blue spectrum stimulates your melatonin levels, which makes you more alert and getting back to sleep more difficult.
PROBLEM: Heartburn. SOLUTION: Small meals and no bedtime snacks.
At some point during pregnancy your growing baby starts pushing against your stomach making even the sturdiest digestive system rebel. To prevent flare ups, try eating six mini-meals per day—and keep what you eat greaseless and on the mild side.