Pregnancy and Sleep

May 21, 2021 - By Lucy Johnston

Pregnancy and sleep

Good quality, regular sleep is important for both the health and wellbeing of you and your baby when you’re expecting.

But sometimes getting that required rest is easier said than done courtesy of a changing body and some pretty pesky hormones.

So why does our sleep change so much during pregnancy and what can you do to get a better night’s rest?

Sleep habits during pregnancy

Most of us can appreciate that a little extra sleep is required during pregnancy. After all, growing a human is exhausting work, so it’s pretty natural to feel a little more tired than usual.

However, what many women fail to realise is that pregnancy often changes the way we sleep courtesy of a combination of factors.

Less deep sleep

The US Health Foundation notes a lot of women experience a deterioration in their sleep quality during pregnancy, and this can commence as early as the first trimester.

Although you may find yourself more tired, you may also find yourself waking more frequently due to nausea, breast tenderness, or just an inability to get the deep sleep you desire courtesy of hormones.

Pro tip: Establish a good bedtime routine where you actively relax before trying to get to sleep. A nice warm (not hot) bath, some aromatherapy or meditation may assist.

Vivid dreams

Vivid dreams are common during pregnancy, but experts aren’t quite sure why that’s the case. In some instances, stress may be a factor, but it could also be those hormones at play as well.

Pro tip: That bedtime routine plays a role here, especially if you think your restlessness might be stress related. It also pays to ensure your sleeping environment is comfortable, with quality bedding and a comfortable mattress.

Foetal movement

As the pregnancy progresses, you might find yourself waking when your baby moves, but even during the early stages of your pregnancy tiny flutters or abdominal niggles may rouse you from your rest.

Pro tip: As your pregnancy advances, ensure you have the right tools to help you sleep comfortably, such as a Lumbalign Leg pillow you can position between your knees as you lie on your side. 

Frequent toilet trips

With a whole lot going on in such a small space, it’s likely you will need to visit the bathroom more at night as your pregnancy progresses.

Pro tip: Although it’s important to stay well hydrated, try to minimise your fluid intake after 7pm.

Heartburn

Here’s one you may not have picked…expectant mothers frequently experience increased heartburn, and often it commences just when you lie down.

Pro tip: If heartburn is a recurring problem, try to avoid eating just before bedtime, and when you do eat, do so slowly. You can also prop yourself up on pillows to alleviate heartburn when you first lie down.

It’s harder to get comfortable

As your baby gets bigger, it can be hard to get comfortable and some of your favoured sleeping positions, such as your stomach or back, are now off the cards.

That means you should take the time to set yourself up for a comfortable sleep each night.

Pro tip: Position a Lumbalign Leg Pillow between your knees and use a further pillow to support your belly.

The final word

It might seem slightly ironic that just when you need your rest, a combination of body changes, hormones and baby movements make getting a good night’s sleep that little bit harder.

However, some speculate it’s also part of Mother Nature’s grand plan to prepare you for the interrupted sleep that comes with a newborn.

That said, there are ways to improve your chances of getting the sleep you need, it just takes a little attention to your routine and a commitment to extra comfort.