When you are pregnant, your body goes through many changes, preparing to house your new bundle of joy for nine months. Each trimester of your pregnancy is accompanied by symptoms that can sometimes be uncomfortable.
While you may not expect pregnancy and sleep to be linked, it may surprise you to know that pregnancy can disrupt your sleep in many ways, leading to an uncomfortable night’s rest and leaving you exhausted in the morning.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s crucial for the average adult to get between seven to nine hours of sleep every night. When you are pregnant, this becomes even more important.
Quality sleep is crucial for your baby’s healthy development and a complication-free pregnancy. In this article, we’ll break down the many ways pregnancy affects your sleep and what you can do to get better quality sleep.
Three ways pregnancy can negatively affect your sleep
Sleep disruptions can begin from the first trimester of your pregnancy, and last until the final trimester. Some research shows that women who experienced sleep disruptions during their pregnancy may even continue to struggle after delivery.
Three ways pregnancy has been shown to disrupt your sleep include:
At any point in your pregnancy, a cocktail of hormones is coursing through your body. Some of these hormones can cause insomnia making it challenging to fall asleep. Insomnia may also be brought on by the typical anxieties that accompany pregnancy. It’s normal to worry about your baby’s health, delivery concerns, and other stressors which could keep you up at night.
Unfortunately, pregnancy can trigger the development of sleep apnea. Significant weight gain during pregnancy is a high risk factor for some people to develop obstructive sleep apnea, which causes your breathing to start and stop several times as you sleep, disrupting your sleep.
Signs that you may have sleep apnea include snoring, daytime sleepiness, and waking up gasping or short of breath.
Adjusting to sleeping with a baby bump can be challenging, especially as your pregnancy progresses and your bump continues to grow. If you are used to sleeping on your tummy, adjusting to side sleeping or sleeping on your back during pregnancy can be difficult.
How to get better sleep when you are pregnant
While it may not seem like it when you are up and alert at 2 am, unable to get more than a couple of hours of sleep, it’s possible to get better sleep during pregnancy. From adopting a more comfortable pregnancy sleep position to making lifestyle changes, here are some tips to help you get much-needed quality shut-eye.
When pregnant, you can choose between two sleep positions: your back and side. However, side sleeping, especially on your left side, is more beneficial during pregnancy.
This sleep position improves blood circulation and delivers critical nutrients and oxygen to your baby. Using a pregnancy pillow can help you adjust to sleeping on your side.
Adopt healthier sleep habits
An excellent wind-down routine can improve your sleep quality. A good wind-down routine includes avoiding blue light emitting devices like your phone at least an hour before bed, going to bed at the exact times every night, and avoiding stimulants like coffee before you sleep.
A leading cause of poor sleep quality is general discomfort; the solution is to get comfortable. While this seems easier said than done, when a six-pound baby is pressing on your bladder all through the night, it’s possible.
Do what’s necessary to make your bed a haven. This could be getting new sheets or investing in a temperature-controlled mattress. Setting the exact temperature of your mattress ensures that you are not sticking one foot in and out of your covers to self-regulate your temperature while you sleep.
With a temperature-regulated mattress, you can say goodbye to tossing and turning all night. The Eight Sleep Pod automatically determines your ideal sleep temperature, helping you sleep better and improving your overall sleep quality.
Why getting quality sleep is so crucial when you are pregnant
Sleep plays a critical role in your baby’s healthy development. Not getting enough sleep can cause fatigue, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. Research shows poor sleep quality can cause a difficult delivery, preterm birth, and sometimes sleep problems for your baby when they are born.
If you’ve been struggling to get quality sleep, it may bring you some comfort to know that you are not alone. In a 2016 study, up to 76% of pregnant participants reported experiencing poor sleep quality.
If you’ve noticed you still wake up exhausted despite getting the required seven to nine hours of sleep, tracking your sleep with the Eight Sleep Pod may be helpful. This gives you more insight into the exact times your sleep is disrupted.
Lifestyle changes like adopting healthier sleep habits and sleeping on your side go a long way in helping you get better sleep. Taking your sleep quality seriously will make for a happier and healthier baby and you. If you suspect you have a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, see your doctor as soon as possible for a definite diagnosis and effective treatment.