Sleep can be hard to come by when you’re pregnant, generally due to the hormonal shifts and growing belly bumps. According to a sleep expert, Dr. Angela Holliday-Bell, “This leads to increased fatigue and difficulty getting comfortable at night. There is also an increased risk of conditions like acid reflux that can become very uncomfortable and make it even more difficult to get good quality sleep at night,” she says to ESSENCE.
According to a 2015 study, pregnancy is associated with many physical, hormonal, and physiological changes which may influence sleep. About 66 to 94% of women report sleep disturbances during pregnancy, one manifestation of which is insomnia or sleep deficiency; another common complaint is an inadequate amount of sleep, with regular sleep outside pregnancy being 7-9 hours of sleep a night. To remedy these sleep issues during pregnancy, we tapped Dr. Holliday-Bell for expert tips on how to gain better sleep while pregnant.
Find a comfortable sleeping position using a pregnancy pillow:
Finding a comfortable sleeping position while pregnant can be challenging due to the weight and pressure of the growing belly bump. It can be helpful to use a pregnancy pillow to support your bump and place it between your legs to remove some of the strain while lying on your side.
Keep your bedroom temp cool at night:
Keeping a cool bedroom temperature, ideally between 62 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, is recommended to facilitate the drop in body temperature needed to transition to and maintain sleep. This is especially important during pregnancy as the hormonal shifts can cause an increase in body temperature that leads to restless sleep.
Take short strategic power naps during the day:
The increase in the hormone progesterone during pregnancy can lead to excess fatigue, so taking strategic power naps can help throughout the day. The key is to keep them earlier in the day, ideally before 3 pm, and limit them to no more than 20 to 30 minutes so that the naps don’t interfere with overnight sleep.
Be aware of restless leg syndrome symptoms:
Restless leg syndrome is a disorder that causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs, with the need to move them, generally occurring at night or during rest. This need to move the legs can interfere with falling asleep and sleep quality. We tend to see this disorder increase in pregnancy, so it’s essential to be aware of the symptoms and seek treatment if necessary.
Engage in daily exercise:
Exercise has been shown to promote deeper-quality sleep and can be particularly helpful during pregnancy. It’s essential not only for sleep but for the health of the mother and unborn child to get moving.