How To Sleep Better During Pregnancy
1. Pick any position you like
Wondering what’s the best way to sleep while pregnant? Perhaps you’ve heard that pregnant women should always sleep on their left side. If you’re struggling to stick with this sleeping position there’s good news at hand. Current NHS advice says that pregnant women can sleep in any position that makes them feel comfortable and allows them to get a good night’s sleep. While this is more likely to mean sleeping on your side than on your back (particularly during the third trimester), you don’t need to worry about whether you lean to the left or right.
The myth about sleeping on your left-hand side during pregnancy surfaced a few years ago, following a study of 465 women to understand if there was a correlation between sleeping position and stillbirths. It concluded that further research was needed to understand their findings. To learn more, you can read the NHS analysis of the study.
2. Focus on quality not quantity
Aim to sleep better, not longer. It’s natural when you’re tired to feel that you need more sleep. And while sleeping for longer can help you to combat tiredness, it’s not always easy, especially considering the challenges that pregnancy combined with a busy work/life routine brings. Fortunately, it’s not the only answer.
Another way to alleviate tiredness and feel more refreshed is to focus on your quality of sleep. While you may not be able to squeeze in an extra couple of hours of shut-eye each day, you can improve the quality of the hours you already get. The key to sleep quality is spending more time in Phase 4 sleep – also known as deep sleep – as this is the phase during which your body restores itself, leaving you feeling refreshed when you wake. So make “quality not quantity” your mantra for sleeping during pregnancy.
But how can you make this happen? Wool bedding, including duvet, pillows and topper, helps you to reach the optimal temperature for restorative sleep sooner and maintain it for longer, helping to enhance the benefits of sleep.
3. Eat for sleep
Chances are you’ve been bombarded with dietary advice since becoming pregnant. But have you considered how what you eat can help or hinder sleep? Hot, spicy foods are common triggers of overheating and night sweats, causing you to wake up unnecessarily. Try to avoid caffeine too, particularly in the hours before bed. It acts as a diuretic, increasing the frequency with which you need to go to the toilet – something you don’t need if your bladder is already causing you problems.
And remember to eat your evening meal early too, to aid digestion and ease the symptoms of night-time heartburn. For more food-related tips on how to sleep during pregnancy, take a look at our advice on snooze foods for better sleep.
4. Deal with night-time allergies
Hot sweats, restless legs, aches and pains. There are plenty of sleep disturbances during pregnancy as it is, without adding allergy symptoms to the mix. So here’s one sleep disturbance you should definitely deal with. If you often wake at night with itchy eyes, a sneezing nose or wheezy chest, a dust-mite allergy may be to blame. Standard synthetic and feather/down filled bedding provide a hot and humid environment that’s perfect for harbouring dust mites. Not great if you’re already struggling to sleep.
To dramatically reduce dust mites and alleviate your allergy symptoms, switch to a wool-filled mattress and bedding set. Because wool absorbs and then desorbs moisture, it lacks the qualities that dust mites need to thrive - which is good news for you.
5. Indulge in me-time
Possibly the best pregnancy sleep tip of all! You’ve never had a better reason to relax and indulge in some me-time, so make the most of it. Set aside plenty of time each evening to unwind – try having a hot soak in the bath with your favourite background music, before settling into bed with another relaxing soundtrack or a good book. The most important thing is to let your worries float away, particularly if you’re stressed about trying to sleep, as this can be counterproductive.
Hopefully our tips for how to sleep when pregnant will help you snooze better and feel more refreshed. Get ready for your new arrival by reading 7 Sleep Secrets Every New Parent Needs to Know