Helping You To Sleep Well During Your Pregnancy
We've recently partnered with our friends at WellVine – the first on-demand healthcare app for pregnancy, baby and mum – to bring you expert advice on breastfeeding, mum and child nutrition, and sleep.
WellVine Sleep Consultant, Maryanne Taylor, shares her top tips on getting a good night’s sleep during pregnancy.
Pregnant and tired? You don’t have to be…
It’s not uncommon to feel exhausted during pregnancy. One of the reasons for this is the changing hormone levels throughout the pregnancy. Rising progesterone levels in the first trimester can cause daytime sleepiness, feelings of nausea and increased bladder pressure all which are not so conducive to great sleep. Some women may experience insomnia at certain stages during the pregnancy, possibly connected to feelings of excitement or anxiety about the labour, birth and indeed having a baby afterwards.
However, it’s not all bad news in the world of sleep in pregnancy. There are lots of things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep, starting with prioritising it! Maryanne Taylor, a highly experienced WellVine Sleep Consultant specialising in maternal and children’s sleep, shares her top tips for getting a good night’s sleep during pregnancy below.
Keep it dark. Try using a small nightlight if you need to get up to go to the loo during the night (a common occurrence when pregnant!). If you can, avoid turning on bright lights as this can impact your melatonin levels at night, affecting your ability to sleep.
Keep it cool.A room temperature of around 18-21 degrees Celsius is ideal. Your core body temperature rises in pregnancy so you may feel hotter than usual. If in doubt, go cooler rather than warmer as sleeping in a cooler bedroom can help maintain healthy sleep.
Switch it off. It’s a fact… screen time before bed does not encourage good sleep habits. All screens, including iPads, phones, TVs, emit a blue light that tricks our bodies into thinking it is time to be awake rather than asleep. Try not to be tempted to go online in the middle of the night to ask how to get back to sleep too!
Wind down. Bedtime routines are not just for little ones. We all need a period of relaxation before getting into bed, and even more so when pregnant. Growing another human being can be hard work! A warm bath or shower, listening to quiet music, cup of chamomile tea, reading a book are all effective methods of winding down your body and mind.
Keep it light. Indigestion and heartburn are not uncommon during pregnancy so having smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day is advisable. Try eating a light meal before bed rather than large, heavy, spicy foods, which can reap havoc on our digestive system and affect your ability to drift off.
Cut it out. Caffeine is the bane of our lives when it comes to sleep. And it’s not just in a cup of coffee…it’s tea, fizzy drinks, chocolate, and even some medications and vitamin supplements. Higher levels of caffeine can have a very stimulating effect on you and on your growing baby. If you’re experiencing sleep issues, try to avoid caffeine after 2pm.
Hydrate. Drinking extra water is essential to help your body cope with the extra demands put on it. In pregnancy, you lose up to two litres of fluid a day, more in hot weather, so ensuring you are replenishing this fluid is so important. Drinking at regular intervals can also help relieve symptoms of morning sickness, heartburn and indigestion,
Jot it down. At bedtime, if your mind is whirling with thoughts, try to get them down on paper. The simple act of writing them down can help significantly in plucking them out of your head, on to a piece of paper, allowing your brain some space to relax.
Breathe it in and breathe it out. Slowing down and focussing on your breathing helps calm the mind, nervous system and relax the muscles. Try a simple technique called Equal Breathing, breathing slowly in through the nose for a count of three, hold your breath for a count of three, then exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of three. Keep focused on your breath, visualising the air filling your lungs and body on the inhale and leaving your body on the exhale. Repeat the same for a count of four, and then a count of five. Continue with this until you feel your body and mind start to relax.
WellVine is a new way to connect to experienced family health specialists via online video calls – anytime, anywhere. Their specialists focus on the health of mum and baby, and include Lactation Consultants, sleep consultants, and maternal and children’s nutritionists. New and expectant parents love WellVine for the convenience and peace of mind it offers.
About Maryanne Taylor
Maryanne Taylor is an experienced WellVine Sleep Consultant, specialising in adult and children’s sleep. She has helped hundreds of families with a variety of sleep problems, including sleep during pregnancy and sleep challenges with babies and toddlers. She is a member of the British Sleep Society and The International Association for Sleep Consultants.