Get Your Best Rest

As your body changes during pregnancy, you may find that sleep becomes elusive. In addition to the surging hormones that can affect your sleep cycles, you must learn how to sleep comfortably around your growing belly. Not only that, but leg cramps, restless leg syndrome, and normal pregnancy worries and anxiety can all make the problem worse. Thankfully, you can take steps to ease yourself into easier sleep. Here are some ideas.

1. Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration helps your body be ready to sleep. However, try to drink your water early in the day and avoid too many drinks right before bedtime, so you aren’t getting up to use the restroom.

2. Stay Active

Another thing that can promote good sleep is safe exercise. Yes, it can be challenging to exercise while pregnant, but make time in your day for a gentle workout or walk. Exercise improves circulation, and that can reduce the risk of cramps in your legs while you sleep. As a bonus, you’ll use up some of your energy, which will help you feel more tired.

As you do with your water intake, schedule your workout earlier in the day. If you work out within the two hours before bed, the adrenaline boost you get could make it harder to fall asleep.

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3. Manage Your Thoughts

When you are pregnant, anxiety and overall stress usually increase. This can be due to the life change you’re about to experience in combination with the hormonal changes in your body. Find a way to release your thoughts before bed so you can sleep worry-free.

One option is to put your thoughts down in a journal that you keep on your bedside table and give yourself permission to shelve those thoughts until the morning. Often you will find that they are less pressing after you have had a good night’s sleep. You can also find a trusted friend who will listen to your worries or schedule therapy during your pregnancy to let you unload your thoughts.

4. Use Your Pillows

When you need to start sleeping on your side, you may find it uncomfortable if that’s not your normal sleep position. One way to help you feel more comfortable is to place pillows under your knee and belly to help support you in this sleep position. If you are comfortable, you’ll sleep better.

5. Take a Nap

If you’re struggling to sleep at night, taking a nap may feel counter-productive, but it can actually help you nap better at night, as long as you don’t sleep too long. For example, a nap of 20 to 30 minutes can help you sleep better when bedtime rolls around while also giving you energy for other tasks in your day.

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What Can You Take to Help you Sleep While Pregnant?

If these tips don’t help, you may need a sleep aid. When you’re expecting, you do have to be considerate of the supplements and medications you take, so always talk to your doctor first. Many sleep aids have ingredients that could harm your baby. Benadryl, though not technically a sleep aid, will likely make you sleepy and is safe during pregnancy. Doxylamine is another safe sleep aid. Research is new on the use of melatonin, but it also appears safe.