Tips to sleep better in pregnancy

Published on 9 August 2022 at 13:22

How to get a good night's sleep during your pregnancy? Are you having bad nights or poor sleeping quality? This can be common in pregnancy, about 80% of pregnant women report sleeping poor sleep.


In this article I wrote for Dalalou you will find tips on how to ensure a good night's sleep during your pregnancy. For the article in Dutch click here. 


Factors that can keep you awake during pregnancy

Have you ever heard this comment: "Enjoy your sleep while you can?” Well-meant advice, but not always easy to follow. Many women have difficulty sleeping during their pregnancy.

The many hormones rushing through your body, physical discomforts, a baby with a different sleep-wake rhythm than you, and the excitement about the upcoming birth and motherhood can often keep you awake. Although not every pregnant woman suffers from this, getting a good night's sleep during pregnancy is not always easy.

You need extra sleep when pregnant

Apart from the factors that can cause you to sleep badly, you simply need more sleep during pregnancy. After all, being pregnant takes a lot of energy. Not surprising when you consider that a whole new life is growing inside you! Not only your body, but also your baby needs energy to grow. It's incredible to think about the changes your body goes through to make a good and safe nest for your baby!

What can you do for a better night's sleep?

Here are 5 tips to help you sleep better during your pregnancy.

Tip 1. Adapt

Now that you are pregnant your sleep needs change, it's as simple as that. If you can adapt to this and listen to what your body needs you will ultimately benefit. This may mean going to bed earlier, taking naps during the day and generally taking it a little easier. And yes, this is necessary from the very beginning. Even though you may not see much of it yet, your body has never gone through such big changes in a short time as it is now.


Tip 2. Create good sleeping conditions

Good sleeping conditions include a nice quiet bedroom used only for sleeping and making love. A good temperature in the bedroom, ventilation and fresh air and a comfortable bed are ultimately important when you are creating the best sleeping conditions. 

The posture you are sleeping in is another sleeping condition you can influence. You can create a good sleeping position during your pregnancy by using one or more (pregnancy) pillows. Especially when your belly starts to grow, it is important to find a nice position that helps you sleep. For optimal blood flow to your heart, kidneys and uterus it is best to lie on your left side during pregnancy. This ensures a good supply of oxygen and nutrients for your baby. You can use a pillow between your knees to give your lower back some relief. Using a pillow under your belly can provide relief for your loving baby bump.

Although it is less recommended because the weight of your uterus can press on your veins and thus reduce blood flow, you can also sleep on your right side when you are pregnant. Even lying on your back during pregnancy is possible. If you prefer lying on your back for sleeping, make sure you lie slightly tilted up from your tailbone using pillows, this reduces the pressure on your blood vessels and uterus. In general, it is recommended to lie on your back only for shorter moments starting in the second trimester. However, if you suffer from heartburn, this can be a very nice position. If you are lying on your back at an angle, it is important for your back to put a pillow under your knees to spare your lower back.


Tip 3. Establish a bedtime routine 

A good bedtime routine contributes to a better night's sleep, because you are preparing your mind and body to unwind. Here are some daily rituals you could integrate into your day and bedtime routine to help you sleep better: 

  • Alternate rest and activity throughout the day. It is good to get your rest, but exercise also contributes to a better night's sleep. You will fall asleep easier and sleep deeper.  
  • The outdoors works wonders! Make sure you get outside enough during the day and sleep with an open window at night. Fresh air is essential for a good rest.
  • Stop drinking coffee after lunch (and preferably limit your coffee intake in general during your pregnancy)
  • Don’t go to bed on a full stomach.
  • Get up and go to bed at the same time every day.
  • Go to bed no later than 10 pm. Sleeping early and getting up early promotes your biological rhythm, which means getting better sleep and more energy during the day.
  • Plan your daytime nap early in the day so you can get to bed on a reasonable time in the evening.
  • Only engage in calming activities and dim the lights one hour before bedtime. Dimming the lights increases the production of the sleep hormone melatonin and will help you fall asleep. Calming activities include: taking a warm shower or bath, listening to quiet music, drinking a cup of warm (organic) milk or tea without theine, doing a relaxation exercise or meditation before bed.
  • If you like to use essential oils, you can put a calming oil in the diffuser or rub your belly with it (diluted with a career oil). This is a great way to connect with your baby. Lavender oil is a popular oil for a good night's sleep. Take care not to use too much lavender oil, as it will have a stimulating effect when its too much or when you are sensitive. 
  • No screen time right before bed. Not only the light, but also the activity on your screen continues to stimulate your brain, making it harder to fall asleep. Besides that your sleep quality may be reduced because you may fall into a restless sleep.
  • Drink enough water (2 litres minimum) during the day so that you don't have to drink anymore just before going to bed and therefore (hopefully) pee less during the night. 


Tip 4. Make sure you feel good in your body

For a good night's sleep it is also important to take good care of yourself by eating healthy and getting your rest, but also by exercising sufficiently. Make sure you feel good in your body. A good physical condition ensures that you can sleep better. Nothing is as annoying as all kinds of physical complaints that keep you from sleeping. You could think of pregnancy yoga, swimming and walking to ensure that you stay fit and mobile. Miles Circuit, Spinning Babies and Rebozo are other exercises that can help keep your body flexible and create space in your body so that your baby get lined up in the optimal position. In addition, these exercises can reduce, remedy or prevent physical discomfort. 

Although there are many symptoms during pregnancy that are common, it is not necessarily normal to have symptoms. There are numerous ways to treat many of the typical pregnancy ailments. You can seek help from the midwife or doctor, but depending on what exactly is bothering you, you can also consider chiropractic care, acupuncture, osteopathy or a specific pregnancy diet (such as the Brewer pregnancy diet for normal & high risk pregnancy).  

Get a nice relaxing massage, take a foot bath (with magnesium flakes) and make sure your vitamin and mineral intake is also essential for a healthy pregnancy and therefore a better sleep at night.


Tip 5. Take care of mental well-being

Your mental well-being and a good mind-set will also help you have a good and healthy pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. Many problems falling asleep are caused by tension and anxiety. These are very normal feelings when you are pregnant. Not only are the physical changes major, so are the mental changes you go through. Whether you are becoming a mother for the first or fifth time you are once again in a transformation process. For the first time you are becoming a mother of this child, in this situation and this family constellation. Your relationship with your partner (and older kids) will change, your family constellation will (once again) change, and the relationship with other loved ones and friends will change. Take your time, be present and feel through what it is like for you. All feelings are allowed to be there. If you are aware of this process then you can work with it and beautiful transformations can arise from it. Give yourself that space! 


You can get for help with this. There are many possibilities to support you in this, for instance the HypnoBirthing® course or hypnotherapy for a specific issue. If you think you can benefit from either one you can book a 1:1 meeting with me and we will see what best fits your needs. 

These pregnancy, birth and postpartum blog stories you might also like:

Want to delve into the material yourself? Good idea! Here are my sources

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