Sleep… we all love a good night’s sleep to wake up feeling refreshed and energised. But during pregnancy many experience disrupted sleep or discomfort making it near impossible to drift off at night. In fact, according to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 78% of women reported more disturbed sleep while pregnant than at any other time.
From your growing bump, aches and pains, to heartburn and (what feels like) a constantly full bladder, it can be harder to get an undisturbed night’s sleep in pregnancy. We spoke to our friends over at bbhugme to ask them what their tips were for sleeping during pregnancy. Here we speak to Dr Hilde, founder of bbhugme and an experienced chiropractor for her 5 top tips to better sleep.
Empty your headspace before you go to bed
We all have busy lives. And if you’re anything like me, there’s always something else waiting to get done or a gazillion little things you need to organize in your head on a day to day basis in order to get the logistics of modern life to actually work. Some neuroscientists claim that an average human has about 50 000 to 70 000 thoughts in their head per day. No wonder it can feel a little busy up there sometimes. Have you ever gone to bed after a long day, but as soon as your head hits the pillow you suddenly feel wide-awake? Like, no matter how hard you try your brain simply won’t shut off? That is actually your brain trying to tell you that you need to de-clutter upstairs!
To set yourself up for good sleep you need to allow your brain and body to wind down after a busy day. Turn off your phone, computer screen or TV for the last hour to half hour before you go to bed. Read a book or listen to some relaxing music, and take 5 minutes to write down everything (no matter how little!) you think you need to remember for the next day on a piece of paper. That way you empty your headspace and make space for some nice, restful sleep.
Beware of sleep debt
You need way more sleep than usual when you’re pregnant. Why? Because you are actually growing a tiny little human in there and that takes a lot of energy from your body. Sleep debt is the difference between the amounts of sleep you should be getting and the amount you actually get. The good news is that, like with all debt, with some persistent work you can catch up and repay it – though it won’t happen in one extended sleep marathon. Taking a small daytime nap every day plus tacking on an extra hour or two of sleep during the night is what is going to help you stay in good sleep balance.
Keep it cool
After you conceive your body temperature will go up by an average of nearly one degree due to an increase in your body metabolism. Now, that may not sound like a lot but believe me it is noticeable. Your body naturally recognizes that it has to take care of two, and thus increases it’s normal activities leading to an increase in body temperature. Keep your bedroom extra cool and use linens that allow for proper circulation of air. Also, avoid exercise, warm baths/showers and caffeinated drinks the last 2-3 hours before you go to bed.
There’s nothing more irritating than the feeling of restrictive clothing when you’re trying to relax, right? Add a growing belly into that equation and it can feel near impossible to ignore that irritating bra or that uncomfortably curious brief when you’re trying to sleep. My best recommendation is that you sleep naked. No clothes to irritate you or restrict circulation in your body, and as a bonus it is also healthier for the “downstairs” department. If you are not comfortable with sleeping naked, at least make sure to wear something in stretchy, natural and breathable material. As you approach the end of your last trimester, turning over in bed can get quite challenging and your mattress may feel like it has Velcro on it. If you don’t have a partner who’s happy to wake up and give you a much- needed push as you roll over, try sleeping on a silk satin sheet with silk bottom or brief. Much less friction.
The magic is in the proper support. Your body is constantly changing and as your belly grows you will feel the need for body support during sleep. Using the bbhugme pregnancy pillow from early on in your pregnancy will not only help you sleep and rest better, but it can also help in the prevention of common low back- and pelvic pain (SPD) associated with pregnancy. Thousands of women have already tried the bbhugme pregnancy pillow and they love it! If there is ever a time in your life you should invest in sleep, it’s during your pregnancy. Remember, you are sleeping for two now.