When it comes to sleep and pregnancy, a lot of women have trouble sleeping well when they’re expecting a baby. This can be a real nuisance, because pregnancy is physically and emotionally draining at the best of times. A good night’s sleep is important not only for your mind and body, but also for your baby’s development in the womb. So why is poor sleep such a problem during pregnancy? And what can you do about it?
This article explains the causes of sleep problems in pregnancy and offer you some tips on how to sleep better .
Cause 1: hormones
Did you know that more women than men suffer from sleep problems? Not just in pregnancy, but also during their periods and the menopause . Why? Because of their hormones!
Oestrogen and progesterone
Normally, the female hormone oestrogen encourages long, deep sleep. Another hormone, progesterone, makes you feel sleepy and also stimulates dreams. During the first few months of pregnancy, your body produces more progesterone than normal and so you want to sleep more than you did before. You might think that’s a good thing, but the problem is that your normal rhythm is disrupted and so you tend to sleep worse at night.
On top of that, the so-called ‘pregnancy hormone’ hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) makes a lot of women feel sick. Not just in the morning, but at night as well. And that, too, disturbs your sleep.
Cause 2: worry
Many pregnant women sleep badly because they worry more than usual. Bedtime is an ideal moment for concerns about the course of your pregnancy and the health of your baby to come to mind, keeping you awake or interrupting your night’s sleep.
Cause 3: your belly
As it grows, your belly can literally prevent you from sleeping comfortably. It’s often hard to find a restful position. In the final stages, your baby’s head frequently presses against your bladder, forcing you to keep getting up in the night. This can be a problem earlier on, too, because your kidneys are working overtime.
Tips for better sleep
If you’re pregnant and having difficulty sleeping, the following tips might help:
Arrange a treatment for me
- Make sure you relax before going to bed. Take a walk, for example, or read a good book to clear your mind. A warm bath – or a cold one at the end of a hot summer’s day – can work wonders.
- To avoid night-time sickness, eat biscuits or crackers at regular intervals throughout the day. This ensures that you never have any empty stomach, which actually increases the chance of feeling sick.
- Try to start sleeping on your side as soon as you learn you’re pregnant. This helps you to rest better in that position when your belly gives you no other choice.
Last updated on October 13, 2016.
Follow us on social