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Sleeping during pregnancy can often be very difficult due the rapid changes that your body goes through over the nine months. However, it is important that you try to get good quality sleep to keep you and your baby fit and healthy, and to enjoy the time as much as possible. It is also important for expectant parents to sleep as well as they can during pregnancy, because when the baby arrives a full night of peaceful sleep will be a distant memory.
There are several reasons why sleep can be difficult during the various stages of pregnancy. One of the main issues is the quickly developing size of the baby itself, and the effects that this has on your body both inside and out. During pregnancy your heart rate increases as your body pumps an increased blood supply to the uterus. Your heart will then have to work harder to pump more blood to the rest of your body, which can make rest very difficult, you can also suffer from shortage of breath as there is added pressure below your lungs. Leg cramps and backache also make sleeping very uncomfortable, the extra weight means added strain which can make you restless during the night, causing you to wake up constantly feeling irritable. If that wasn’t enough to contend with, your bladder is effectively ‘squashed’, making trips to the toilet an irritatingly frequent occurrence.
Sleeping positions that you’ve previously become used to may well become impossible, forcing you to find new ways to lie. Ensure that you have a comfortable and supportive mattress to ease any discomfort - if your mattress isn’t up to the job then it’s the ideal time to invest in a new one. If a comfortable position proves to be particularly elusive, try a pregnancy pillow. These specially-designed pillows can be used in various ways; around the bump, against your back, cuddled into, or positioned between your legs to relieve pressure.
Pregnancy isn’t just a physical challenge, it is also a profound time from a mental perspective, and the excitement or stress of being pregnant can also play havoc with your sleep. Worrying about the health of the baby or seemingly uncontrollable rapid-fire thoughts of the impending arrival can sometimes make sleep the last thing on your mind. These feelings are common amongst expectant mums, but can be rationalised in exactly the same way as any other invasive thought processes at any other time of your life. Talking about your feelings and trying to clear your mind before bed can eliminate the stress and anxiety that is keeping you awake. Making a list and deciding that you have a set time during the day for dealing with particular issues are common ways of dealing with over-active thoughts. That way, when consuming thoughts do pop into your head in the night you can rest easy, knowing that you’re dealing with it later, at a more appropriate time, and when you’re ready.
Gently exercising on a daily basis can improve your health and circulation, making it easier to get to sleep at night. Try to exercise through the day so that you can let your body slow down and rest at night, allowing you to wind down ready for sleeping.
Getting in a routine is also important, a soothing and calming routine before bed can help you to feel completely relaxed and comfortable before you get into bed, so that you fall straight to sleep. Having a caffeine-free drink, reading a book and taking a warm shower can all help the process of getting to sleep.
Pregnancy is a wonderful time that really shouldn’t be over-shadowed by sleeping problems. Creating a serene and calming living environment and generally taking care of yourself during your pregnancy will help you to get a beneficial sleep. Sleep is an important factor during this stage as you and your baby need all the energy you can get. Therefore you need to do everything you can to get some quality, undisturbed slumber.