How to Get a Good Night Sleep During Pregnancy
Using the Bathroom Again and Again and Again
You’ve finally drifted off into a peaceful sleep, when you awaken with the dire need to visit the bathroom. Frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom are common, especially as your baby grows. Your body is working to eliminate some of the extra fluid that you carry when pregnant. Also, the expanding uterus places pressure on the bladder, increasing your sense of urgency. You can try a few techniques to decrease the number of nightly bathroom runs (or waddles).
Good hydration is very important during pregnancy, so minimizing fluid intake is not an option. Be sure to drink adequate amounts of water and noncaffeinated drinks throughout the day. Try to limit how much you drink in the hour before going to bed to reduce the need to urinate during the night. Before going to sleep, visit the bathroom. Then get into bed, lie on your left side, and read, relax, or talk to your partner for about half an hour. During this time, the position of your uterus will shift and put some stress on the bladder. Get up and empty your bladder again. This can help avoid at least one potential sleep interruption (which can make a big difference in how much sleep you get).
If it’s not a full bladder waking you, it’s sure to be a “hello” jolt from your darling baby. My favorite experience in pregnancy was feeling my babies’ kicks, flips, and hiccups—during the day. Somehow, it became less special in the dark of night as I lay wide awake watching the clock tick while a dance party ensued in my belly. These bursts of fetal activity at night are common. During the day, your regular movements soothe the baby and lull her to sleep; however, when you become still at night, the baby is more likely to perk up.
Avoid high-sugar and caffeinated food and drinks before bed as these will keep you awake and may also start your baby into motion. If you choose to snack before bed, try a high-protein snack which will keep your blood sugar levels steady. Also, try not to watch the clock, which can make you feel more anxious about the precious minutes of sleep you’re missing. You can even put a positive spin on these late night awakenings. Think of it as your baby’s way of checking in to let you know she’s all right (and as good practice for sleepless nights with a newborn). Or instead of counting sheep, you can always count kicks to help you fall asleep.
All of this said, you may still contend with disrupted sleep. In the remaining weeks or months of your pregnancy, try to take advantage of any opportunity to nap or rest with your feet up during the day. If your boss suggests you go home early, or a family member offers to watch your kids for an hour, jump on the chance to rest—before you run that one errand or quickly clean the house. You may still have problems sleeping at night, but an afternoon siesta can give you a little lift to help you get through the remainder of your day.
As frustrating and draining as it can be, try not to let sleep loss put a damper on your pregnancy. You will sleep a full night again … eventually.
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