Sleep deprivation has many adverse effects on our body and brain. Indeed, sleep is a big and important part of everyone’s life. We’re all familiar with it. When sleep is so significant for all of us, it is certainly, even more, important for pregnant women. How much you sleep during pregnancy and the sleeping position also affects the development of your baby. Here are sleep tips for pregnancy and the importance of sleep for pregnant women. So hang on until the end of the article for key takeaways and to learn all the tips.
Everyone expects that it’ll be harder to get a good night’s rest after their baby arrives. But who would’ve guessed you’re going to be sleep-deprived at the time of pregnancy itself? For many women, it can be a time of severe sleep disorders, even for those who never had problems sleeping.
The main reason causing sleep difficulties is the increasing size of the fetus, which makes it almost impossible to find a comfortable sleeping position. Some other reasons may be the need to urinate frequently, back pain, breast tenderness, heartburn, nausea or vomiting, cramps and even stress-related causes, such as feeling anxious about labor and delivery.
Research done at the University of Pittsburgh’s Medical Center found a connection between the quality and quantity of pregnant women’s sleep and complications at birth, including low birth weight and pre-term births.
“Similar to the advice that a pregnant woman should be “eating for two,” health professionals should also be emphasizing the importance of “sleeping for two” during prenatal visits.”, said Kathy Lee, a professor of nursing at the University of California San Francisco.
There is even a study that sleep affects the duration of labor. The study was conducted on 131 women during the ninth month of their pregnancy.
The results showed that women who sleep less than six hours per night had longer average labor of 29 hours. On the other hand, women who had 7 or more hours of sleep per night had average labor of 17.7 hours.
How To Get a Good Night’s Sleep During Pregnancy?
1. Find a Good Sleeping Position
During pregnancy, it may seem impossible to find a comfortable position to sleep in. The way you used to sleep before will no longer work when you’re pregnant. The best sleeping position, in this case, is SOS (sleep on side).
Sleeping on the left side, in particular, will allow the best blood flow and increase the number of nutrients that reach the baby.
The SOS position especially helps if you’re having problems with back pain, and you can try placing a pillow under the abdomen too. This may also be useful if you’re experiencing shortness of breath and heartburn.
2. Have a Bedtime Routine
One of the healthiest habits you can practice is taking some time at the end of the day to do things that will relieve the stress you bottled up and calm your mind. Having a sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time, could help you regulate your body’s clock.
How long your bedtime routine should be is up to you.
You can start by turning off all the electronic devices you use. Your TV, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, everything! The reason for this is the blue light they emit can interfere with your sleep.
Some of your daily habits can be draining your energy. Scientific studies have shown that blue light is especially aggressive in triggering sleeplessness because it suppresses melatonin production, influences circadian rhythms and over time puts your health at risk.
Instead of spending time on your phone, try to relax with a good book in bed.
Other than that, bringing the temperature of the room down can be helpful, because our bodies associate a lowering temperature with a signal for sleep. The suggested bedroom temperature for optimal sleep should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 to 19 degrees Celsius.
You should customize your bedtime routine according to your preference, so if you find taking a bath relaxing, or doing yoga, incorporate that into your sleeping ritual. You can also use white noise apps, such as Coffitivity, WhiteNoise or Jinglow.
You need to understand the importance of meditation for a happy and content life.
Meditation has been a lifestyle practiced in India thousands of years ago. The “mind-calming practice that focuses on breathing and awareness of the present moment” has been revealed to decrease fatigue, anxiety, depression and sleep disorders.
“Even though the body is at rest, the mind cannot unwind,” says Dr. Raja Amarnath, a senior consultant at Apollo Hospitals.
According to Amarnath, this is the primary cause of stress that leads to sleep disturbances. She continues by saying that training our minds to meditate will largely help in creating a balanced state within, thus removing stress.
All you have to do is sit down and get comfortable. When you notice your mind has wandered off, take a deep breath and label it “thought,” then return your attention to the present moment.
An app that can help you get started with meditation is Jinglow. It has hundreds of mindfulness exercises, and it even allows you to record your own voice and match it with background sounds.
4. Cut out caffeinated drinks
People consume caffeine on a day-to-day basis in coffee, cocoa, tea, and soft drinks, thus getting the name “the most popular drug in the world.” The most apparent effect of caffeine is that it gets people’s blood moving and makes them feel energized, but on the downside, it can make it hard for you to fall asleep.
Caffeine can delay the timing of your body clock and reduce the amount of deep sleep that you enjoy.
A study by Michigan’s Henry Ford Hospital’s Sleep Disorders & Research Center and Wayne State College of Medicine analyzed the effects of caffeine consumption at different lengths of time before going to bed. What they found is that caffeine consumed even 6 hours before bedtime resulted in significantly diminished sleep quality and sleep quantity.
For good sleep, restrict any intake of caffeine to the morning or early afternoon. It depends on your sleep schedule, but the best recommended time to stop caffeine consumption is 2 pm.
What are your thoughts on the importance of sleep? Share it with us in the comments below. You can also stay tuned to our newsletter by subscribing to us.
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