You’ve been warned about sleepless nights with a newborn, but pregnancy insomnia can leave some women just as exhausted. With a round belly and the anxiety of being this close to delivery, home-stretchers often suffer the most. (Insomnia may be nature’s way of prepping us for the sleep loss that comes after delivery, but we want you to clock the most zz’s while you can.) Try these tips before you hit the sheets next for a better night’s rest.
Skip liquids right before bed
Getting up to go to the bathroom four times a night? You can thank pregnancy hormones and that growing baby pressing on your bladder. While you don’t want to cut back on fluids in general, you can front load your intake so that you’re drinking less an hour or two before bedtime. Tip: try setting an alarm to remind yourself.
Have a bedtime snack
If you’re already having a hard time falling asleep with a bump, a growling stomach won’t help. A small snack before bed can hold you over, just be sure to stick with bland, light foods (think: crackers, fruit, or dry cereal) to avoid feeling uncomfortable.
Avoid heartburn triggers
Third trimester heartburn is no joke—spicy foods, tomato-based sauces, large portions, and lying down after dinner can all leave you reaching for the Tums. Small, frequent meals and easy to digest liquids (like soups and smoothies) can help ease up your symptoms.
Start a relaxation ritual
Having a hard time turning off your brain or quieting all those anxious pregnancy-related worries before bed? Try lighting a candle, reading something lighthearted, applying a face mask, or watching an old sitcom to relax. Or wind down with warmth: take a bath before you hit the sheets or apply a heating pad to your back while practicing some progressive muscle relaxation.
Aside from having major health benefits and helping to prep your body for labor, exercising during pregnancy can help you fall and stay asleep better. If you’re struggling with restless leg syndrome (the feeling of cramps, aches, or the urge to move your legs at rest, a common side effect of pregnancy), exercise can relieve those symptoms, too. Exercise doesn’t have to be intense—a walk outside or quick prenatal yoga session counts. (As always, check with your doc about what’s safe for you.)
Invest in a pregnancy pillow
If you toss and turn while trying to sleep on your side (or you’re up at night dealing with hip and back pain) a full body pregnancy pillow can prop and cradle you into a cozy position for better sleep. Try a C-shaped pillow like the Leachco Snoogle—it wraps around your head and tucks in between your legs (similar to spooning with your partner, only softer).
We want to hear from you! How did you manage to get more sleep in your third trimester?