Fitful Sleep in Pregnancy
We all know that a lack of sleep is incredibly frustrating and affects our mood and concentration.
This can be further exacerbated during pregnancy as future lifestyle changes consume our thoughts
and physical growth creates discomfort and restricts our sleeping positions. I witness this on a daily
basis with my pregnant patients and find these few suggestions helpful.
When sleeping in side-lying, place a pillow/body pillow between the knees and ankles to
keep the top leg parallel to the bed. This will keep the pelvis neutral and reduce back pain. A
pillow behind your back and abdomen may also be helpful for support.
Fold a thinner pillow in half and hug this under the top arm. This allows the shoulders and
chest some more space for comfort and breathing and may also reduce wrist and hand
Have a warm bath or shower before bed to assist relaxation. Increasing the blood flow to the
periphery can reduce physical symptoms such as restless legs and aid in general mental
Limit fluids later in the evening to reduce the need to go to the toilet overnight.
Avoid heavy meals, spicy and acidic foods in the evening if you are experiencing reflux
Perform some gentle Yoga or stretching in the evening to increase circulation and muscle
relaxation and loosen tight tissues from your daily demands.
Listen to a relaxation app on your phone to calm your thoughts, practice diaphragmatic
breathing and reduce brain chatter.
Practice pelvic floor exercises before sleep to focus the mind on body awareness and
Get out of bed and read or do another relaxing task you enjoy for 20 minutes to reset your
sleep clock, then return to bed.
Exercise regularly during the week. Aim for 30 minutes, five times per week of low impact
exercise such as walking or swimming. This will improve comfort throughout your pregnancy
and assist sleep.
Good luck for a restful sleep!
Photo Credit: Ecomama USA