You’re about to join the motherhood crew. To bring a new little person into the world where suddenly, you’ll find yourself responsible for their comfort, their safety, and their happiness.
We’re not talking about a short-term gig, here. You’ll be responsible for all of these things for life.
It’s pretty overwhelming, to say the least. So it’s no surprise that all of these concerns, combined with a full bladder, a sore back and the sheer discomfort of a human being kicking you every five seconds – and I don’t just mean your partner here – can expectant mums sleep troubles.
We all need our sleep. It’s a fact. Because sleeping makes us happier, healthier, more productive and generally saner people. Whereas a lack of sleep can have all kinds of physical and mental repercussions; from diabetes to heart disease, anxiety to depression.
As a mum-to-be, your future baby’s health is bound to be priority numero uno. But don’t forget that your own health should be up there, too.
Here’s how you can combat those sleep troubles, and make your body a healthier home for bubs:
1. Turn off the electronics
When the light fades and evening falls, that’s your time to start relaxing your body and mind for the night ahead. And responding to emails/checking Facebook/binge-watching Netflix until midnight ain’t gonna cut it.
Did you know that blue-light emitting devices, like TVs, phones, and laptops can hamper your ability to sleep? Well, they do. They increase alertness, mess with your sleep patterns and basically confuse your brain as to when it should be shutting down. Plus, you’re bound to have bad dreams if Stranger Things is the last thing you see before some shut-eye.
2. Get into an evening routine
Now, more than ever is when you need some ‘you time’. You need to look after yourself. After all, the next 18 years – and likely, long after that – are going to be all about your child. So take this time to enjoy your own company!
Now that you’re free from the distraction of screens before bed, use your hour wisely. Have a long bath, using some of your favourite relaxing essential oils. Get stuck into that book you’ve been neglecting (but leave the baby ones alone – remember, this is your time!). Try a guided meditation exercise, like this body scan one, as you lie down on your bed before sleep.
All of these relaxing, sleep-inducing activities can actually strengthen your bond with your baby, who’ll automatically feel more peaceful and comforted as you settle down. But most of all, it will give you that alone time which you so badly need at this stage of your pregnancy.
3. Listen to your body
Are you waking up throughout the night needing to pee? Suddenly, you feel like you’ve aged 40 years and can’t go through the night without getting up at least twice. Don’t worry – this is completely natural. The fact is, your growing uterus has shrunk your bladder significantly. So limiting the amount you drink before bedtime can prevent too many late-night bathroom breaks.
If it’s nausea, indigestion or heartburn that’s keeping you awake, simply be more aware of what you eat in the evening! Eat small, regular meals throughout the day and have your dinner 3–4 hours before bedtime. However, since nausea can often strike an empty stomach, have a few snacks like oatcakes or wholemeal toast before settling down.
4. Invest in a decent pillow
If you’re a front or side sleeper, then the third trimester is going to be a rude awakening. Literally. Because while you’re used to feeling all curled up and secure, happily drooling your way into oblivion, suddenly you find yourself wide awake on your back, staring at the ceiling and silently cursing the ginormous bump – which you love unconditionally, of course, but still – for cutting off your sleep supply.
Good news is that you don’t have to become a starfish sleeper. (Which your partner will probably appreciate, thanks to the snoring and kicking this’ll prevent).
You can stay snugly nestled on your side if that’s what you want – all it takes is the right pillow to support you. If you’re already a back sleeper, well then one of these pillows can give you extra support and prevent back pain. Plus they’ll prevent snoring. Happy days.
Hopefully, these tips will help you to be more rested in the weeks and months leading up to your newborn. Just remember to get as much as much sleep in as you can, whether it’s during the night or in the form of daytime naps. That way, you’ll be a healthier, more energised mum when the time comes.
In the meantime, sweet dreams!
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