Sleep is a common topic of conversation among me and my girlfriends these days. While most of it revolves around toddler sleep – the ever-changing naptimes, not-so-smooth adjustments to daylight saving time, etc. – we also like to share sleep-related tips since so many of us seem to struggle with our own sleep now that we have kids.
I reached out to girlfriends from different stages of my life who have experiences pregnancy-related sleep struggles for a glimpse into what small changes made a difference for women who have been through pregnancy-related sleep struggles and I’ve compiled them here to share with you today as part of my fourth blog post collaboration with Sleep Number this year!
How to Sleep Better During Pregnancy: Tips from Women Who Have Been There
First, I want to start with a couple of my own tips. I’m sure you guys won’t be surprised by some of these if you were a PBF reader throughout my pregnancy in 2015.
- Invest in a Pregnancy Body Pillow (and do so before you think you need it)
As Sadie can attest, pregnancy pillows are AMAZING.
Thankfully my wonderful friend Gina sent me a pregnancy body pillow when I first told her I was pregnant. Weeks before my belly really popped, I found myself extremely uncomfortable at night. It wasn’t until I remembered Gina’s gift that I unpacked the pillow and a serious love affair began. There’s something magical about an extra long pregnancy body pillow and the way the pillow’s shape allows you to take pressure off your hips, support your back or belly and maneuver it around until you find a position that suits you and your personal comfort level.
- Stay Active
I tried really hard to keep up with my usual fitness routine when I was pregnant. Of course I adjusted my workouts and listened to my body (especially during the four weeks when couldn’t walk without stabbing sacroiliac pain) but I really think staying active helped me sleep better at night and feel better mentally throughout the day as well. There were weeks when my workouts were sitting on a recumbent bike and reading a magazine but I believe that even the simple motion of moving my legs had a positive impact on my overall sleep and wellbeing.
- Keep Your Bedroom Cool and Comfortable
Oooh pregnancy sweats! When I think back on my pregnancy one of the first things I think about is how HOT I was all the time. I swear I sweat more in the nine months I had Chase in my belly than I did in my whole life. It’s hard to feel comfortable when you feel like you can’t stop sweating but keeping our bedroom cooler than usual quickly became necessary for my comfort level. (The ideal sleep temperature is somewhere between 65 and 68 degrees.)
There’s also no denying that a comfortable mattress makes a huge difference. In a addition to my sacroiliac joint pain, I felt a lot of pressure on my hips when I was pregnant. My body pillow absolutely helped alleviate this pain a bit but I cannot help but wonder if our mattress was too firm. Earlier this year we swapped our old mattress for a Sleep Number mattress and I was able to adjust my side of the bed to make it softer and more comfortable on my hips while Ryan could leave his side very firm.
It was really cool to be able to watch the pressure on my hips release as I changed my Sleep Number setting. Relief! The DualAir™ technology in our bed allows me and Ryan to adjust our sides of the bed to our personal comfort level and since we like very opposite levels of firmness, it’s been a game changer for us! Oh how I wish I had this during pregnancy!
And now for tips from some of my girlfriends! (A quick note: Please, please do not implement any tips that may call for supplementation or the use of essential oils without consulting your doctor.)
When I was having crazy sleep issues, my naturopath told me to take a Himalayan salt + Epsom salt bath. After my daughter was born, my sodium levels were low which can apparently affect sleep which was really interesting to me, too. – C
I battled heartburn so I watched what I ate and kept Tums right next to my bed. I also slept in an almost-seated position on a pile of pillows. – L
I totally cut out out all caffeine and processed sweets. Eliminating processed foods really helped me feel great and I think it also helped me sleep better. – K
A magnesium supplement helped me for sure! I also use the Wellness Mama’s spray before bed. And diffusing lavender essential oil helped me! – D
My husband gave me a foot massage every night! LOL! I swear it helped me relax! – L
Making sure I drank a lot of water earlier in the day so I didn’t have to wake up every hour to pee at night helped… a little. I still feel like I was up all the time just to go to the bathroom! – D
Don’t look at the clock when you wake up! That will only stress you out. – M
I napped whenever possible during the day. Sneaking in 20-30 minutes naps made a big difference for me for my overall energy levels. – K
I did prenatal yoga weekly and got monthly prenatal massages. Both seemed to help not only with sleep but with pregnancy aches and pains, too. – E
My midwife had me take Natural Calm. It’s a magnesium drink. I still take it every night! – M
I had insomnia and unfortunately time was really the only cure for me. I would encourage women to talk to their doctors about insomnia because there are some things that can help when it gets really bad. I did seem to sleep better when I didn’t watch TV or look at my phone before bed though. And reading a book with a candle helped me feel more relaxed. – M
I think staying active during pregnancy is crucial. Helps keep mama and baby healthy – and tired! – L
I tried hard not to look at my phone in the middle of the night. – L
Question of the Day
- For my pregnant/mama friends: Did you experience sleep struggles during pregnancy? Was there anything you did during pregnancy to help with sleep struggles?
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Sleep Number. Thank you so much for your support! I truly appreciate it very much!