From fall­ing asleep with your face in the ce­real bowl in the early weeks of preg­nancy, to preg­nancy-in­duced in­som­nia to­wards the third trimester, sleep dur­ing preg­nancy is off kil­ter. Here’s what to do to help, writes Tina Otte

Your Pregnancy - - Pregnancy Files -

AF­TER THE INI­TIAL BURST of nat­u­ral lethargy that the first trimester brings, you would ex­pect that the big­ger your baby gets, the more de­mands are placed on your body, and that the ex­treme ex­haus­tion that you feel at the end of a day would mean that when your head hits the pil­low, it would be lights out for you and a night of re­ally good sleep. In­stead you have trou­ble fall­ing asleep and stay­ing asleep. This oc­curs for all sorts of rea­sons. As your baby and your belly grows, your blad­der gets squished and squashed and your trips to the loo be­come more fre­quent. Also, it gets harder to stay com­fort­able as your baby “bops” you one fre­quently through the night. Your baby’s sleep cy­cles sel­dom match yours! Sore joints and hot flushes don’t help your sit­u­a­tion and thoughts of the up­com­ing birth and how you are ever go­ing to be a good enough mother to this baby gives you night­mares. Just know – you’re in good com­pany! It’s ex­tremely rare for a preg­nant woman to sleep through the night. TIPS FOR NIGHT TIME WAK­ING ■ CRE­ATE A PRE-SLEEP RIT­UAL Per­haps this in­cludes hav­ing a warm bath and pam­per­ing your body and your skin with lo­tions and sweet-smelling oils. Per­haps it’s a light shower to cool you down. Lis­ten­ing to sooth­ing, gen­tle music may help you un­wind, as will a good book (one that has noth­ing to do with pre­par­ing for birth or par­ent­ing). ■ CHILLAX! Your core temperature is higher when you’re preg­nant, so make sure you can lower the temperature in your room. Open win­dows for good ven­ti­la­tion or use a fan. Wear py­ja­mas that al­low your skin to breathe. And avoid hot baths! ■ USE A HUMIDIFIER Keep­ing the air in your room moist can de­crease your si­nus con­ges­tion and preg­nancy snor­ing.


Some in-utero ba­bies be­come more ac­tive when you eat spicy or sug­ary foods. If this is the case, avoid those at night­time – oth­er­wise your baby will put on her danc­ing shoes!


Stack your pil­lows so that your head is in the nat­u­ral ex­ten­sion of your spine. Use pil­lows to sup­port your head, tummy, hips (pil­low be­tween your knees) and back.


Drink a cup of milk with a spoon of honey, or a turkey sand­wich be­fore bed or when hunger pangs strike in the night and you can’t get back to sleep. Milk and turkey both con­tain L-tryp­to­phan, a sleep-in­duc­ing amino acid.


Use those pil­lows to main­tain your po­si­tion in a more up­right fashion.


If you wake up and can’t get back to sleep, fo­cus on full breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Soften your body with each out­ward breath. Lis­ten to the noises of the night and let the still­ness of the night lull you back to sleep.


Switch off your TV at least an hour be­fore bed­time, and stop scrolling through your phone. Re­search shows that the blue light from screens keeps you awake for longer.


and sleep in when­ever you can.


Block-out cur­tains can help keep your room re­ally dark, so when you move into arousal sleep, it will be much eas­ier to go back to sleep if there are no out­side lights both­er­ing you!


Avoid do­ing a vig­or­ous work­out be­fore bed. This can send your body into over­drive. Try to have your ex­er­cise done be­fore 7pm.


It works on our lim­bic (emo­tional) sys­tem and us­ing es­sen­tial oils may be­come part of your pre-sleep rou­tine, ei­ther in your bath­wa­ter, on your pulse points or a dab under your nose. There are many oils that are safe to use from the sec­ond half of your preg­nancy and these in­clude, laven­der, chamomile, rose blend, gera­nium and any of the citrus oils. Be sure to check this out with an aro­mather­a­pist first! Some of these oils can help dur­ing labour as well. Other causes of fa­tigue dur­ing preg­nancy in­clude anaemia, lower blood pres­sure and short­ness of breath, poor nu­tri­tion, low iron re­serves and stress and ten­sion. Should you be suf­fer­ing de­bil­i­tat­ing fa­tigue, please dis­cuss this with your doc­tor!

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