Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tips for Sleep During Pregnancy

  • Keep high protein food by the bed. Most of the time when I'm tossing and turning at 4 a.m., it's because I'm hungry. I've found plain almonds do wonders and if you soak them in water overnight, they are even better for you and easier to digest. I'm also a fan of pre-made protein smoothies or high protein snack bars. I keep my partner awake chomping on almonds in the dark and I often find a stray nut in my pillow in the morning... but it is worth it to wake up without nausea and be able to function (at least for a few hours).
  • Catnaps do wonders. Some afternoons I'm so tired that I swear I could sleep for hours, and if unchecked I probably would...only to find myself wide awake again at night. Lying down for 20 minutes seems to do the trick (set an alarm!) and allows me to push through the afternoon and fall asleep at a decent hour at night. If you're at work and can find a place to close your eyes for 20 minutes, even if you don't fully fall asleep, your productivity will increase when you return, making the break worth it (at least that's what you should tell your boss ☺). If napping at work is not possible, then try getting one in before your shift or right afterward.
  • Light exercise...Ugh! If you're like me, fatigue and nausea make exercise sound like torture right now. But every doctor and midwife recommends it, so I fought the urge to lie around like a sack of potatoes and tried it. Turns out, it actually makes you feel better and less lethargic! Even a 15-minute walk will bring up your energy and can help with sleep...and light exercise will get all those hormones moving through your body instead of just sitting there making you sick, so your nausea improves too!
  • Let go of the "Shoulds". One of the hardest parts of managing pregnancy sleep is the societal norms that dictate what we "should" do. Who says you can't go to bed at 6:30pm? We are conditioned to feel that napping every afternoon makes us lazy and unproductive, but in reality its what your body needs and is asking for. This is a special time in your life and it requires special circumstances...so don't listen to anyone else's "shoulds". Tune into your body's needs instead and sleep when you can. From what I understand, as soon as that baby is born it stops being all about us and we are going to need all the sleep we can get!