Sleep and Pregnancy: What You Should Know
The physical, emotional and hormonal changes you experience during pregnancy can have drastic effects on your sleep patterns. While lack of sleep during pregnancy is to be expected, it’s important to understand the implications on your health and wellbeing, and take the necessary steps to get quality sleep each night.
The Impact of Sleep on Pregnancy
Sleep is essential for overall health, and this is doubly true during pregnancy. Pregnant women require 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to function at peak performance, however that is usually not the case. During pregnancy, insomnia, sleep deprivation and disturbed sleep are common, resulting in fatigue, difficulty concentrating and a weakened immune system.
Short-term effects can include decreased libido, impaired memory and mood swings. More serious long-term effects include increased risks for miscarriage and preterm delivery, as well as an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and depression.
Tips to Get Good Sleep During Pregnancy
Good sleep practices can go a long way in getting quality shut-eye during pregnancy. The following tips will help you get the most restful sleep:
- Establish a routine: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
- Cut down on caffeine and alcohol: While it’s okay to have a cup of caffeinated coffee or tea in the morning and a glass of wine occasionally, it should be avoided closer to bedtime.
- Exercise regularly: Moderate exercise during the day can help reduce insomnia and promote regular sleep patterns.
- Make sure your sleeping environment is comfortable: Keep your bedroom comfortable and dark; use a white noise machine to reduce distractions.
- Avoid naps during the day: Napping during the day can disrupt night-time sleep.
- Manage stress and anxiety: Meditation and yoga can be helpful in managing stress and anxiety, which can interfere with good sleep.
Understanding the importance of sleep during your pregnancy and taking steps to maintain a regular sleep schedule is essential for your health and wellbeing. By cutting out caffeine, avoiding alcohol and naps, creating a comfortable sleeping environment and managing stress and anxiety, you can ensure that you get the quality sleep you need each night.