Why pregnant women and new mothers often struggle to sleep
Over ¾ of women sleep worse during pregnancy and new moms and pregnant women are more likely to suffer from insomnia than any other group of women.
The sleep challenge
There are a number of factors that can make sleeping during pregnancy or after birth difficult:
- Sleeping position: the growing fetus and growing belly can make it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position, in particular if you used to be a back or stomach sleeper (as side positions is recommended). Normally we move up to 50 times every night and as you get bigger shifting around in bed can also be tricky.
- Need to use the bathroom: during we need to pee more frequently for two reasons, firstly because the increased blood flowing through our bodies mean that our kidneys’ need to work harder filtering the blood. This filtering creates more urine. As the baby grows it can also pressure on our bladders creating an urge for more frequent visits to the bathroom.
- To enjoy a restorative sleep our heat rate should drop during the night, however during pregnancy the heart rate increases to pump more blood which can lower our sleep quality.
- Temperature: During pregnancy our core body temperature is slightly elevated and the hormonal changes can lead to similar effects to that of hot flashes. This doesn’t just impact women during pregnancy but also after birth, in particular when breast-feeding.
- Shortness of breath: not only does the pregnancy hormones cause our temperature to change, it can also impact our breathing making us feel short of breath. As the pregnancy processes the enlarged uterus can also pressure on our diaphragm.
- Heartburn and constipation: when pregnant our digestive system slows down leading to food staying in our stomach and intestines longer, which can cause heartburn or constipation.
- Backache and leg cramps: The extra weight we carry during pregnancy can lead to pains in our back or legs which can make sleeping more difficult as well.
After birth having your baby waking up frequently during the night naturally also pose a new sleep challenge.
Even though the saying goes ‘sleep like a baby’ babies are actually not sleeping very well often. Around one third of babies experience a disrupted sleeping pattern, this impacts not only the child but often the entire family.
The sleep solution
- Finding the right position: Some doctors recommend that women sleep on their left side during pregnancy as this keeps the uterus off our liver (which is located on the right side). It also supports a good flow of blood to our heart, fetus, uterus and kidneys. You can also experiment with a pillow between your legs or under your stomach and try supporting your lower back with a small pillow to release any pain.
- Keeping the ideal sleeping temperature: combat overheating and night sweats during pregnancy or as a new mum by keeping the bed room temperature low and by wearing temperature regulating sleepwear. Dagsmejan sleepwear is 4-8x more breathable than cotton, featherlight and offer exceptional moisture management for a better sleep, scientifically proven.
- Don’t let nausea keep you from falling asleep, eat a light dinner and a few crackers before going to bed.
- If you leg cramps wake you up, try pressing your feet hard against the wall or try standing on one leg. It can also help to stretch your calf muscles before going to bed.
- If you find that stress or anxiety is keeping you awake you can try to meet it head-on by joining a group for pregnant women or a childbirth class. More information and support can help to ease the fears.
- Review your sleep hygiene: regardless of life there are easy steps we can take to sleep better. You can read more about how to sleep better
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Find it out how Dagsmejan can help you:
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