Where do you start with how to sleep pregnant? Well, sleeping while pregnant is important and fraught with difficulties- from being too hot to being uncomfortable. Luckily, there are many things you can do or get to help support and comfort you so you can sleep well during your pregnancy.
Things You Can Do to Sleep Better While Pregnant
You can do a few things during the day that will set your body up to sleep better later in the night.
Setting the Mood
Make your bedroom dark, quiet, and relaxing. This will help create the perfect environment. Try to cut screen time off at least 30 minutes before sleeping, and work to start a sleep schedule. Sleep schedules will be very useful during pregnancy to get as much rest as possible for later when a sleep schedule is impossible to maintain.
Another important consideration is to use your bed only for sleeping and intimacy; this will signal to your mind and body that the bed is only for these two things, and getting in means one of the two is about to happen. Your body will start preparing for one of these events whenever you crawl into bed.
Burning off energy and moving your body during the day will make sleeping much easier. In addition, regular physical activity (like walks, swimming, or low-impact exercise as recommended by your doctor) can help you sleep better and has a plethora of benefits for you and your baby.
Heartburn during pregnancy is common, but there are things you can do to limit it. Eat small, frequent meals, and don’t eat three hours before bedtime. Another hack is to sleep on your left side with your head elevated.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Trust us; you'll need them. Learning them through pre-natal classes and readings and practicing them when you have the mental space to do that is a great way to help yourself sleep.
Find a Great Pregnancy Pillow
Pregnancy pillows are a great tool for making your body as comfortable as possible during pregnancy. You may need more support with added weight, symptoms, and a changing body. A pregnancy pillow can provide that. We go into more detail about finding the perfect pregnancy pillow later.
How to Sleep Pregnant: Recommended Sleep Position
Favor Your Side
Although everyone sleeps on different sides of their body according to what's most comfortable, a sleeping position is recommended for pregnant people. Sleeping on your side might help you comfortably fall asleep since it puts the added weight of your belly on the mattress or pillows instead of your organs (like your bladder), spine, and back muscles.
Most doctors suggest sleeping on the left side specifically because it's thought to protect your liver while increasing blood flow to your heart, fetus, uterus, and kidneys. Of course, you might still end up rolling over onto your back; if you do, it's okay. It's simply recommended that you try to favor your side during pregnancy. A great way to do this is to use a pregnancy pillow in an alphabet shape (such as a U-shape, C-shape, or J-shape) to prop you up and keep you in place on your side.
Another great tip is to try bending your knees. Bending your knees and bringing them higher and closer to your chest will help distribute your weight better and promote healthy circulation.
How to Sleep Pregnant: Tips for Sleeping on Your Side
If you’re not normally a side sleeper or are finding you’re still uncomfortable when on your side, there are a few things you can do to try to relieve pressure and be more comfortable.
- Put a pillow under your belly or between your legs.
- Use a rolled-up blanket at the base of your back to relieve pressure.
- Try a foam or egg-crate mattress pad to relieve pressure on your hips.
- Use a pregnancy pillow to do any or all of these things and better support your body.
Can You Sleep on Your Back During Pregnancy?
While there are no hard and fast rules about sleeping on your back while pregnant, some experts recommend avoiding sleeping on your back during the second and third trimesters. This is because sleeping like this rests the entire weight of the uterus and baby on your back, intestines, and inferior vena cava (the main vein that carries back to your heart from your lower body). Spending a prolonged amount of time on your back is thought to potentially cause issues for those things.
However, we're not alarmists here, and we don't want you to think that something terrible will happen if you wake up on your back. Most people move positions during the night, and rolling onto your back is normal. Waking up might even be your body's sign that it's time to switch positions a little more mindfully and roll onto your side.
How to Sleep Pregnant: Find a Great Pregnancy Pillow
Pregnancy pillows are essential for setting your body up to be more comfortable during pregnancy. They help support you in all the places you need and can help you sleep on your side instead of your back. Many pregnant people swear by them and say they helped make pregnant sleeping bearable. There are a few things you can look for in a pregnancy pillow to ensure you get the perfect one for you.
Pregnancy pillows range from small, inexpensive wedges to massive full-body pillows that give 360-degree support. The amount of space you have and the support you'll need during pregnancy will help determine the size of the best pregnancy pillow you use.
Ask yourself some questions to figure out what size you need, such as:
- Do you need support for specific spots or your whole body?
- How big is your bed, and do you share it?
- Where do you need support?
- Are you a roller, or do you primarily sleep on your back?
- Do you need to travel with the pillow, and do you have a place to store it?
The shape of the pregnancy pillow will determine what you can use it for and how much support you’ll get. They range from spot-specific support to 360-degree support.
- Wedge- Either triangle or crescent-shaped, they wedge in underneath your body to provide support to a specific spot (such as under your belly or back).
- Bean- Similar to a wedge, this one is shaped like a bean and targets a specific spot.
- Straight Tube- Full-length body best pillows; these tubes will support the front of your body. Ideal for sleeping on your side, you can throw a leg over and a leg under the pillow for optimal cuddling.
- Alphabet Shapes
- U-Shape- Covers you on all sides with an opening at the feet. Perfect for supporting your back and belly at the same time, this pillow is great for rollers because you don’t have to switch the side it’s on.
- C-Shape- This shape supports almost everything, from the back to the ankles. Many pregnant people use the opening of the C for their bellies, although you can choose to do it differently. This one will have to switch sides if you roll while you sleep.
- J-Shape-These take up less room, supporting either your back or belly. The curved part fits great under your head or between your legs.
Sleep Better Pregnant
Although pregnancy can be uncomfortable for your body at points, sleeping is your time to rest, relax, and rejuvenate. Finding ways to sleep better while pregnant will help you have a happier pregnancy.