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Insomnia During Pregnancy and Will It Harm Your Baby? If you’re pregnant and having difficulty getting a good night’s sleep, you’re not alone. By Jackie Edwards
The National Sleep Foundation’s Women and Sleep Poll reveals that 84% of pregnant women are more likely to have sleep problems at least a few nights a week. Fortunately, there are several ways to get better sleep, and it doesn’t involve taking pills, which may harm your baby.
What happens when pregnant women don’t get enough sleep?
Apart from feeling lethargic, irritable, and tired throughout the day, not having enough sleep may also pose health risks for you and your baby. A research has shown that low birth weight and preterm births are linked to a pregnant woman’s lack of sleep. Moreover, another study has shown that first-time moms who got less than six hours a day of sleep at night were 4.5 times more likely to have a C-section, and the average length of labor was 10 hours more or longer compared with first-time mothers who slept seven hours or more. Expecting mothers are advised to sleep for more than eight hours to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Here’s how you can get better sleep the natural way.
Add more magnesium to your diet
Studies have shown that a diet rich in magnesium can promote better sleep. It acts as a natural muscle relaxant so you drift off to sleep easily. Magnesium-rich foods include nuts, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, and milk. Try including these foods in your daily diet and have a glass of warm milk at night as part of your bedtime routine.
Watch your caffeine intake
Your pregnancy may have encouraged you to give up your daily cup of coffee, but other beverages that you consume may still contain large amounts of caffeine which can make it difficult to fall asleep. Avoid caffeinated teas, sodas, and chocolate drinks especially in the late afternoon or in the evening. Consider making the switch to beverages without caffeine, such as peppermint or ginger tea, or water flavored with slices of cucumber, lemon, or strawberries.
Have a relaxing bedtime routine
Most pregnant women need to unwind with a relaxing bedtime routine to be able to sleep better. Take a warm shower or a bath, wear comfortable sleepwear, and read a book or write in your journal before turning in for the night. If you feel a bit hungry, have a light snack such as a banana or a piece of toast with a glass of milk. Make your bed as comfortable and inviting as possible with soft and clean sheets, supportive pillows, and a warm blanket. Do your bedtime routine at a reasonable hour every night to help you sleep better.
Get some exercise
Women who don’t have a high-risk pregnancy are often advised to have some form of physical activity while expecting. Getting some exercise can help improve quality of sleep, and it can also help you feel rested when you wake up. Opt to do exercises that can raise your heart rate and get your muscles engaged, such as jogging, walking, Pilates, pregnancy yoga, aerobics, or swimming. Try to workout in the morning or in the afternoon as exercising in the evening can make you feel too energized and unable to fall sleep sooner.
Unplug at least two hours before going to sleep
Light can interfere with your sleep cycle, so it’s advisable to dim the lights in your bedroom before going to sleep. You should also avoid using your computer or watching the news before you go to bed because you’ll want to avoid seeing any upsetting news or images that can stress you out before bedtime. Don’t keep your phone by your bedside – you’ll only be tempted to check your text messages, social media feeds, and the like, which will disrupt your bedtime routine.
Lack of sleep can be one of the issues that most pregnant women will have to deal with, but it’s one thing that can be easily remedied the natural way.
Follow any of these tips to help you sleep better and have a healthy and happy pregnancy.