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Snoozing Through Your Pregnancy - Tips and Tricks

If someone had said at the beginning of your pregnancy that you'd find falling asleep difficult, you'd have laughed at them right? The time when making it to the 10 or 11pm news seemed like a major feat. Now, you're made it through the first trimester and your body is making room for the little one to grow and he/she is beginning to make their presence known in more ways than one. The lack of sleep can make you cranky and can have physical effects like headaches and body fatigue. What's an already hormonal mama-to-be to do? First, try to relax and read on for some helpful tips to get you a little more comfort and hopefully a lot more ZZZZZ's.

Establish some routines:

Do you vary your bedtime and get up at different times each day? Pregnant or not, the body relies on rhythm and rhythm requires a routine. The first routine is to try going to bed each night at the same time and set your alarm clock for the same time each morning. Easy to do, but the key is to actually get out of bed when the alarm goes off. (Yup, ignore the snooze button.) You can do it. It will help adjust the body's clock and hopefully your body will be tired when it's supposed to be.

Exercise is the next routine to add to your day. Remember to first check with your doctor before beginning, or even continuing any exercise that was performed pre-pregnancy. Once the okay is given, note that 20-30 minutes of daily exercise will keep the body fit (also helpful for post-pregnancy workouts), and will result in a tired body that will want to sleep. (I bet you thought pregnancy was going to be a break from the gym.)

Drink plenty of fluids - but try to limit them to daytime hours (how many times do you have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom?), and try to eliminate the caffeinated beverages. If you can't eliminate them, make sure they have enough time to exit your system before you want to attempt sleep.

Spend 30-45minutes immediately before bedtime relaxing. Take a relaxing bath or shower, burn a pleasantly scented candle, and/or read a book imply for pleasure. Avoid anything stressful, vigorous, or too mentally stimulating.

Your body:

Since your body is NOT your own right now, the goal is to be able to share the space amicably with your baby. If he/she seems to have an opposite schedule than yours, congratulate yourself. You've done a good job! Your daily active lifestyle lulls baby to sleep, and when you settle down to relax your baby has room, is rested and is ready to party. Try listening to calming music and gently massaging your belly to get Junior to relax with you. A nature sounds machine may work wonders for both of you. In fact, using one through pregnancy and then moving it into the baby's room after birth may help you get more sleep then too. He/she will be used to the sounds and may find it just as soothing post-pregnancy.

Can you say heartburn? Heartburn affects more than 50% of all pregnant women. (Bet that was one club you didn't want to join.) Heartburn is merely the result of hormones relaxing too many things internally for them to function optimally, while baby is crowding organs and leaving less room for food to properly digest. To help minimize this, eat at least two hours prior to going to bed. Also do not drink fluids right before trying to sleep, as they may exacerbate things. A good trick is to sleep on an incline to keep your upper body elevated which will help stop acid from backing up into the esophagus. If desperation results, check with your doctor to see if an antacid can be taken.

Your Mind:

The mind IS a terrible thing to waste, and a difficult thing to quiet down; especially while pregnant. The lists of everything to buy, decorate, remember, etc. goes on and on. But, that's why there's paper! Write it down and stop dwelling on it. Also, it may help to join a local pregnant moms group. It helps to discuss your thoughts and fears with others who are in the same boat. Simply knowing that you are not alone may do a remarkable job of easing the mind.

Your Sleep Environment:

What's it like in your bedroom? (No details, please!) Is it warm/cool enough? Is it relaxing? etc. The environment of your bedroom is a key factor in how well you will sleep. Adjusting the climate or lighting could do the trick. Also, is your mattress too soft or too firm? Either will make you uncomfortable and probably extra cranky when endured for nine months. Select a mattress that feels good to you. Now that the climate is right and the mattress is perfect, if you still can't sleep - have you tried rolling over? During pregnancy it is suggested that moms sleep on their left sides. The right side has a major artery and when lying on that side can restrict blood flow. Ready? Assume the position - the recovery position that is. Lie on your left side with your left leg straight and your right leg bent at the knee. Placing a pillow under the bent knee will also help relieve pressure. This position has helped many a pregnant woman find comfort.

If you try all of these tips and tricks and still can't sleep, get up and do something instead of wallowing in your state of sleeplessness. Read, watch television, address envelopes for birth announcements, or do some other activity that you probably won't have time for once baby arrives. You'll eventually get sleepy.

If all else fails and you're able, try getting into the habit of resting in little snippets during the day. It's the one tip that most new mothers eventually see the wisdom in. If you get into the habit of a nap during the day while pregnant, it'll be easier for you to sleep while your newborn sleeps when he/she arrives.

Additional Resources:
   • Remedies for Pregnancy Discomforts

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