Often as pregnant women we are racing towards their due date with the full force of working a full time job, preparing a nursery, having final appointments to finalise birth and hospital plans, looking after older children, all whilst being exhausted, experiencing heart burn, back pain and little sleep! Phew!
It is amazing we have the energy to give birth once we arrive at our due date arrive. However, contrary to popular belief there are some easy to implement steps to improve our sleep during pregnancy. Here are my top 5 tips for improved maternity sleep that can be implemented today;
1. Take a Load off-Rest when you can. Yes we have heard it before but how can we do this when we are still busy during pregnancy. It really is about being proactive and asking for help. If your toddler is still sleeping during the day, take a nap or at least lay down and rest. Maybe this won’t happen every day but aim for this, 3 times a week. If you have family support, ask them or your partner to take your older child or give you a few hours or peace so you can rest on the weekend. The time is there, it is really about utilising it and being savvy with those mini pockets of time that can create space for rest and relaxation. This all helps to being as well rested as possible leading up to your labour not to mention mentally resilient for the challenges of pregnancy and birth itself.
2. Nutritional Support-Eat, eat, eat! Well not everything, but supply your body with supportive nutrient dense foods for your body and the growth of your little one. This includes; snacking regularly so your blood sugar doesn’t drop and your energy is retained through the day. Eat plenty of healthy fresh fruit and vegetables and protein sources. Avoid caffeine if possible. Drink plenty of water. Consult a Naturopath for the most optimal supplements specific for your body during this time. These may include fish oil, multi vitamin, iron and magnesium.
3. Stress and Anxiety Relief-Undertake an activity which brings pleasure or relaxation to your busy life. This may be meditation if that’s your cup of tea or Pilates, walking, swimming, podcasts or cooking. Do something daily that brings your stress relief and brings you back into your body rather than the worries of having a new baby, the labour and coping with the challenges the new addition will bring!
4. Plan during the day!-A lot of expectant mothers do their best thinking at night hence the insomnia we experience especially during pregnancy. But how about we flip this and do our planning during the day, so we can do our resting at night! Genius! Make a list of the things that are worrying you, the things you need to do before the baby comes-this week, this month and ongoing. Do this during one of your quiet times when there is no one around, so you really plan and strategize and get as much “worrying out” as you can during this time, so it doesn’t impact your sleeping at night. In addition, you might want to get a workbook or journal and write all your thoughts and worries about the pregnancy or birth just before bedtime.
5. Optimise Sleep Environment-What supportive measures do you have in place in your bedroom or bed? What do you need to eliminate or bring into the situation to create the best scenario for sleep? Environment is key when sleep is involved. We need to be completely comfortable to sleep, its simple! Maybe you need to heat the room slightly, change the bedding or bring in a fan in summer as the heat is affecting your sleep. This might mean incorporating a pregnancy pillow to support your lower back, do you need to wear ear plugs to stop the neighbours barking dogs or noisy neighbours, kicking your partner out of the bed because you need more room, they snore or your tossing and turning affects them. It is not the end of the world if you ask them to sleep somewhere else for a short period so you can optimise your sleep environment. Perhaps your pets sleep on your bed and your toddler is still sharing your bed, but this is not working for you any more! (enter-The Holistic Sleep Project!). Think about what is disturbing or preventing you from sleep in your sleep environment and make the changes today!
The Holistic Sleep Project