We talk a lot about sleep issues for new mothers, as it becomes difficult to get enough shut eye with the new bundle of joy to take care of. But new research suggests we should also be paying more attention to the sleep health of expectant mothers.
Pregnancy can pose serious challenges to sleeping well. Poor quality and not enough sleep are common during pregnancy, many women experience fragmented sleep and symptoms of insomnia. Even women who are generally sound sleepers find that during pregnancy they have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.
Women face particular challenges to sleep during pregnancy, sleep problems and sleep disorders are more likely to occur during pregnancy. Women are more at risk for restless leg syndrome, sleep disordered breathing and insomnia during pregnancy. In a National Sleep Foundation poll, 78% of women reported experiencing more disrupted sleep during pregnancy than when not pregnant.
There are several factors that can contribute to difficulty in sleeping during pregnancy:
- Hormonal changes – Pregnancy is accompanied by many hormonal shifts, which change sleep cycles and can disrupt sleep. High levels of progesterone can cause respiratory changes that disrupt sleep, as well as more sleepiness during the day, leaving women unusually wakeful at night. Fluctuating levels of estrogen also cause physiological changes that interfere with sleep.
- Pain and discomfort – Lower back pain, nausea, heartburn and other physical discomforts can often interfere with sleep. Having to get up to go to the bathroom frequently throughout the night is another common hazard to sleep during pregnancy.
- Anxiety and depression – Pregnancy can be a wonderful and exciting time of life. Still, Women also experience anxiety and stress about the pregnancy itself as well as about managing all the aspects of their lives alongside the impending arrival of a new baby. Feeling anxious can make falling asleep and staying asleep more difficult. If the pregnant woman is also feeling depressed, it can further interfere with good sleep.
Researchers have found links between both the quality and quantity of pregnant women’s sleep and complications at birth, including low birth weight and pre-term births. The link between birth complications and expectant mothers’ sleep appears to be in disruptions to normal immune system function, caused by insufficient and low-quality sleep.
There has been a recent interesting study about the relation between relation between hours of sleep and the labour hours. It has been observed that pregnant women, who got below six hours of sleep on an average during their first trimester, happened to experience longer hours of labor as compared to women who got over seven hours of sleep on an average. This is quite a significant difference that tells a lot about the vitality of adequate sleep during pregnancy.
Sleeping well during pregnancy is a challenge – but it doesn’t have to be impossible. For many women, it may mean taking some extra time and paying extra attention in order to protect both quantity and quality of sleep as a pregnancy progresses. As, protecting sleep during pregnancy is not only good for a mother’s health but her child’s health as well.
Some Simple Ways to Ensure That You Get a Good Sleep:
1. Chart Out a Schedule – make sure that you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This will map your biological clock accordingly.
2. Develop a Bedtime Routine – make ways for your body to realise that it is time to sleep. Like, go for a shower or brush your teeth just before bed, or even make a ritual of applying a body lotion. These all can act as sleep triggers.
3. Have a relaxing beverage – a glass of warm milk with turmeric or just warm water with honey, or a herbal tea that is safe during pregnancy can be taken before bedtime to induce sleep.
4. Get Yourself a New Pillow or Mattress – If required; get a new pillow or mattress that will offer more comfort when you are pregnant.
5. Meditation or deep breathing – clear the mind – Focus on your breath — breathe in and out slowly and deeply — and visualize a serene environment such as a deserted beach or grassy hill. To help relax your mind.
6. Avoid stimulants at night – this doesn’t include on tea and coffee, but also your phones, laptops and anything on TV that Will make you stay awake at night.make it a habit to keep electronics out of the bedroom.
You are going to lose sleep after your delivery so let’s make sure to ensure we are well rested before we start our journey into motherhood.