Why is sleep so difficult during pregnancy? It’s not just the hormones – it’s also the way your body changes and adapts as your baby develops. If you’re having trouble sleeping or are just wondering what’s going on, read on for answers to some common questions about how sleep changes during pregnancy and how to get the best sleep possible throughout this special time.
The average recommended amount of sleep for adults
The average adult needs about eight hours of sleep a night, but for expectant mothers the need for sleep can increase to as much as nine hours, according to research from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Studies have shown that women who get less than five hours per night during pregnancy are at higher risk for developing postpartum depression, preeclampsia, diabetes, high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.
Why pregnant women need more
You might not be able to get a full night’s rest, but that doesn’t mean you should go without any sleep at all. If you can’t sleep for long periods of time, try napping when your body is telling you that it needs a break. The more restful your pregnancy sleep, the healthier both you and your baby will be.
How much more sleep you need
In the first trimester, you may only need an extra hour or two of sleep a night. In the second trimester, it’s about an hour more than usual. Third trimester? Who knows! But it’s probably around three hours more than usual.
How to get more sleep as a new mom
Getting a full night’s sleep may seem impossible with your new baby, but there are some strategies you can use to get more sleep.
-Set up a bedtime routine for the whole family. Having a set bedtime helps everyone know when it’s time to stop what they are doing and get ready for bed.
-Limit caffeine intake in the evenings. Avoid drinking coffee, tea, or soda after dinner as these will keep you up at night.
Interacting with your sleeping baby will help you fall asleep faster
To combat the exhaustion that comes with pregnancy, many women find it helpful to have their partner or someone else who is not pregnant interact with their sleeping baby. This helps them relax more quickly so they can get a better night’s sleep.
Consider turning off your phone at night
Before you go to bed, set your phone on airplane mode or turn it off. The idea is that the blue light from the screen can keep your brain stimulated and can make it hard for you to fall asleep.
Get an early night even if baby sleeps late
Research has shown that women who sleep for an average of six hours per night during their third trimester had lower depression scores than those who slept less than four hours a day. Many moms-to-be also have interrupted sleep because they are trying to get as much rest as possible. When you think about it, it’s not at all surprising that many pregnant women struggle with feeling exhausted.