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Pregnancy and Sleep

Sleep can either be elusive or plentiful (often at the wrong times) during pregnancy, see our guide to getting your best rest.

Pregnancy & Health

When you get good rest, your body will work at its optimum peak in its restorative processes (goodbye, under-eye circles!). Sleep is good for your immune system and your skin.

It also boosts the rejuvenating hormone that helps keep an ideal weight and shape—the same growth hormone is needed for your growing uterus and placenta.

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Pregnancy and Sleep

Here’s a quick breakdown of some common patterns when it comes to sleep changes during pregnancy...

First trimester:
A decrease in quality and total amount of sleep. An increase in insomnia and daytime sleepiness.
Second trimester:
Tends to be fairly normal. About 20 percent of women do experience some disturbances.
Third trimester:
Women wake up to fives times a night. They report taking naps for over an hour each day. Insomnia and daytime fatigue get worse.

So what can you do to help downplay the negative effects of biology’s predisposition toward awkward pregnancy sleep? Use some of these tips to your healthiest, most beautiful sleep...

Find Comfort in Bed There are little things you can do to feel more comfortable in bed, so your body follows when your mind wants slumber. Here are our suggestions:

  • If you have trouble breathing easily at night (from the weight gain), use multiple pillows. These will pull the baby from your diaphragm so it can move your lungs up and down.
  • Don’t drink water or caffeine after six in the evening so you don’t have to use the bathroom as much. Make sure you get your two quarts of fluid a day before that, especially if you’re in a hot climate.
  • You can quiet pain with Tylenol, so you can rest your mind and body at night. This way you’ll get restorative sleep rather than gritting through the aches.
  • Try a small glass of warm skim milk before six o’clock. The lactose in milk is a sugar, which stimulates insulin. This helps proteins like tryptophan enter the brain, helping you fall asleep. Try soy or rice milk if you develop lactose intolerance.
  • Create a quiet, dark environment in the bedroom. Use the bed for sex and sleep only. No work or web-surfing.
  • Ratchet up the AC. It’s easier to sleep in a cooler environment. Plus, pregnant women are extra hot.

Quiet the Kick: Many pregnant women have leg cramps or restless leg syndrome. This is when your leg reflexively spasms in a kicking motion, possibly waking you from a good sleep. The syndrome’s also associated with the creepy-crawly sensation. Your leg feels like it’s being pinched. It appears that irregular levels of the chemical dopamine can cause this condition.

Make sure you get 800 micrograms of folate per day during pregnancy. You can get 400 micrograms in a prenatal vitamin, and the rest in food, or supplements (along with 30 mg of iron). Applying a heating pad can also quiet the disturbance. For leg cramps, use calcium (1,200 mg) and magnesium (400 mg). Your muscles naturally use these minerals to contract normally.

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