Everything you need to know about sleep and pregnancy
Many (potentially endless) questions surface when you become pregnant. One popular category: sleep. If there is something expecting parents are afraid of, often unnecessarily, is that their lives as sleeping creatures are over. What's more, as sleep-during-pregnancy is a common concern, expectant moms are likely to have more questions than anyone.
Do I need more sleep? How do you sleep when you have a huge stomach? And so on.
We have answered your questions here. Answers to all your questions about sleep and pregnancy.
Some people say that it’s difficult to sleep during pregnancy - why?
First of all - not everyone sleeps worse during pregnancy. Some even sleep better than usual. However, to develop difficulties whilst sleeping is not abnormal and could be due to a range of reasons.
The frequent need to pee.
As the fetus presses on the bladder you might need to pee more often, waking you up during the night.
During pregnancy, your hormones cause an increase in calcium, which plays a central role in muscle function. The increased calcium makes women more likely to have cramps, often in the calves.
Some pregnant women feel the need to constantly move their legs during the night. This might be triggered by rising estrogen levels or a lack of folic acid and iron. Tips on making this feeling go away includes different mental activities during the day, such as crossword puzzles, and maybe skipping that last cup of coffee.
Pregnant women often have more intense realistic dreams and nightmares. These can disturb your sleep waking you up during the night.
Why do I feel so sleepy all the time?
Alot happens with your hormones when pregnancy kicks in, affecting both your mood and sleep. Progesterone and estrogen levels both rise dramatically. Progesterone being what gives you the mood swings, whilst estrogen gives you that amazing "pregnancy glow". On one side, your blood pressure and blood sugar levels decrease, potentially leading to feelings of fatigue. However, they also help your body cope and prepares it for giving a new human life.
Do I need more sleep during pregnancy?
There is no straight answer to that question. Sleep is very individual. But if you feel the need to sleep more than usual, that’s probably the case. Your body is working harder than usual because it is creating a new human being. The heart is beating faster, new hormones are being created, the kidneys are working hard and as the months pass, the body becomes heavier. So it’s no wonder that you need to sleep a few hours more than usual. But it’s also not strange to continue sleeping as before.
According to a comprehensive study from 2015, which reviewed more than 300 existing studies, pregnant women may need two hours of sleep more than usual. But as said before, “may happen” = it does not apply to all.
Is it dangerous not to get enough sleep during pregnancy?
We all know that feeling after a sleepless night. Your head aches, you feel tired, lazy and just dull. You're crankier than usual and your body just won't cope. Sometimes, sleep deprivation can affect the immune system potentially increasing the risk of catching a cold. But don't worry, not getting enough sleep is not dangerous.
Sleep allows the brain and body to slow down and engage in the processes of recovery. However, the human body is designed in such a way that it can "catch up" in the following days, treating you to even better and deeper sleep.
How many hours of sleep do I need?
How many hours of sleep you need per night is also individual. It depends on your typical sleep needs, habits and the quality of sleep.
Usually 7-9 hours per night is recommended for pregnant women. However, if you feel alert and have energy during the day, you're probably getting enough sleep. If you wake up more in the night, then you may need to rest more the day after.
Can I sleep on my stomach? Or on my back?
At first, yes. However, as you continue with your pregnancy it will become more difficult. Nowadays, it’s common that expecting mothers are advised to sleep on the left side, it’s not harmful to sleep on the right. The left side optimizes the blood flow around the body and to the baby. Sleeping on the back, however, increases the risk of impaired blood supply to the fetus because blood vessels may end up being squeezed. Pregnant women should not sleep on their backs, especially during the last months of pregnancy.
What can I do if I have sleep problems?
If you're not getting enough sleep – there are many things you can do. Eating better, working out and having a good relaxation routine before bedtime can help. Otherwise, it's also recommended to get a pregnancy pillow. This will help you sleep in a comfortable position, good for both you and the baby in the belly. Read all the tips to get better sleep during pregnancy.
Get a good night's sleep with the Najell Pregnancy Pillow
The Najell Pregnancy Pillow is not only the answer to your sleeping problems. It’s also designed to give you the optimal comfort when you’re sitting down, getting some rest or just relaxing on the sofa.
The Najell Pregnancy Pillow helps you keep your spine aligned by supporting your body. The adjustable functions and carefully developed design makes it possible to get the support your body needs. By tightening the knot you can change its firmness allowing it to adapt it to your shape. Giving your pregnant body ultimate support the pillow helps your neck, back, and legs to be in the right position. Meaning you can get a good night's sleep with fewer aches and less back pain.