How pregnancy affects your sleep
When your family is expanding from two to three people many things change. But one thing that you may not have considered is how your sleep is affected by being pregnant or as a new parent. Learn more about how to improve your sleep whilst pregnant and as a new parent.
Pregnant and tired
When you're pregnant your body goes through a lot of change. Your belly is growing and your body is working hard to create a new fantastic little creature. So of course being pregnant will most likely affect your sleep.
Many pregnant women feel more tired and experience sleep deprivation, partly because they're not sleeping as well as before. But there are several things you can do to get a better night's sleep during your pregnancy, and prioritizing your sleep while you're pregnant is important because the many changes in your body often demands an increased need for sleep.
Sleep well during your pregnancy
When being pregnant and tired you need to make sure that you sleep in a bedroom with the right temperature, possibly a bit cooler than normal due to the increased body heat that many pregnant women experience. Consider investing in a lighter duvet to keep your cooler during this time. If you're having trouble making yourself comfortable, consider changing sleep position or change your mattress if it doesn't support you well enough. The heavier you get, the harder your mattress should be.
If you're suffering from leg cramps when you sleep, you can make it better by stretching before you go to bed. Leg cramps are completely harmless and quite normal for pregnant women, but it can lead to interrupted sleep and sleep deprivation. If you stay active and make sure to exercise during your pregnancy, there's a good chance you will improve your sleep. On average, pregnant women that exercise experience fewer nuisances during their pregnancies.
New mum and lack of sleep
When your amazing daughter or son enters the world you will – apart from being indescribably happy – also have to deal with lack of sleep. As mother of a newborn it is therefore important that you take advantage of each and every opportunity to rest or have a power nap. Lower your ambitions – mental energy is more important than a perfectly cleaned bathroom. Hide away any mess in some fancy baskets, and focus on yourself and your child.
When your baby no longer needs breastfeeding it might be a good idea to take turns feeding your child. In that way you can divide sleep more equally between mum and dad.
Avoid stress due to lack of sleep
All children are different, and even though your baby isn't sleeping as well as the children of other mothers there is no reason to worry. If your baby doesn't fall asleep within the first 10-15 minutes there is no reason to insist that your baby has to sleep right at that moment. Instead of hour long sessions of baby bawl and frustrations, rather try again half an hour later.
If you, even if you're sleep deprived, still have trouble sleeping when your baby is sleeping it is important that you learn to relax. Many new parents are quite alert in the beginning. Is my child crying? Is she/he too warm? All of this is completely natural, but it is important that you don't let it keep you from sleeping and resting; a lack of sleep reduces your immune system which makes it easier for you to get sick, and in worst case, sleep deprivation can lead to depression and aggression.
That's why it's important to remember taking care of yourself. Put on some relaxing music, have a hot shower and put on a snuggly bathrobe.