I remember the last trimester before my daughter, Anya, was born. Everyone kept giving me the same piece of advice: get all the sleep you can now before you have a baby to keep you up at night. The only problem was that no matter how tired I was, I found it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. I had to get up to pee several times I night. Heartburn often kept me up, and by the end it was difficult to get comfortable or change positions. Even when there was no obvious reason why, it was sometimes hard to sleep. According to Baby Center, a whopping 78% of women have sleep problems during pregnancy. (“Sleep Problem: Insomnia during pregnancy”)
So can you do anything about it?
Relax and Rest
First off, relax. It’s easy to get stressed out about a lack of sleep. If you’re just watching the clock and counting how long you’ve been awake for, then you won’t be getting sleep or rest. Even if you have a difficult time sleeping, try to get rest. I found that sometimes it helped to not worry so much about sleep. Instead, I tried to make sure that I was resting at night, whether or not I was awake. For me, it was relaxing to read for awhile in bed (something not too thought provoking) and then to try going to sleep again. If you find it relaxing, turn off the lights and light some candles before bedtime. It may help to put on some soft music.
One of the reasons that insomnia is so common during pregnancy is because it’s hard to get and stay comfortable. When I was pregnant, I found that sleeping with another pillow could really help me to get comfortable. Try just taking a normal pillow and sticking it between your legs while you’re lying on your side. It’s amazing what a difference this can make. You can also buy special maternity pillows that help to support your bump as well, or use the boomerang shaped pillows (these are fantastic for breastfeeding after your baby’s born).
Also, make sure that you’re generally comfortable. Try changing what you wear to bed, or consider switching bedding to a different warmth and/or material.
You may find it hard to get a full night’s sleep. Instead of trying to force yourself to sleep, why not just have a shorter nap and schedule in a nap? I know that not everyone can take naps, but you may be surprised by how well you can fit them in. If you keep waking up early, just go ahead and get up and start your day. Then take a nap later on. You’ll get the right amount of sleep, just broken up throughout the day. When I was pregnant with Anya, her big sister still took a nap most days. So I would sometimes take advantage of that time to have a quick snooze too.
There are some natural ways to relax. Lavender, for example, is perfectly safe to both smell and eat during pregnancy. Lavender is naturally relaxing and can help you to sleep. Try putting a potted lavender plant in your bedroom. Just make sure before you start any herbal supplements or homeopathic treatment that you check that it is suitable during pregnancy. It doesn’t hurt to give your midwife a quick call and ask her about your plans.